It was a Saturday afternoon, and my friend, Walter, had arrived so that we could go shopping for a new TV. The last time I bought a TV, Bill Clinton was president and “Survivor” was a hot new show.
We began our journey at a Meijer’s, which had one that I figured was perfect. We waited and waited for a clerk, before finally calling for help on a red hotline mounted on a nearby pole. A young woman came over. We asked the difference between an LED and a LCD set. She said: “I don’t know,” as if we’d asked how far to get to the moon.
She left to find somebody. We left to find a store with actual TV salespeople. We weren’t mad at her. We just knew that she’d drawn the short straw that forced her to leave the comfort of whatever break room she was in and that the next person would be no more eager to sell us a set than she. Thought we’d save them the time.
We headed to Best Buy.
Although their prices weren’t as low, their customer service got high marks after a knowledgeable young lady talked me through screen size and models and pixels and other features that one should consider before purchasing a set. I chose one that was only a little more expensive than the one I’d seen earlier. And we took it home.
Now, this is where the story gets a little funny and a little weird. I told Walter that the set was for my woman-cave, a female version of a man cave. He was, at the least, inordinately unimpressed, and at most, horrified.
“There is no such thing as a woman cave, and if there was, this wouldn’t be it,” he said sweeping his arm around at the books on every wall and the glass writing table in the corner.
“Why?” I asked.
“Man-caves,” he said, “are fun. This says work.”
Man caves, I told him, are for sloth. Most are dark places with big sofas and sports paraphernalia and ratty chairs that are impossible to stain. And they are for nothing but watching TV.
A woman cave, I told him, is a place of relaxation and refuge but also a place for intellectual stimulation.
“The writing table is to scrapbook!” I said. And I pointed determinedly at the leather recliner that my nephew had helped me maneuver in the week before. “Look! There’s even a cave chair!”
No, he said. You can’t have a desk or writing table or books or any items that require thought or can be used for work.
“You need to have a jersey or two on the wall!” he explained in exasperation. What I had, he said, was a cove. I told him that a cove required water.
Instead, what I have is a quiet all-in-one room where I can watch “27 Dresses” or “An Affair to Remember,” where I can manipulate photographs and sheer silk, where I can – as I did after Walter left – drink a cup of tea while lying in a recliner, watching re-runs of “The Sentinel” on SyFy. Or where I can watch Wimbledon as I did a few days later.
I’ve thought of a perfect name for my new space, where I can scrapbook, write, cuddle, read novels, watch old episodes of “The Wire” and do crosswords: It’s my cavern.
A woman cavern.
Sports allowed in moderation.