Basically, the NaNoWriMo thing didn’t really work for me, as I am in month two of hammering out the draft of a novel. But as I am preparing to write the climax of the story, I am quite cognizant of the amount of research I need to do so that the second draft of this beast is readable. Plus, researching is part of the process I absolutely love, especially “in the field” research.

Unless I get security called on me.

So, remember when I was telling you that we in the Broaddus clan—ever inadvertently, of course—seem to find ourselves asked to leave from various dining establishments? Well, apparently the force is still strong in this one (or maybe two or more Broadduses gathered in one spot is simply asking for trouble).

Let me begin by saying that I am not fashion conscious. I know, I know, clothes tell a story about us and I have a reputation as a clothes horse, but the simple secret is that I depend a lot on my siblings to properly clothe me. Sometime in high school, I quit caring what people thought about how I dressed or what people deemed fashionable (as evidenced in the pictures of me in high school and from the fact that one of my friends to this day complains about having to be seen with me in public back then). Fast forward twenty years and what kids today call fashion (dear Lord, I am now using phrases like “kids today”) truly, truly eludes me.

So if I’m writing a piece set in the culture of today’s youth, I have to do my research. So with me as Marlin Perkins and my sister as Jim Fowler (cause I’m certainly not going into the wild myself), we braved the Lafayette Square Mall. (Okay, now that I think about it, a Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom reference probably does have me only a couple years from yelling at kids to get off my lawn.) Now, I’ll admit, Lafayette Square has earned a bit of a reputation as the ghetto mall in our area as white flight has taken most stores north, south, and way west, but it’s still the one we call home.

We go to a couple of stores with me pointing out outfits, having her describe them, what would go with them, why on Earth women would wear such things, why God knew better than to give me a daughter, and why the hell won’t boys pull up their pants. I’m just saying. Her husband soon joins us (he’s all about the lulz and anytime Broadduses get together, he likes front row seats) which is helpful because he’s a bigger clothes horse that me and my sister combined (and primps longer than us combined, too).

Eventually we wander into Hip Hop Fashions, which by all rights should have been our first stop. I had just made the comment that “if you are wearing a hoodie that reads light finger brigade, you forfeit the right to complain about a manager following you around his store” when the manager, who’s nationality I couldn’t begin to guess, comes up to ask us what we’re doing.

“I’m taking notes.”
“For what?”
“A piece that I’m writing on fashion.”
“You can’t do that in here.”
“Do what?”
“What you are doing?”
“Writing?”
“Yes. You can’t do that in here.”

At this point, I’m standing there slack-jawed, not knowing if he was kidding. I literally had no response to this.

“What if we’re making our list of what we’re planning on buying?” my sister’s husband asked. To be fair, he didn’t really care, he just likes causing mischief and sees an opportunity for us to clown.
“You can’t do that here.”
“Shop?”
“Not with paper.”
“I’m a reporter.” Okay, I’ll also admit, writing a weekly column is a bit of a stretch from being a reporter, but I’m all about wrapping myself in the first amendment. And it’s not like I pulled out the “do you know who I am?” card.
“Do you know who he is?” my brother-in-law adds. “You know you’re about to make the paper, right?”
“We don’t need any of that here.”
“Any what?”
“Any papers. I don’t read them and I don’t need them. You have to get out now.”

So we leave. Kinda. Truth be told, other than my sister trying to explain to me the laws of physics pertaining to how to properly stand when wearing pants at least twice your size, we were done in that store. But not now. Now, we were window shoppers. Loud window shoppers. Who take notes.

“I said you can’t do that here,” the manager came out to say.
“Do what? Window shop?”
“I don’t need any of that. I’ve got something for you.”

So he phones security. It’s not like I could say I’d been profiled, cause being honest, a group of folks wearing “light finger brigade” apparel walking behind me would make me nervous whereas as they are his target demo. A gentleman of occasion such as myself, accompanied by his sister, his brother-in-law, and their children doesn’t exactly scream thug night out.

“Mommy, I don’t want to go to jail,” my niece says loudly, then puts on her “I’m too cute to jail” face. Yes indeed, another generation of Broadduses well into their training.
“We’re not going to jail,” my sister says. “You can’t go to jail for writing.”

I’m not going anywhere if you send a young cute female officer in an attempt to escort me anywhere. Being a Broaddus does come with an upside: some folks actually find us charming.

“Did you need security?” she asks me.
“No, but the manager did. But it’s about me, so you may want to see him first.”
“Okay.” She comes back out a few minutes later “Wouldn’t you WANT your name and store in a piece about where to find the latest fashion?”
“I know, right.”
“Well, you can do whatever you want out here.”

So we stood outside his store and continued to take notes. Eventually he came out and asked if I saw anything I liked and I said that I honestly couldn’t see myself in any of these outfits. Cause I’m a grown ass man.

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