Let me just head out to my bed in the barn
For as long as I have known of the existence of the store Anthropologie, I have been in love. The closest one to my hometown was nearly an hour away but when I discovered it in high school there was no turning back. The coincidence of running into my elementary school art teacher there only solidified it in my mind as the end-all of beautiful and artistic living. Mrs. Acheson with her sunflower hats and beautifully messy classroom was perusing the displays. She was known for having created my school’s annual ArtFest and when the Fire Department limited her to only 20% of the school hall’s wall space for hanging art, she protested through symbolic hanging artwork of course. On the particular day that my friends and I ran into her in Anthropologie she cried out: “Don’t you just love this place?!” Oh, I do.
The admirable aesthetic of the slovenly but inspiring art studio on one level conflicts with my fantasy world where I have very little need for material possessions at all and live the Bohemian life with only my toothbrush and a piano. In this particular dream my place of residence would look something like the Joni Mitchell lyric: “Maybe I’ll go to Amsterdam or maybe I’ll go to Rome and rent me a grand piano and put some flowers round my room.” It’s the simplicity of the space and the idea of casual temporary abandon that makes this world so appealing. In my version of this fantasy though I cannot help but envision a beautiful throw on the piano and maybe some exotic pillows. This involves a larger suitcase than the song implies I think. This is the paradox of a place like Anthropologie. It lies somewhere between the covered walls of Mrs. Acheson’s art room and the disdain for all things material. In fact, a Times article from a few years ago (that my mother sent me in the mail), described Anthropologie’s view of its typical patron as a “well-educated woman in her thirties who is not very materialistic.” Well I am not in my thirties yet, but I’ve been told I have an old soul.
Only hole-in-the-wall boutiques and vintage stores hold a closer place in my heart over Anthropologie. While I tend not to like the idea of chains when there is local business to patronize, it is my absolute favorite chain. The merchandise is generally vastly out my price range and if I make a purchase it is inevitably from the sale section. I just think the displays are so brilliant that I wish I had enough square footage to justify the installment of rotating seasonal artwork in my home. Since eight foot peacocks made out of vintage book pages would not actually fit in my apartment I have to settle for viewing this season’s latest creation on Boylston St in Boston’s Back Bay.
This weekend, on a rare evening when a few friends and I were able to go out on the town, we were surprised to find that Anthropologie was still open after dinner. We were delighted and took a stroll through.
It hardly needs mentioning that I run with a crowd of opera singers who are as excited as I am to see beautiful hardcover copies of Wuthering Heights and bright 40’s style floral blazers. Generally we are not quiet about it either. They appeared to be closing up when we finally left that evening.
After getting a drink down the street we were preparing to depart via our various modes of transportation when we passed by Anthropologie again only to find that it appeared to still be open and it was past 11:00. It was then that we realized that one of their giant wooden doors had fallen off the hinges and was strewn across the sidewalk. The sales associate standing in the doorway told us that no one was seriously hurt and that she was waiting for the repairman. When we asked her when it happened she looked right at us and said “Right after you left.” It wasn’t our fault, I swear, but we’d obviously made an impression.