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LITTLE BLUE BOXES

Cindy Maddera

I have a thing for Tiffany's. I don't know why or how it happened. It might have had something to do with the 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is still one of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies. Maybe I have a secret passion for really expensive jewelry. It's probably both of those things. I have always been drawn to that signature Tiffany's blue. My scooter and my bicycle are close matches to that color, as well as our couch. I remember attending a wedding shower with my mother once and we set our present down on the gift table next to a large Tiffany's gift box. I remember looking at my Mom because she had gasped at the sight of it and then she turned and looked at me and said "Someone has spent a lot of money and the bride is going to get a really nice gift." I was a pre-teen and this was my second hint that there was something special about Tiffany's. The first was hearing Marilyn Monroe singing about diamonds in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. Tiffany's represented something classical and sophisticated, beautiful and durable. Things from Tiffany's became family heirlooms. 

One of the coolest things I have ever done was to have breakfast at Tiffany's. On my first trip to New York, Talaura picked me up from the airport and asked me what I wanted to do while I was in New York. I said "I want to have breakfast at Tiffany's." Talaura knew exactly what I was talking about. You can't, or at least at the time could not, have breakfast at Tiffany's. I mean that there was not a restaurant at Tiffany's. Breakfast at Tiffany's was standing outside with a cup of coffee and a pastry of some sort while gazing at the beautiful, sparkling window displays. Just as Holly Golightly would do on mean red days. This is what Talaura and I did one morning on that first trip to New York City. We picked up everything bagels with everything cream cheese from the Bagel Boyfriend and two cups of coffee. Then we rode the subway down to 75th and walked the few blocks to Tiffany's. We stood outside drinking our coffee and eating our bagels while people walked by, mostly tourists. Occasionally we would hear someone say in an excited whisper "they're having breakfast at Tiffany's" and Talaura and I would give each other a sly look and a slight nod as if to say "yeah...we know we're the coolest."

I did not go inside the store on that trip. I admired a pair of sunglasses in the window display, but I did not go inside. I was still intimidated by the idea of walking into a store where I knew that I would only be looking. I was still under the impression that I would never be able to buy something from Tiffany's, that it would always remain a representation of the kind of sophistication that I would never be able to attain. Later on, I would and do walk into Tiffany's to look at all the pretty things and I would even purchase something. I bought a very sturdy sterling silver chain that holds mine and Chris's wedding rings. The chain, I feel, was a very practical purchase and worth the price. It has held up well with the weight of those rings. That opening scene of Holly Golightly standing outside of Tiffany's looking at the window displays is so much more than just a girl hoping for a diamond. She's looking at things that for right now, are unattainable, but some day...some day she's going to have all the money and confidence to buy the whole store. Really, in the end, it's not the money she gains, but the confidence to open herself up to another person, to be herself. It's a girl hoping for bigger and better things and we've all been that girl. We are all a little bit Holly Golightly, struggling to find a place in this world where we are accepted, yet still able to maintain a unique quality of self. 

Tiffany's has updated their flagship store in New York City and have released a line of products they call "everyday objects." The everyday collection is beyond ridiculous with a replica of a plain old tin cup, this one made of sterling silver. It is the most expensive tin cup for panhandling or holding pencils you will ever see, costing you about $1000. The everyday object I find most annoying though is the crazy straw. The crazy straw ranges from $250-$350 depending on your choice of metal and I wouldn't call it 'crazy' as much as I would call it 'bendy'. At $250, I'm not even sure if it's meant for drinking or looking. Along with the release of these everyday ridiculous objects, Tiffany's also announced the opening of a new cafe on the fourth floor of the store. For $29, you can now have breakfast at Tiffany's as well as a $39 lunch and a tea for $49. I have to admit that I am slightly tempted by the luxurious menu offerings, but I'm not paying $29 for a cup of coffee, a croissant and a slice of avocado toast, nor will I ever again stand outside drinking my coffee while eating a pastry. The things inside Tiffany's are not so much unattainable to me now as they are unwanted. 

With the exception of that really cute elephant charm they have where the proceeds go to save elephants.