According to Karina, shop-fu is a gift. She says that she has it, insists that I have it, and is pretty sure Beautiful Alice was somehow passed by when it was being granted.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Ask her to go to Goodwill and see how she reacts."
"Oh, HECK no," I said. "It makes her ragey. She can never find anything there and when we check out she insists that she never saw the whatever it is that I've decided to buy that she loves. Just. No."
Karina shook her head, "That girl has no shop-fu."
It was the divine force of shop-fu that told Karina to buy her family a tetherball last Christmas. When she brought it home, her husband raised an eyebrow and dryly commented that everyone was pretty much over Napoleon Dynamite.
"It spoke to me here." she said, tapping her chest, "Somebody is going to love it."
Somebody did love it, but it wasn't her or Alex or either of the kids. Their pet pig, a rescued Hampshire sow named Maggie, adored the ball. She would bump it around with her nose until it twisted up the pole out of her reach and then she would stand back and wait patiently as the ball slowly unwound in the other direction. At first Karina thought Maggie was doing this because the kids encouraged her. When the holiday break ended and the pig was left to her own devices, Karina would glance out of the kitchen window to see Maggie happily tipping the ball with her nose.
"Did I tell you that my sister came to visit last week?" Karina poured herself a mug of tea and offered me one. "I love her but oh my gosh, the complaining."
"Maybe she was just tired," I said. "Travel and time change make a lot of people cranky."
She shook her head. "Trust me. That's just her. She was talking about how hard it was when everyone around her seemed to have an easier time of it and how she didn't understand how some people kept getting more. I told her that maybe she just needed to learn to be content."
"And then she asks me, 'What does contentment even look like?' At that moment I'd happened to walk over the to the kitchen window and saw Maggie out there bumping her tetherball. I could have told Sis what contentment looked like, because at that moment I was looking right at it.
copyright 2010 jas faulkner