They allowed me back through the doors of Tiffany yesterday.
I was understandably a little nervous about going back, after the last time; even though it had all been a simple misunderstanding.
I could probably blame the old man again, for being the catalyst. Sometimes it’s convenient having someone to blame for my shockingly bad karma.
But the fact is, if he hadn’t bought me that ridiculously tiny ‘understated’ Tiffany necklace, I wouldn’t have been in Tiffany’s flagship Sydney store in the first place. Although I realise that laying blame is a pointless exercise. In the grand scheme of things we control our own destiny.
It was a Loving Heart pendant, designed by Paloma Picasso no less; and did I mention that you needed bi-focals to spot it around my neck?
If he hadn’t been so tight, I might not have ended up shoplifting in Tiffany’s.
I was celebrating my forty-third birthday, not my sixteenth. I needed some cheering up, some therapy in the shape of a giant overpriced bauble of gaudiness, something substantial to flaunt around my wizened tortoise neck; something the size of a rottveiler’s dog collar at least.
In the words of Elizabeth Taylor, ‘Big girls need big diamonds’. Nuff said.
At least he remembered the drill and kept the receipt.
So off I went to Tiffany’s, bypassing the gold section (jewellery for real women as opposed to teenagers), full of the naïve hope that I could actually exchange that Borrower-sized heart necklace for something bigger more suited to my mature status.
And I tried on the chunky silver dog collar that I had asked him for (and taken a photo of and given him the code for), and sought approval from the tween, who voiced her opinion by ‘woofing’ at me disdainfully. At which point I hastily placed that dog collar back on the silk cushioning and moved on to the bracelet station.
The problem with middle age is the executive memory function of the brain, or lack of. It ceases to function over forty. Lists suddenly become a necessity for even the most perfunctory of tasks and retracing steps becomes a sport. It is easy to do something and forget you’ve done it five minutes later. It is relatively easy to clasp a chunky silver Tiffany bracelet around your wrist, become distracted by another gorgeous piece of trinketry and forget that it’s still clamped to your body as you exit the store ten minutes later, smiling at the store detective. Easy as.
I revisited Tiffany’s yesterday for the first time since my brush with criminality, out of parental duty, not because I had any desire to test Tiffany’s high-tech security system for a second time. It’s the tween’s eighteenth this month and apparently that little blue box with white ribbon is as big a status symbol as legal ID in teen world. It’s the ‘commemorative’ gift, unlike the bottles of cheap alcohol which are the ‘finally f*cking legal’ gift or the large wad of cash towards travel which is our ‘finally getting her out of here’ gift.
This visit bought back scarring memories. It’s not a pleasant experience sitting in a cab with your sixteen year old and realising that you’ve just shoplifted from one of the most iconic jewellers in the world. And weighing up the moral dilemma of whether to take the aforementioned stolen goods back or not, in front of your sixteen year old daughter, is even more harrowing, although it does become a little clearer when she looks at you beseechingly, willing you to do the right thing, and obviously return the stolen piece, even though you both realise that it’s going to be as awkward as f*ck. But your hands are tied because, (yawn), you’re a role model and all those lessons you’ve taught about telling the truth, and NOT STEALING are about to be tested. In a situation created out of your own senility stupidity.
I’m sure that she was secretly hoping too that I wouldn’t play the taking-full-responsibility-for-my-actions card. It would have been far less awkward for both of us to pretend that the situation hadn’t happened and then palm that bracelet off to her BFF at Christmas, a clever sly way of removing the evidence.
English: Studio publicity portrait of the American actress Elizabeth Taylor. Français : Portrait publicitaire pris en studio de l’actrice américaine Elizabeth Taylor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But no, I am a woman of principle and although I may be guilty of many non-parentally-friendly activities, stealing is not one of them (apart from Ikea pencils and aeroplane earphones, obviously).
So we marched back in there, heads held high, and we dragged that useless sales person from her lunch break; the one who had allowed me to walk out of that store in full-view of those very scary security guards with stolen loot.
And she very nearly fell through the floor when she realised that, yes, we were returning the stolen goods. My honesty might have even saved her her job and she was embarrassingly grateful, (bordering on needy if I’m honest), which was another life lesson for my daughter, the one about never showing weakness.
And thankfully, by that time, they had altered the ‘charm on a chain’, which was the only item I could find in exchange for my miniscule heart on a chain, and so desperate was I to leave the premises un-cuffed, I consoled myself that at least it would fit my future grandchild, as a christening present.