On Sunday, we took our houseguest to Roger’s Gardens, an outdoor paradise for upscale Orange County residents who are looking for the finest greenery their greenbacks can buy –- and who can afford to hire other people to dig their purchases into the dirt.
Around Christmastime, Roger’s Gardens stocks their indoor boutique with theme-based Christmas trees and an impressive array of needful things. Perhaps the most popular area in the whole store is the Christopher Radko corner. There, you’ll find finely crafted ornaments to match your every interest and to suit every season, as long as price isn’t an object for you, of course. Each handcrafted ornament takes a full seven days to create, and their prices are a reflection of their exclusive, exquisite nature (ranging from $45.00 to hundreds of dollars).
Can you imagine the awe I felt as I gently held one in my hand, marveling over the craftsmanship and creativity? And can you perhaps also empathize with the horror I felt as a large man bumped my elbow from behind, startling me and sending that gorgeous ornament crashing to the floor?
A bejeweled woman in a Furstenberg wrap-around dress and four-inch heels (who had, until that fateful moment, been standing next to me) rushed to put distance between the two of us. “Oh, I’m glad that wasn’t me,” I heard her whisper to her friend as they both backed away. Meanwhile, I stood frozen in that spot, clutching the hanger that had somehow detached itself from the now-destroyed ornament and wishing for some sort of seismic activity to open the ground beneath me and swallow me whole.
Graciously and without a single sidelong look of disapproval, a store clerk rushed in, whisked the colorful glass shards into a dustpan, and then unceremoniously dumped the remnants into a nearby garbage can. Apparently, in this fantasyland environment, they don’t have a “You break it, you buy it” policy. Whew! So as shoppers around me returned to their conspicuous consumption, I retreated — as inconspicuously as possible under the circumstances — into the well-heeled, mostly high-heeled, crowd.
And so it was that I temporarily stepped through the looking glass and into Wonderland, leaving shards of glass in my wake.
Photo credit: Christopher Radko ornament, 2006