Men and Shopping.

Men and Shopping.
For a couple years now I’ve been fighting a losing battle, to wit, before each flight I would point out that the old suitcase probably wants to retire. Oh no, the wheels are fine, the handle operational, and it has just the right capacity! True, the corners are somewhat tattered, but it is quite easy to patch them up. This summer in the midst of our complicated travels I received my suitcase after a flight, and its retractable handle was already out. I couldn’t push it back in so I left it as was. Ah, but we have more flights ahead, and of course we cannot check it in with the handle sticking out on top. My husband shook out all my stuff, dissembled the handle, found the problem and somehow fixed it but told me that it’s a partial solution. Wonder of wonders, he suggested that we use our free day to go baggage shopping. I cautiously inquired if he wanted to buy a new suitcase for himself. Yes. He carefully measured both our suitcases using his tape measure. Then he asked if I knew for a fact that there are indeed some shops where one can buy decent bags. I assured him I knew a few shops in this lovely city. We Googled for a couple hours before going to sleep until my eyes began to close. Though I was sorely tempted to suggest we go to a Louis Vuitton store I refrained from doing that. Galleries Lafayette, what’s that? No, the prices are too high. Ok, why don’t we go to Rue de Rivoli and walk along looking into various stores, both cheaper souvenir shops and some more sophisticated ones? Great idea! It was raining in the morning. Off we went regardless, to Rue de Rivoli. We walked along the arcade opposite the Louvre peeking into every store. No, not those fashionable plastic ones; not the cheap low quality cloth ones. Aha, there’s a nice-looking store with lots of bags and suitcases! In we go, up the stairs. There is indeed a very good selection in various colors and sizes, all with “Super-light weight” stickers, all within €100. The shop clerk made the usual mistake of assuming that I was the one who was choosing stuff. I pointed at the man with his tape measure, sat down and relaxed. Finally my man stopped near a very nice pair of suitcases, one definitely his, the other slightly smaller one hers. I thought, Hallelujah! The clerk began to smile eagerly.
And then I saw the familiar expression flit across the beloved face. And my heart sank. He was obviously thinking hard trying to come up with some way of persuading me to do – what? “Honey, this is a nice sturdy suitcase, just the right size for me, you know, the airlines changed their size regulations slightly, this is the new modern size… and you should understand, I cannot just toss my old suitcase, it’s been with me these fifteen years… How about I buy this big one, we toss yours, it’s the one that got really broken, mine is fine, you know wheels and handle work and I can patch up any holes… So you can take this one, it won’t be empty, i’ll pack some of my stuff together with yours, pack my old one, toss yours… you do have a new small one at home anyway….”
And suddenly the power of speech deserted me, and I left the store, went outside on Rue de Rivoli in Paris, France, looked around and saw yet another baggage store right next door to my left. I resolutely turned my back on it. My husband followed me outside. The rain stopped, the sun came out. We took each other’s hands, walked to the Seine River, along the embankment, across the bridge, stopped to admire the amazing Conciergerie building, and then walked on to the sight that never fails. We turned a corner together with the never ending flow of humanity and stood in front of Notre-Dame, staring, our hearts soaring. How did they know that the cathedral will survive the centuries and stand there in all its glory, how could they build it without the modern machinery? The sheer achievement, the human genius are truly amazing. Our spirits lifted, we walked along to the Boulevard Saint-Michel and on to our hotel.
Yes, it was a very romantic outing.


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