A friend of mine recently asked a small favour of me. And because she is one of my most favourite people on the planet, and because I at least try to be a good friend, I was delighted to help out however I could.
My mission, should I choose to accept it, was to locate for her a toss pillow. A very specific sort of toss pillow. She wanted something about a foot square, white or ecru coloured with a beachy picture on it. She had already searched her own town exhaustively and came up empty. You see, she does not live in a beach town. I, however do, and logically it follows that such a thing might be more readily available in my town. I accept the mission.
As she described what she was imagining, the design would be something in an ocean-y colour and a design that would bring the beach to mind. Something like a shell or a starfish or maybe a mermaid, perhaps. A mermaid would be fun.
I know that when I picture something that I want to purchase, I am very specific. Sometimes so specific that what is in my head doesn't exist in real life. So rather than guess and purchase something on her behalf and then have to turn around and return it, it seemed to me that a better idea would be a photograph what I see, send her the pictures and let her decide from there. We both agreed that was a good plan.
So late last week, off I went on the great toss pillow hunt.
Not only is Venice an adorable beach town, it also has a couple of streets that are lined with wonderful and unique shops and restaurants. It seemed reasonable(to me at least) to start there. Cute little boutique shops are loaded with unusual and wonderful things of all sorts. Yeah, let's start there.
I walked up and down and went in and out, of every shop on both the Avenue (that's Venice Avenue) and the next street, Miami, on the off chance that one of them might have precisely what she was looking for. The shops were very quiet. Most of them had nobody in them except the sales people and me. It was kind of sad. Still, every single one of the sales people was so helpful and kind when I explained what I was looking for. Each of them easily granted me permission to photograph the wares, all the while knowing that I would not be purchasing anything that day. The samples above are from just three of the shops. I promise you that I wandered through many, many, MANY more that day.
The most interesting part to me was that no two shops had the exact same toss pillows. Oh they might be similar, true. But none of them were duplicates. Do the shop owners get together and discuss this ahead of time? How does that work? Hmmmmm.
Another thing that fascinated me was how many different ways there are to interpret the exact same idea. A starfish, a starfish and a starfish. Exact same creature. But each pillow bearing a the likeness of a starfish was unique. Very Well Done!
Well in the end, it was a fun afternoon of prowling through adorable little shops, taking photos, chatting with sales people and walking around downtown, which I really haven't done much of lately. And that in itself is silly because we live only about a half mile away and I love to walk soooo why am I not walking the avenue and peeking into the shop windows? I have no idea.
Eventually though, I ran out of shops and came home to download photos and email them to my friend.
It came as no surprise to me that none of the pictures was exactly what she had in mind though she expressed great appreciation for my efforts. On my part, I plan to check again in a month or so when the shelves are restocked with Christmas shopping in mind and there will be different options available. In fact, I look forward to it :)
All in all it was fun and different way to spend an afternoon. I am mystified however, by the shocking absence of any pillows with mermaids on them. Perhaps it's just not mermaid season.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.