It was one of those perfect beach days. My last day off had been foggy and rainy, a total waste of a day. This combination of factors always made me especially resentful of my retail gig selling overpriced hand-hooked rugs to the bloated summer populace of Nantucket. As an old camp pal would’ve put it, my days were dead … dead as a doornail.
The highlights of my eight-hour shifts were the smoke breaks I’d try to coordinate with those of the scruffy British guy who worked as a sous chef next door. His were hand-rolled, a bit messily. I found it amazing that he never tried to lick off or wipe away the bits of tobacco that ended up stuck to his lips.
That morning I’d looked forward to lunch, when I could bring my tuna salad sandwich and can of soda to the small park across the street and pore over the latest volume of Tales of the City. I was going through one about every three days, mostly during slow periods when I’d hide the book behind the cash register and tear through it.
An hour or so after lunch, the telltale honk of The Nanny cut through whatever was going on in Tales. It cut through the haze I was in that summer, and suddenly I felt electrified. Here was The Nanny, talking like The Nanny, dressed kind of sexy like she dresses on TV, walking around my store with a tall, handsome guy. She was NN-ing and ON-ing over the same ovals imprinted with bunnies and baskets of strawberries that I stared at everyday. With a bigger celebrity I might’ve asked for an autograph. In this case I felt oddly removed, like I was inside a TV episode.
She swept in and swept out, pausing for a few minutes to admire a 10 x 12-foot rug illustrated with scenes of Noah’s Ark in nursery pastels. She handed over a charge card and dropped $1K (plus shipping). It was one of my biggest sales all summer. And it was the only day all summer when I actually had something to report to my mom when I got home.
“How was your day?” she asked.
“Fine,” I said. “I sold a rug to Fran Drescher.”