I don’t know what you were up to today, but odds are good you didn’t wander through an inflatable colon.
It was part of an adventurous afternoon with my friend Kristen — part girlfriend catch-up, part experiencing different things, all of it entertaining.
After Jazzercise and a quick breakfast and caffeine infusion, we headed to the Women’s Expo here in Stamford and immediately began an odyssey of crazy encounters and people-watching moments. The event was a fundraiser for Stamford Hospital and so largely included “healthy” wares, screenings and services.
The colon was our first stop. It should have been our — ahem — last, but we arrived at the expo from the wrong hotel entrance.
No matter. Quickly we were scooped up by a seemingly endless parade of vendors eager to sell us something, foist a free sample or discount service on us, or get us to fill out a raffle ticket.
We were offered supplements; asked to host parties where we could sell (fill in the blank) to our friends; promised younger skin and the end to a long list of ailments; and offered testers of lotions and scents, gluten-free and gluten-laden treats. Sprinkled throughout were more serious vendors — investment advisors, garden shops and home-improvement companies among them.
One Stamford Hospital employee checked our faces for sun damage, another offered us breast cancer facts and still another served up cups of seasoned popcorn.
A wiry fellow in a Polo shirt cleaned Kristen’s engagement ring til it sparkled, then tried to sell her 6 ounces of the cleanser (“Normally $20, $15 for you today”), which can clean jewelry, counter tops and stainless steel appliances. (I don’t know if it’s also a dessert topping.)
A Pleather-clad Swarovski crystal saleslady gifted us little clip-on gems, explaining we could pin them to a zipper pull or boot. (Kristen heard “boob”; I’ll let you imagine her horrified expression.)
A dubious-looking fellow tried to get us to buy $35 magnetic bracelets, explaining in a quick swirl of mismatched words that this would somehow prevent us from getting cancer from our cell phones.
To show the bracelet’s “power,” he first had each of us stand on one foot, then pushed us off balance. Then he sat a bracelet atop each of our heads and repeated the stunt to show that he couldn’t push us off balance now. (I decided not to tell the guy that the second time, I simply tightened my abs so I was more firmly balanced.)
Kristen and I laughed our way through the labyrinthine of booths, longed for the occasional overpriced pair of earrings and otherwise soaked up the atmosphere. In one room, we encountered a “speed-dating”-style series of psychic readings. We didn’t sign up, but rather watched the mediums, each one right out of central casting.
Pulling back a bit, I couldn’t help but marvel at the perception that all women want/need is jewelry, scented lotions, flashy clothing, jewelry, trendy snacks, jewelry, whitened teeth, some naughty undies, jewelry and the occasional new windows or finished basement. Oh, and jewelry.
The afternoon’s funniest moment occurred too quickly for me to snap a picture: Adopt a Dog’s mascot, relieved of the doggy headpiece but wearing the rest of his brown furry costume, sound asleep in a wing-back chair in the hotel lobby. Darn if he didn’t wake up just as I got my iPhone out.
As we, too, were tuckered out, we bid goodbye to the colon and headed out, a whole bunch of laughs to cherish.
A quick hug later, I was on my way home, where I managed to get my whole kitchen to sparkle using microfiber clothes and the cleansers I already had under the sink.