I’m 22 years old and blissfully unaware of the world around me. Blissfully unaware, I’d venture, is one step closer to bliss than most people ever get.
But it’s that bliss that, today, reminded me of how big an idiot I really am.
I had to go to Target this afternoon because there was a hot yoga class in town that I wanted to try, and to take the class, I needed to first purchase an official yoga mat. Such a mat is the consistency of an oversized Shamwow, except that it costs $20 and does nothing that a $3 towel wouldn’t do when it’s 95 degrees inside a yoga studio and your palms are too sweaty to grip much of anything. (1)
There was traffic on the way to Target, so I called a friend while I waited in traffic. I kept talking as I got to the store, parked the car, grabbed a hand cart and found the oversized Shamwow that would be my platform for future yoga futility. I started walking back toward the checkout line.
Somewhere during the walk, the idiot in me took over.
For the most part, I try not to be an asshole in public, and generally, I look upon other assholes with scorn. At the top of the list of assholes in public are People Who Talk On Their Cell Phones While Urinating. Just below that, on the list of assholes worthy of title case, are People Who Talk on Their Cell Phones in the Checkout Aisle.
I decided, mid-walk, that I did not want to enter that second category.
But instead of doing the rational thing — explaining the situation to my friend, hanging up and calling back a few minutes later — I just kept walking and talking.
I walked and talked over to the toiletries aisle and picked up some paper towels. I found the grocery aisle and eyed a pint of ice cream, though I eventually passed on any. I looped through to home furnishings and grabbed two scented candles, then back to sporting goods, and over to menswear. At some point, I found myself back in the grocery aisle and decided upon a single can of minestrone soup. My handcart was getting progressively heavier. My left arm was starting to sag. I kept talking.
During my fifth or sixth loop of menswear, I looked down the aisle toward the store’s entrance and noticed that it was getting dark. I told my friend that I had to go and hung up. I saw the counter flashing on my phone. I’d been walking and talking for nearly 40 minutes, it said.
I walked over to the checkout aisles and found an empty lane. I put my things on the belt, and in a conscientious effort not to be one of those aforementioned assholes, I smiled at the cashier and said hello. She said nothing. She put my items in a bag and told me the price of my goods. A trip for a cheap yoga mat had turned into a full-on shopping spree, all in an effort to be polite to this cashier. I thanked her and wished her a nice day, and I actually kind of meant it. She didn’t respond.
I grabbed my bags, and my left arm sagged again. I didn’t feel like an asshole, which was a thought with about as much comfort as my $20 yoga mat. I only felt like an idiot.
Which is, to say, I only felt like myself.
- I also must report that my yoga class consisted of what I must assume were the five most flexible people in all of South Texas. The yoga teacher herself may have been born without joints, bones or the ability to sense the unstoppable pain in my lower back. I don’t think she was a contortionist; I think she was a human balloon animal. ↩