It was a term the crew invented to describe feet after a long night out at the clubs in Tijuana, Mexico. Hard to help it, really. Combine exposed toes with a city whose average temperature never drops below 83 degrees Fahrenheit with strappy, sexpot heels affordable and available at the plethora of cheap bodegas along the Pacific Beach strip with an open bar, watered down Tequila sunrises, Puff Daddy and The Family remixes, flashing, seizure-inducing light shows and a 5am last call with a half mile trudge through the border town's streets and it's not difficult to conjure up the visual.
Affectionate, I know.
With too many weekends spent on Revolution Street donning my chunky, brown, three-strapped London Undergrounds and doing the cabbage patch kid and my own awkward versions of private dancer and rhythm nation, I knew too well the true definition of TJ toes.
Apparently, the jealousy my hands harbored all these years at not being given equal opportunities to be covered with a thick layer of sludge refused to remain laconic any longer. The tides turned and showed its visage in the form of my beloved (just as Club Safari every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, holler) Goodwill bins. Hi, my name is Sara and I am addicted to the bins. These magical warehouses overflowing with used, smudged, stained, torn and otherwise iconic clothing, accessories, shoes and any number of other wardrobe and apartment-fattening chatchkies from golden decades before my time have become my ultimate paramour.
The bins are where Goodwill dumps everything in their inventory deemed unfit to sell at their regular retail stores. It is the last stop before the thrift crematory. In their attempt to make the goods move quickly, the bins sell by the pound. By the pound people. $1.59 for 0 – 20lbs., $1.29 for 20 – 40lbs., etc. Don't test me. This shit is crucial. On any day, the bins are peppered with the city's trendy vintage boutique owners, EBay nerds hoping to make a quick buck and common, broke folk like yours truly. I show up each weekend, wide-eyed and foaming at the mouth in my consistent, frenzied quest to increase my 80's collection. Vintage satin and wool letterman's jackets (shut your face, I scooped an '82 MTV this morning), puffy crinoline empire-waisted tea length party dresses, patterned silk scarves, soft butter leather clutches, suede ankle boots, shelf bra swimsuits, acid-wash Lee Riders jeans and early 90's Fat Boys and Young MC 12" wax is one that would make the corner crackhead (shout out to Redd!) beam with pride. Unmotivated and sane I am not.
8:32am Saturday. I inhale lukewarm coffee and a gluten-free English muffin, pop the, "Def Cuts of the R" Rakim mixtape in and 13 short miles later, I have arrived. I'm on the hunt today dolo. Even my closest trilla boo Rae, wouldn't have the stamina necessary to deal with me. My mouth waters as I approach the first bin. Mounds of color, fabric and funk hit me. The latter makes my eyes tear up a little bit but it's worth it. I dive in elbow deep and start humming Tamia's, "I'm So Into You". I smile sweetly at the middle-age Russian woman digging on my right. Her basket is full of toddler ware and husband sweaters. Suddenly, the older, sprightly little woman to my left, wearing a fit only she could be proud of, pulls out a Louis Vitton handbag. She's beaming, exposing two toothless gaps and a banging gold front. Bring it bitch, it's on now. Adrenaline pumping, lip gloss shining, I dig on. I'm starting to sweat and my biceps are throbbing. Thank god for Shower Fresh Sure in solid stick form and the carbs from breakfast.
An hour and half, an elusive label, The Italian Mob red, cashmere, short-sleeved sweater appliquéd with a terry cloth two-tone pink flamingo, a tan Casablanca leather hooded jacket, a Rufus Thomas LP (Did You Heard Me? Stax Records 1972) in spit shiny condition and a Robbie Sport spring green pair of pocketed skorts, I'm starving, fatigued and high off endorphins from all my new threads. Skills. But the best part of course, the part that makes me pause mid-aisle, the part that will cause me to immediately head for the ladies room post pay and bag, is my "bin fingers". All ten digits look up at me through that all too familiar sludge. A proud, thin layer of grime, dirt, germs, dried boogers and trace particles of food and poo, no doubt.
Today, new memories have been formed, new fits were purchased for less than an Alberta St. Thai lunch special and a new joy has been extracted from my all-time favorite extra-curricular activity. Back up off me or I'll run my middle bin finger down your Wal-Mart hoodie.