Touch with your eyes


I had three boys in under five years. Not a particularly noteworthy feat, but enough to keep me wavering between “on my toes” and “off-balance.”
Especially in the store.

So as not to be forbidden access at every establishment we frequented, I told my boys repeatedly to “touch with your eyes.” This meant they could admire toys, bouncy balls and jars of jam via the sense of sight only. NO TOUCHING.

My draconian shopping rule got us through the childhood years without leaving a wake of scattered toys, rogue bouncy balls and broken glass.

Today I don’t think my grandsons need to be told to touch with their eyes.
EVERYONE touches with their eyes.
We have no choice.
Physical stores are closing their doors left and right.
We shop online and examine merchandise with nothing but our sense of sight.

Online shopping is convenient. I get that. Harried parents don’t need to drag cranky children from one store to the next looking for the perfect birthday gift, for the right size pair of shoes, for a bag of apples. No worries about little ones breaking things, or the necessity to frisk them before leaving the store for pilfered gum, candy or bouncy balls.

But now we grownups have to touch with our eyes too. One of my favorite department stores declared bankruptcy and a few boutique clothing shops I like went belly-up.
Just when I need a scarf to match a greenish skirt for a wedding, my real store options are shriveling. Online shopping it is.
I’m not sure if the skirt is Aqua or Turquoise or something between. Emerald maybe? All these colors and more are available from online scarf world. There’s one greenish scarf that looks close. Maybe if I hold the skirt up to the computer screen— The color is called Gloaming. (Gloaming?) Maybe it matches. Or maybe it doesn’t.

What will the scarf feel like around my neck? I’m the type driven to violent distraction by tags the scratch and have had to stitch up more necklines than I care to admit. My eyes tell me the fabric of the Gloaming-colored scarf  is “lightweight woven viscose.”
But my fingers have no knowledge of how viscose, lightweight or otherwise, feels.
I’m touching with my eyes but these fearfully and wonderfully made orbs have limitations.

How can I tell, looking at an online image, what a “Homesick” candle smells like? Would I enjoy the mix that makes “Honey Lavender,” or would it be too sweet? My nose might get confused in a candle shop, as I take off lids of jars and sniff each candle, but it is a happy confusion.

Smooth wood, rough wool, cool leather, fragrant perfumes and silken nightgowns; delicate lace, crinkling cellophane, and mouth-watering chocolate wafting from the candy counter. The physical store is a smorgasbord for the senses.

There’s plenty to see when shopping online, and sometimes even to hear. But the rest of my senses are itching for new sensations. I hope real, actual, brick and mortar stores aren’t soon as hard to find as Jiffy Frosting Mix. (Yes, it’s true. Jiffy discontinued their boxes of white and chocolate icing and I am bereft.)

Anyone want to come over while I hold the scarf option on my laptop under my chin? Tell me if Gloaming brings out the color of my eyes.

4 thoughts on “Touch with your eyes

  1. At first I thought: who names a color “gloaming”? But I googled it and it’s really a word–though one I’m not familiar with. It means twilight or dusk.

    As much as I love online shopping for the convenience, it’s only good for certain products. Books, for example. But you’re right–for clothing, candles, and candy–no way. There’s no substitute for the full sensory experience of being in a candle shop or candy store. And I’ve had my share of disasters with clothing when I had to mail-order pants for my teen sons as part of a wedding and they didn’t fit. That was just the beginning of trouble . . .

    • I don’t know what it’s like in Texas, but here at least 6 or 7 of my favorite stores closed recently, or are in the process. Some were so small and specialized that I can sort of understand, but some were busy all the time. Big sigh.

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