Friday, June 15, 2012

More Wichita Falls Discoveries

I was out with my friend Joy today, and we discussed the move to Phoenix, a thing which patiently sits like a billboard in the distance, waiting for me to get close enough to pay attention to it. Joy's husband and the Pilot are in the same class, both now and in Phoenix, and I am grateful for the feeling of camaraderie this brings. It is simply not real to me that I only have six weeks left here. Knowing it is like knowing facts about a country I've never been to: interesting enough, in its own way, but it has precious little to do with me. I wonder if even when we do move it will feel quite real.

Meantime, Joy introduced me to an antique flea market downtown that I have passed every time I go to the library, and never gone in. We were tea-cup hunting, specifically, for the tea-party that Angela and I are giving next week (a tea-cup white elephant was her idea and a charming one). Tea-cup hunting is much more enjoyable than hunting for the right brand of spinach, or buying your husband more khaki socks. If  I was thirty years older, and lived in a big house with lots of shelf space, I would collect tea-cups, all different kinds, and then I'd invite little girls over to have real tea parties with real teacups instead of the plastic ones that most little girls have to play with, and it wouldn't matter if any of them got broken because I would have so many. As it is, I live in a two bedroom apartment with very limited shelf space, so that even the beautiful tea-set that my friend Blythe gave me has to live on the kitchen counter (but at least I can look at it every day) and I don't know any little girls here. But obviously that doesn't stop me, or Angela, or Joy, from having tea-parties. There are some things girls never grow out of.

At the antique flea-market (The Corner Emporium it is called: Emporium is an important word that ought to be written with a curly font) I also found the priceless piece of literature you can see in the picture. Honestly, who wouldn't pay fifty cents to learn how to have model beauty, poise, and personality? John Robert Powers, the inimitable Wikipedia informs me, founded a prestigious modeling agency in 1923. Apparently he must also have been a quite a genius, since the table of contents promises to teach me "How to Become More Beautiful Every Year" and "How Your Hair Can Create the Illusion of Beauty" (I want to know why it has to be an illusion) and most importantly "How to Work the Miracle of Transforming Yourself." I want to know why I need to transform myself, since I'm pretty happy with how God made me, but if I find anything life-changing I'll let you know.

(I bought the ring-cup because it is labelled. I shall put it in the bathroom. I already have a little porcelain box where I put my rings when I'm in the kitchen, but I had to buy this one because it actually said what it's for, and I adore that in domestic articles. In a world where people rarely say what they mean, it's very comforting when sometimes inanimate objects say what they do.)

After antique-ing, Joy and I went next door to the 8th Street Coffee Shop, which, we learned, has only been open for three months, and which was most definitely not a chain. If there is one thing that Wichita Falls has a deplorable lack of, it's shops and restaurants and places to drink coffee that aren't Walmart and Texas Roadhouse and Starbucks. (Not that I have anything against Starbucks.) We pounced on the 8th Street Coffee Shop as if it were a hundred dollar bill lying in the street. The drinks were much as one might expect (though I saw something about a peanut-butter cup smoothie which will probably have to be further investigated) but the atmosphere was comfortable and intimate with a glorious riot of mismatching chairs and retro booths. I've already decided to go back to do homework, probably twice a week, until we leave–

–which apparently is in 41 days, which is preposterous because didn't I just get here?

Everyone who knows me well knows that my feelings for Wichita Falls are not exactly ones of fond attachment. It was a bit of a wrench to leave the fresh breezes galloping down from the mountains in Colorado last week and come back to 96 degrees and 70 percent humidity of the air slithering greasily up from Mexico. Yet somehow this town has miraculously transformed into home (I defy John Robert Powers to equal that transformation) and I can't quite believe that I'm leaving it soon.

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