September 4, 1999
Chick Chromosomes

Question from a curious *FootNotes* reader, re: Thursday's entry:
"... Hey Secra! What's a 'missing chick chromosome?' Is that like 'Amelia Earhart Disease'? Or do you routinely misplace your baby chickens? Or have you got a secret yen for jazz pianists? The world wants to know!"
 (Hahahahahahahaha! Thanks, Mr. *I'm-Too-BUSY-To-Read-Yer-Website*!)


Franz called me late yesterday afternoon, just as I was getting ready to leave the office for the three-day weekend.
He was calling on the cell phone, of course, and he was in his usual total frenzy. (I think the Cellular One Guy convinced Franz that his roaming charges are waived if he TALKS REALLY REALLY LOUD.)

"Terri!" he shouted. "Where the hell is Macy's Department Store??"

Sigh.

Mind you, he wasn't even calling me from the Bay Area. He and the lovely Mrs. Franz had flown to Portland earlier in the day: they'll be there for the entire Labor Day weekend, attending a wedding. (How do I know? Because *I* made the flight arrangements. And the hotel arrangements. And the rental car arrangements. And then I cancelled the original flight arrangements and made NEW arrangements, when it was decided that the departing flight was "too early," and then I changed the hotel around a couple of times to accomodate the new flight arrangements, and then I cancelled the new flight arrangements when it was decided that "early was OK," and I reinstated the OLD flight arrangements and called the FIRST hotel back and said "Hi guess what?")

Franz knows that I lived in Oregon last year, so I think he considers me something of an *expert* on the area. (He asked me once if I liked the Trailblazers. "Oh, yes!" I replied. "I love football!") So now he wanted me to point him in the direction of Portland Macy's Department Store.

Like ... RIGHT NOW.

In the background, I could hear the lovely Mrs. Franz saying something about "Macy's bridal registry." Apparently they were planning to do some last-minute shopping for a wedding present, and the bride-to-be was registered at Macy's.

OK.

There were two fundamental problems with this request. (Three, if you count the fact that he was once again calling me at 4:58 p.m. on a Friday afternoon with a complex last-minute request.)

Problem #1: As previously disclosed on this website, I suffer from a tragic affliction known as "Geographical Dysfunction Disorder." What this means, basically, is that I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag, even if you drew me a map, gave me a flashlight and left me a trail of KFC Honey BBQ Wings. To this date, the Tots still give me shidt about the time *Mom* hopped into her car for a 7-11 cigarette run -- in mid-Baby-Boomer-Chat-Room conversation -- and then called them two hours and forty minutes later from a phone booth in Lacey, WA. ("I got on the freeway by mistake. Am I still signed on?")

Problem #2: I am that most anomalous of anomalies: the female who doesn't like to shop.

[The audience gasps.]

I'm serious. During that year and a half I spent in Oregon, I don't believe I ONCE set foot in a major department store. I went to Clackamas Town Center a few times, hoping to spot Tonya Harding. And once in a while *Someone* and I went to Sears, mainly to browse through the scintillating TOOL DEPARTMENT. But that was pretty much it for "shopping" in Oregon.

Shopping is one of those *chick things* that I've never understood ... and have never felt even the slightest glimmer of interest in. Like bubble baths. Or pedicures. Or Michael Bolton. I call it the "Missing Chick-Chromosome Syndrome," and what it amounts to basically is a sense of having spent my entire life outside of the mainstream of femininity. Or at least, "femininity" as defined by Glamour and Good Housekeeping.

Clothes shopping is the worst. For whatever reason, I have just never *gotten* the appeal of walking around from store to store, for hours on end, trying on clothes that 1.) cost too much, 2.) never fit correctly, and 3.) usually smell like the last woman who squeezed her size 16 self into this particular size 12 garment. When I do have to shop for clothes, I go in knowing exactly what I want, and I'm in and out of the store in half an hour. (Forty minutes, if they're having a sale on anything BEIGE.)  Christmas shopping, birthday shopping ... same thing. I go in with a list. I buy only the stuff I need. And then I'm OUT of there.

Don't even get me started on SHOE shopping.

Most of the time I'm fine with this horrifying chromosomal deficiency. (I wear enough Maybelline for three women, for one thing, so it sorta balances out.) But there have been times in my life when my aversion to traditional feminine pursuits -- mainly shopping -- has proven to be problematic.

And this was one of those times.

"Y'know, Franz," I said in my best faux-authoritative-Exec-Ass voice, "I don't recall offhand whether there IS a Macy's in Portland. I usually shopped at Nordstrom." [Yeah, right.] "Want me to go on the Internet and check for you?"

I could hear him conferring with the lovely Mrs. Franz. "Yeah!" he said, excitedly. "That's a GREAT idea!" (Next week at the staff meeting this will have become *his* idea, of course -- "I had Terri research Macy's on the Internet for me" -- but that's OK.)  So while I stalled him with useless updates on accounting memos and company newsletters, my fingers furiously sped across the keyboard, calling up results for "Macy's AND Portland."

The bad news? There IS no Macy's in Portland.

The good news? The Macy's Bridal Registry Website. There IS a god. I typed in the bride's name ... and voilà! Her entire wish list of bridal booty popped onto the computer screen. I dictated the list over the phone to the lovely Mrs. Franz --  "Charter Club Queen Bedskirt, Natural Damask Stripe ... Calphalon 10" Nonstick Omelette Pan ... Oster 14-Speed Blender" -- and I could HEAR the relief in her voice.

"This is wonderful, Terri!" she said. "You've just saved our butts!" (Yeah, well ... that's why they pay me the big bucks.) When we hung up, I printed out the list, tossed it into the fax machine and faxed it to their hotel in Portland, along with a big scribbled note: "Glad to be of help!" And then I switched my phone over to DO NOT DISTURB, grabbed my purse, locked my office door ... and got the hell outta there.

I may be missing a few key "chick chromosomes." But ALL of my Exec Ass chromosomes are fully functional, thankyouverymuch.


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