A visit to the lingerie department is simply not brief enough ...
After hearing about Maggie's recent foray into Penneys to buy some underwear, Aunt Sadie decided it was her turn to replace her lingerie wardrobe. The last time this happened was circa 1984.
"And I'm not talking about any of that fancy pants, stringy lacy stuff that disappears where the sun don't shine as soon as you put them on," she said. The thought of Aunt Sadie in a lace thong was enough to give me the shakes.
"What I want is good, solid underwear, big enough to keep me warm and high enough to tickle my armpits," she continued. "None of that 'briefs' rubbish." And then, because she thinks I have nothing better to be doing, she demanded I be at her house by 9am the next morning.
"AND DON'T BE LATE!" she shouted before slamming down the phone. I couldn't sleep that night at the thought of the ordeal ahead.
As usual, I struggled with getting her wheelchair into the boot as she stood there giving out yards that I was taking lumps out of it.
By the time we were ready I was gasping like a pig with emphysema.
Neither did it help my nerves that her hearing aid whistled at wolf pitch the whole way over. By the time we got to the shopping centre car park, I half expected a pack of feral dogs to greet us.
"Can I help you?" asked the lady in the M&S lingerie department. Auntie explained in detail just how big she wanted her knickers. "Size 20," she demanded.
"That's way too big for you," the lady said by way of a compliment.
I could tell by the thunderous look on Auntie's face that she was about call for the supervisor so the lady could be sacked on the spot. I quickly motioned that size 20 would be all right and she promptly returned with said knickers and held them up for Auntie to see. They were so big they caused an eclipse of the store lighting.
"Jaysus, you'd fit the wheelchair and all into those," I blurted out. Auntie gave me one of those looks that suggested children should be seen and not heard. In the end, after lots of to-ing and fro-ing from the M&S lady, she conceded that perhaps her derrière might be best placed in a size 18.
I got her and her wheelchair home in one piece and scooted back to Kildare where I made myself a well-deserved cup of coffee.
Just as I was about to take the first sip, the phone rang. It was Auntie. I picked it up expecting to get an earful. I wasn't wrong.
"Those knickers you made me buy are too small," she harrumphed.
Of course they were...