Mark’s birthday was on Friday, and I was yet again reminded of how much easier it is to find gifts for girls than it is to find gifts for guys. I struggle every year to think of something original. This time though, I was pretty sure I was onto something good, with a little help from Seattle Magazine. This shirt is perfectly Seattle in every way: reusable and local.
For those of you who are thinking, I don’t even know what’s on that shirt, the illustration is of the cranes in south Seattle that load/unload containers at the port. The cranes are lovingly referred to as “dinosaurs”, because of their striking resemblance to brontosauruses. (So when the cranes are down, we say, “Oh look, the dinosaurs are drinking.”)
To make things easier, I shall now refer to the gift simply as Shirt.
Mark was flipping through the magazine the other day and pointed Shirt out to me, which cemented its gift status. Approved by the husband! The magazine listed two shops where I could find Shirt: one in Fremont, one in West Seattle. The West Seattle shop was quickly ruled out due to location. I could handle Fremont. The moment I walked into Evo, my eyes were drawn to the multiple racks of women’s Reef flip-flops: 49 pairs! Yes, I counted. Footwear aside, I quickly found the rack I was looking for. It held two Shirts, both size small. Five minutes of riffling through lesser shirts took me to the counter with a small Shirt, where I asked the associate if they had any more. He gave me one of those concerned-salesperson looks and said they were all out but he would be happy to show me more of the same brand. I humored him and looked over the others in stock, but I was now determined to find Shirt. And Shirt was destined to take me into unchartered territory: West Seattle.
The day before Mark’s birthday, I called Coastal Surf Shop in West Seattle. I figured I wasn’t making that drive unless I knew for sure Shirt was in stock. I described Shirt, and the sales girl said Shirt would be waiting for me at the front counter. I thought, this is great! I’m a day early! The drive to West Seattle took half an hour. It was 90 degrees outside, and I felt a little ridiculous walking into a surf shop across the street from Alki Beach in my professional black pants and heels.
I approached the counter where Shirt was supposedly waiting for me. I told the sales girl that I had come to pick up Shirt, and she said, “Oh yes, I talked to you on the phone! Here it is.” She proceeded to pull out a shirt that bore some resemblance to Shirt, but was clearly not Shirt. I thought, hmm, I don’t remember Shirt being this color of blue. And Shirt looks awfully small.
“Is this a medium?” I asked.
“Yes, women’s medium,” she said. Uh-oh. We had clearly suffered a misunderstanding.
“Oh gosh,” I stammered, “I need a men’s medium. Do you have any?”
“Oh… no, we’re all sold out of those,” she said. “Do you still want this one?”
I could’ve throttled something. I said thanks but no thanks and left the shop. It was too beautiful a day to be overly disappointed that Shirt had dangled itself in front of me, only to disappear into the Alki haze. That floozy. I’ve since ordered Shirt from Evo’s Web site (free shipping if you want to pick it up in the store). So I didn’t have an actual gift to give to Mark on his birthday, but in my defense, I tried pretty hard. Shirt’s going to have to earn my trust once he finally gets here.