Whatever works

I remember watching Woody Allen’s 2009 film, “Whatever Works” and thinking to myself,  “What an interesting phrase.” Written in the context of love and relationships, it never occurred to me at the time that the phrase could also sum up a personal shopping experience.

During our annual trip to Nantucket this year, while browsing in one of my favorite local stores on Main Street, Vis-à-Vis, I noticed sitting in a small basket a really adorable and seemingly fashionable bracelet.  It was all black with a flexible band, with three small rows of (fake) stones, also black.  Despite their dark hue, the stones still reflected the light and sparkled.  It seemed small enough for my tiny wrist-but was that possible?  I wanted to try it on but hesitated.

The reason?  I can count on my two fingers how many bracelets I actually own and have sported publicly.  Both received as gifts, I can manage to wear them only if I am wearing the bracelet above, and secured by my watch.  This prevents the bracelet from sliding right passed my hand to the floor.  Yet I gave in to the urge and tried it on.   To my exuberant surprise it fit snugly on my otherwise naked wrist and stayed put even when I tried to shake it loose.  It was only a $14 trinket, but to me it was rare and priceless.   To boot, later at home Savanna made a point of admiring it.  I think her interest was not just about the jewelry but the fact that she had never seen her mommy wear any bracelet.

Later in the week, while John, Ethan and Charlie went fishing, I took Savanna for a special “girls’ morning.”  It had occurred to me that there were similar bracelets at that shop and one might also be perfect for my nearly five year old daughter.

At Vis-à-Vis, Savanna picked out an almost identical bracelet to mine, except hers had rows of sparkly white stones.  As I suspected, the size fit her small wrist perfectly as well.  As we strolled together hand in hand through the cobble stone streets of Nantucket’s beautifully quaint downtown, we stopped by Pinwheels, one of our favorite children’s boutiques on the island.  Proud of her new bracelet, Savanna showed it to the saleslady.  “How beautiful!” she remarked to my smiling daughter, not noticing my own bracelet.  “Did you know that is actually a tie for your hair but of course it also looks beautiful on your wrist.”  The comment went over Savanna’s head.  I gasped.  The woman was right—my perfect bracelet was intended for hair!

We met the boys at the pier returning from their fishing expedition, but my attention was on my own catch of the day.  I looked at the black band, stones still glittering in the sunshine.   “Malesh!” I thought to myself.  Malesh had been my favorite Arabic expression from when I was a child living in Cairo, Egypt.  Translated into English it means:  “Forget about it; move on.”

Woody had been right- whatever works indeed.