Kimono- Shopping Under the Influence

Gentle reader, here’s a strange shopping story that may  turn into a business story.

I’m a late night shopper.  The computer’s my magic carpet that flies me to Osaka and Kyoto.  Joe Weintraub almost-snores lying next to me. He’s thankfully unable to protest my taste in  world-class designs I’ve never seen before, woven on antique silk kimono fabric. The treasures I look at are “unpicked” by Japanese women who love the forest, Shibori, and ocean wave patterns as much as I do.

It turns out that most Japanese don’t revere antique or vintage kimono. So kimono are sold at marketplace for small sums.  My hardworking sellers painstakingly “unpick”  seams and sell the fabric piece by piece—earning little for their labor.

I’ve been mixing and sewing “unpicked” kimono into striking scarves for years. Most amazing, people in the street and on elevators compliment me on the antique scarves and I’ve taken to selling them off my neck to strangers. What fun! I’m working up my courage to take them to a museum store.

Recently I discovered a bizarre wrinkle to my shopping pleasure.  Shopping on Ambien makes me a sort of an unconscious late-night shopper.

First, let me assure you, consciousness is an issue for me.

Unconsciousness is too close to death. Hence my desire, since childhood, to stay up later and later.

But sometimes it’s been fun to be almost unconscious.

I work by day, a writer who loves word rhythms, a-tonal sentences and pithy phrases beyond reason. Then,  late at night, when I’ve  no energy left,  I try  to avoid the darkness of sleep by I switching to my second-favorite solitary activity—shopping. And on rare occasions I take half an Ambien beforehand. Shopping on Ambien turns out to be a trip: last month I was accused of criminal activity via email from Japan.

Hello, I’m a seller of your bidding auctions, Megumi Okubo; I know you are not bad buyer, but I hear complaining buyers because you bid thousand dollar bids and then you retract bid.  Buyers ask are you trying to raise prices illegally with me.

It seems that in my Ambien stupor I mistakenly made an opening bid of $25,000 for a totally unique, geometric pre-World War II piece of silk.  I meant to start at $25. I realized my mistake (I’ve some recollection of this) and went to great lengths to withdraw the $25,000 bid.  In doing this I accidentally saw the highest bid of my competitor.

I made this mistake three times.  Each time I withdrew my bid, these semi-conscious maneuvers threw sellers and competing buyers into a tizzy.  I was accused (see above) of cheating.  The air cleared after I made apologies all around.

But the few times I’ve shopped on Ambien it’s ended up better than Christmas for me.

It adds the element of surprise—surprising myself.  For example, ten days ago I bought several silk pieces including an antique 1930’s navy ocean wave treasure that will make a perfect urban scarf.  Because I’d slugged half an Ambien I had no recollection of which pieces I’d won.

Within the following weeks, oddly-shaped packages arrived, lovingly packed by zealous strangers from Osaka.   The most remarkable thing is that opening each package confounded me. Their contents were mysteries.

But, sure enough, they turned out to be wondrous designs on silk–the best gifts imaginable.

They’d been ordered by me and for me: “unpicked” pieces exquisitely tailored to my “picky” taste.

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