Thursday, December 25, 2008

Why would I be otherwise?

I recognized Aga before Tina. Now that is good marketing.

Granted at least part of the reason was that Mars and I were in her "Amber by Aga" shop in a mini-mall along the town plaza of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Still we hadn't seen her there, or anywhere, since our one and only meeting on the first visit to her establishment three years ago. I chronicled that day and subsequent dealing with the young Polish jewelry designer's minions in this blog as the "Aga Saga"(1).

Long story short: Monica and Bram (daughter-in-law and son) first encountered Aga at the Santa Fe Flea Market and purchased some jewelry gifts, one for Mars. It was clear from the way Bram talked about his purchase, and Monica's bemusement, that he had been impressed with much more than the quality of the work itself. Time passed. Monica and Bram migrated to Santa Fe. Aga moved to her store. And Monica and Bram brought us there when we visited them. Aga's sales skills and customer service were impressive but personally not as memorable as her perfume-and-decolletage enhanced parting comment to me that day - "I like it for men to remember me." Still, on at least eight subsequent visits there had been no Aga sightings and as a result Aga was well on her way to becoming just another outdated marketing concept.

So I was totally surprised to see her at an open space in the counter conversing with a male customer who was trying to decide on a gift necklace. When her saw the face I was about ninety percent certain. But her sweater was black and bulky, not low-cut at all -- maybe not. Then I caught a glimpse of the partially obscured skin-tight, short hot-pants and moved up to ninety-nine point nine. The departing customer's use of her name as he said good bye cinched it.

That was when I noticed the music that was playing in the background. A deep-voiced female vocalist was singing what sounded to me like a James Bond opening credit piece, but I did not recognize either the movie or the performer. This wasn't a big surprise to me since (as classical music lovers), other than at our health club, neither Mars nor I listen to popular music -- particularly contemporary stuff.

The song ended. The next one began. And Aga came out from behind the counter. Since I (uhr) happened to be looking in that direction, I noticed the strap stiletto heels, and Tina Turner's name -- and legs -- flashed into my mind. I remember listening to "The Ike and Tina Turner Review" as a teenager; recall seeing Tina's 1970's return to the entertainment world as a solo act on the Sonny and Cher television program; owned and listened frequently to her "Private Dancer" album; and watched her "Sixty Minutes" interview with Mike Wallace during her "farewell tour" at the age of sixty-six. It was a follow-up to a 1991 interview. According to "Mike Wallace was so taken by her then that he couldn't resist joining her again in 2000."

TINA TURNER: You must be good to me.
MIKE WALLACE: Why would I be otherwise?

Now she is once again doing a concert tour of North America and Europe. And her legs are evidently as good as ever -- in both senses.

Aga however was not on a comeback tour. Instead she was in the store by accident -- her younger sister, who normally would have been there, was home sick and Aga had to step in for the day. Still she didn't miss a beat.

As on our other visit Aga was incredibly helpful to Mars with her two purchases -- one of which probably would not have occurred if not for Aga's customer service. And at the same time she was extremely distracting, particularly to one dragged-along male shopper who was this close to hauling his female companion into the jewelry boutique. He didn't -- although he did do the hesitation two-step. It either was the end of a very long day or the economy really is that bad.

As we were wrapping up our sale Aga mentioned that she thought we seemed familiar, so Mars and I related the story of how we first came to her store in 2003.

Aga moved forward. "Yes. I remember you." she said looking up at me.

As we left I told Mars "That should last me for at least the rest of the day!"

Why would I be otherwise?

(1) "Aga Saga" was a name that I made up totally for its rhyming quality. In order to refresh my mind as to what I had said before while writing this piece I Googled my title and was surprised to discover multiple pages of references to another type of story with the same appelation.

The Aga Saga is a sub-genre of the family saga of literature. The genre is named for the AGA cooker, a type of stored-heat oven that came to be popular in medium to large country houses in England after its introduction in 1922. It refers primarily to fictional family sagas set amidst the economic class that might have been expected to own such cookers, but has also been applied to describe such settings within novels of other genres. The nickname "Aga Saga" is sometimes used condescendingly about this type of work. The term was incorporated into the Oxford Companion to English Literature in 2000.
While the label has been applied to settings within other genres, it is typically interpreted to refer to "a tale of illicit rumpy-pumpy in the countryside" according to a 2007 article in The Observer. (

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