In honor of the Zones Théâtrales re-mount of the Projet Rideau / Rideau projects, I thought I’d tell the story of my greatest clothing purchase ever. Ever!
You see, the connection exists because the purchase happened during a performance of Magnetic North’s presentation of the Projet Rideau / Rideau Projects in June. Intrigued? I thought you might be. Shall I continue? Oh yes. I shall. We shall.
Projet Rideau is a walking tour of site-specific theatre. There are six ten minute plays written by Ottawa playwrights for specific downtown sites. You watch one. You walk to the next one. You watch the next. And so on.
The version I saw had four English pieces and two French. The latest version has four French and two English. Two of the English plays have been translated into French.
At the time, it being June and all, it seemed perfectly sensible not to worry about wearing warm clothing. In retrospect, the evening’s weather was a sign of things to come.
The tour had limited spaces and Wayne and I got there plenty early to secure a spot in the first of — I think — three groups. I had been attending the Industry Series that day and the weather had gone from warm to chilly. I also really hadn’t had much to eat.
As soon as our group got underway, as the sun’s strength had really started to wane, I knew I was in trouble. My body temperature started to plunge and I started to calculate whether or not I could manage to sneak a quick shot in between two of the shows.
It seemed I was in for a miserable night or a night much shorter than anticipated. Neither option seemed optimal.
Eventually, it came to light that somehow our group had managed to acquire two more people than we were meant to have and the group that followed us had too few. This was an issue because one of the venues could only hold so many people.
Basically, someone waiting for the later group had decided to tag-along with us and now someone was going to get screwed. We were even accused of being the culprits — much to Wayne’s righteous outrage (seriously, I thought he was going to take our accusers out).
The tour guide politely pleaded for two people to wait and go with the later group. No one offered. We went into our next show.
One performance later, on the way out of the venue, we crossed paths with the group that was following us. The guide pointed out our next destination. It was only a short walk from where we were and we were standing only a short walk from the Rideau Center — Ottawa’s downtown chain-store fashion mecca. I shivered.
The dots connected.
I checked to make sure we could join the next group without hitch. I briefed Wayne on the plan. He agreed. I told the guide that we would stay behind and join the next group. When the guide was genuinely thankful, Wayne couldn’t resist saying something about how the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
Then, we were off. I was going to impulse buy myself something warm to wear. We had twenty minutes.
The Gap was nearest. I hate the Gap, but desperate time calls for desperate measure. After a few wasted minutes, I talked to the sales guy.
Me: “I need something warm and on-sale” Him: “We don’t really have anything on sale but we have [insert generic overpriced male-wear] Me: ” I’m on this walking tour, I need something to keep me warm , and I don’t want to pay a lot” Him: “You should try Old Navy. They are great for cheap hoodies and sweaters” Me: “Brilliant! I had totally forgot about it. Thanks.”
And just like that: all that was left of us were those things that the witch left behind when she bolted away quickly in that great Bugs Bunny Halloween special.
Now this next part is a bit hazy. I think I wanted to check out American Eagle Outfitters but I went to the wrong floor or maybe I went to the wrong floor trying to find Old Navy and then ended up checking out AEO anyways. I don’t know. Wayne might remember.
Anyways, off to Old Navy!
Bam. Sure enough. Right out front there were some decent looking reasonably priced hoodies. Somehow, I felt there might be more. I pushed a little deeper into the store. Sure enough, I found a great brown zipper hoodie on sale for fifteen bucks! Fifteen bucks! The price of a pitcher of beer! For a decent looking piece of warmth! Amazing!
Me: “I won’t need a bag and do you have scissors so I can cut off these tags. I’m wearing it out.” Cashier: “You are so cool. Cooler than James Bond. Cooler than the Sean Connery James Bond” [Actual response: glazed eyes, vague polite murmur, as she struggles to find scissors].
Time check: barely, ten minutes had passed.
Pleased with myself, I decided to up my achievement points and get a coffee and a chocolate croissant. We got back to the group before their show — the one we had already seen — had even finished. Victory!
Now why is this my greatest purchase ever?
First of all, “old-me” would have “toughed it” out and had a miserable time. That’ll learn ya, Mr. Not-Being-Able-To-Guess-The-Weather-Smarty-Pants.
Plus, it introduced me to the lovely world of hoodies. Although I had borrowed — and thus eventually stole — one from a friend for a sickly plane ride home, I never really wore it. Until that evening, I never realized that a hoodie is a nice and affordable look on me.
Then, over the summer and, especially, on tour, I became hooked! They are the casual-clothing equivalent of a good blazer. You can wear it with everything and it always adds a little extra layering zip. Why wear a T-shirt, when you can wear the hoodie too! Now, I can’t stop wearing the damn things.
So, to recap: instead of punishing myself for bad circumstances, I tried to figure out how to make my circumstance better, and I was richly rewarded for it! Not only did I break an old stupid habit of creating unnecessary misery for myself, I got a great deal and a new motif for my wardrobe.
Greatest purchase ever! Does anyone else have any “greatest purchase ever” stories?
Oh. Projet Rideau was hit and miss. The concept is brilliant but the plays and performances were uneven. Pierre Brault’s show, The Rhyme of the Nicolas Street Goal, was very good. If I had any French abilities to speak of I’d probably re-investigate to see if improvements had been made to the shows. Seeing the English works translated would be a worthwhile reason too return as well.
And bring a hoodie. It will get chilly. 🙂
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