It was late on a weekday night.
I really needed some cartridges for my electronic cigarette, and I know of a place that’s open 24 hours a day that sells them: A gas station.
I trotted into the little store, not really expecting anybody else to be there, but sure enough, a man stood at the counter, talking to the cashier.
Coming up behind the man, I patiently waited for my turn, and as I did, I began to space out and look around.
If you’ve read the majority of my posts, you may already know how I have a deep affection for foreign cashiers who call me ‘honey’ or some other pet name like that. Well, this cashier is one of those. I’ve been there a handful of times, and people tend to remember me. So now, whenever I’m there, his eyes light up in recognition.
There are many things to catch a person’s attention in gas stations because they’re almost always bursting at the seams with merchandise, but I just had to pause at a certain wall, which was the right and front of the counter.
It was filled with condoms. ALL different kinds of condoms.
A strained smile stretched across my face as I choked on a giggle. It’s not that I’m so much of a child that I find large condoms funny, but it was thought of me, (this short, demure, pathologically polite woman) cavalierly plucking a box of Magnums from the wall, and tossing them onto the counter.
‘Hey. How ya doin’?’
I’d stretch my arms out, placing my palms on either side of the counter top, then tap my fingers, looking past the cashier.
‘Phfft…’ I’d make a long, obnoxious sigh while squinting to read the text of the tiny boxes behind him. ‘Gimme a box of V2 Reds, would ya?’
I wonder if he’d still call me ‘honey’ after that.
My smile was almost out of control.
Going to a gas station to get a box of condoms…who DOES that? I have never once done such a thing. I mean, how do you fail to plan for that? And if you did, could you ever show your face in the store again?
My mind went momentarily blank.
Ok, let’s pretend that you NEED those Magnum condoms. Your imaginary boyfriend’s in the car, waiting outside and…and the grocery store was completely out of larger condoms and he simply cannot fit into regular ones. Oh, and he totally decided to come and visit at random (he’s sweet like that) and you just went to dinner, and he was alluding to the fact that he wanted to make love to you as you guys were heading home, and you PROMISED him that you’d get the condoms, but you didn’t. So, it’s up to YOU to get those condoms…RIGHT NOW, do or die! What’re you going to do?
I looked from the cashier to the condoms…then back at the cashier, and the condoms, again. My brow furrowed in desperation.
His voice warbled in bass tones as the scene played out in black and white, slow motion in my imagination; his eyes traveled down to the black box I had laid on the counter. When they came back up, he stared at me in pained disappointment, as if he were silently saying ‘Say it isn’t so…’
White hot embarrassment shot through my body at the thought of it.
You’re 31 years old and you’re seriously too ashamed to buy a fucking box of condoms? REALLY? Just grab them and stop being ridiculous!
Try as I may, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
This time, he was actually talking to me. Giving him a very big, but almost culpable smile, I came up to the counter, defeated.
I’d officially let my imaginary boyfriend down. I was ashamed of myself, and I just knew we were going to fight about it the entire way home.
When I got back into the car, the situation haunted me. I’d wussed out, much like the way I had with so many other things due to fear. Even though it’s very foreign to me, buying a pack of condoms at a gas station is something that’s relatively normal, yet when I pressed myself to do so, I prevented myself from doing it.
How many things are there that you’ve missed out on…how many ‘normal’ things have you missed out on because of your fear?
Well, I’ve decided that I should try to do some of these things. Like I said, they’re normal things, so no bungee jumping or anything like that, just, things that my panic or fear has prevented me from doing. And I’m setting a time limit for myself: August.
Here is my list:
1. Get a pedicure.
I’ve never had one…EVER. I wasn’t interested as a kid, I couldn’t afford it in college, and I was too scared to do it with my panic because I felt like I’d be unable to ‘escape’ if I needed to.
2. Do a home improvement project completely on my own.
I have not dared to even attempt this, as I’m terrified of screwing something up in my home. This is the first house I’ve ever bought, I’m not really very handy, so I’m scared that I can’t do it.
3. Go to a bar alone.
That’s right…alone. I’ve met up with people at bars who I’ve arranged to meet with before hand, but I’ve never just gone by myself. Besides, being in a crowded place and with loud people and no support is horrifying.
4. Make a souffle.
The souffle is supposed to be one of the most difficult dishes to make, and to be honest, I’m proud of my cooking skills…so proud that I’m scared of finding out that I’m not able to do this. I know…you’re probably thinking that this one is lame, but it’s scary to me, and that’s why I haven’t done it, so it’s on the list.
5. Buy condoms.
If you thought that I would let that one go, you were mistaken. It’s personal now, so there.
Five goals. Five months.
Hold me accountable.
3, 2, 1…BEGIN