I found some gift cards that the in-laws had given us for Christmas, probably a couple of years ago. They were for that really great one-word department store that begins with “N.” LG has a few events coming up that will require something nicer than her usual jeans and t-shirt uniform, but not quite a sparkly homecoming dress. Since that’s the extent of her wardrobe, it’s time for us to do some shopping. And the gift cards will work nicely.
While she’s trying on her selections in the fitting room, I’m sitting on this stool just outside, next to the rack of clothes to be put away. I feel something really REALLY soft and pleasant against my arm. I look down, and here’s this vest, which I assume, there in the junior department, is an inexpensive faux fur. So I pick it up, and it’s LG’s size, and it’s beautiful, and I can’t wait until she comes out so I can show her, have her try it on.
So along comes the young woman who works in the junior deparment. Young, stylish, African-American. She reaches out to take the vest from me. I smile and say, “This is great.” I’m all ready to talk young, hip fashion, like I know what I’m talking about.
She says, with no particular expression in face or voice, “It’s really next-door.” It took me a second, but I caught on. I realized that “next-door” must be some new expression that I don’t know yet, like “off the chain,” or something like that, but it means groovy.
So, always willing to be vernacularly adaptive, I say, “Oh, yes, it really is!”
She looks at me like I’m “special” and pulls the vest from my hands, saying, “It’s really NEXT DOOR.”
And I’m all, “I KNOW. I want my daughter to try it.” By now the thing is slipping through my hands and starting to walk away in hers. The last part to leave my grasp is the tag, on which I read the word “MINK” and a price that’s in the hundreds of dollars. She’s still looking at me like I’m special, but now she’s walking away with the vest, toward “next-door,” which, turns out, means the next department over, in the high-end fancy pants clothes.
What does she know? I still think “next door” is off the chain, as an expression of fabulousness.