It’s a little over a week before Christmas. We started the Christmas decorating over Thanksgiving weekend and I’m still trying to get it all done.
The group-and-individual-projects-papers-presentations-and-meetings had run together so that I hardly knew where one started and the other left off. I still had a final exam for which to study over the weekend while running errands and attending meetings. I had run out of my vitamins a few days ago and knew I’d better get another bottle before I get iron-poor-tired blood as the commercial used to say.
It’s Monday afternoon. I’d gone everywhere I could think of that normally carries my brand, but no one had them. Becoming desperate, I had purchased a substitute whose formulary had been touted as similar. I guess one could say that; they all said they were vitamins. But I need lots of B vitamins and a load of iron for people who burn the candle at both ends. I could not find my vitamins at any store. Desperate, I knew what had to be done. As much as I did not want to go there this close to Christmas, I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath and girded my defenses so I could head out to…WalMart.
I just finished my last final Monday morning, so I’m in a little better shape than the day before. I found my vitamins and proceeded to the checkout. As I’m standing in the checkout with the proverbial laundry list of stuff I needed to be doing running through my head, the lady behind me observes:
“A little stressed, are we?”
I looked down at the vitamins in my arms —all five bottles of them. Stresstabs with Iron in the 25% more bonus package so I’m really getting about a six month supply.
I could almost feel myself growling over my “kill”, but managed to laugh and mutter something about it being Christmas and things had been a little hectic. You’d have thought I was standing there with a smorgasbord of rubber cement and mucilage ready for a weekend of glue sniffing…
Quite thankfully, at least she hadn’t caught me talking to myself. That’s what I’d been doing on Saturday while I was looking for a red ink pen for my father. I had already gotten him a couple to use to do their Christmas cards, but he didn’t like them. He wanted a Flair pen. I don’t think anybody makes Flair pens anymore, so I was going to have to try to sneak a skinny Sharpie marker in on him.
When I got to the store, I had — of course — left my shopping list at home, so I’m wandering around the store trying to reconstruct what it was I had ventured out in the cold to purchase in the first place. After buying copy paper and some other junk in one store and taking it back to my car, I ventured back to the other store to look for frames or something else that I couldn’t remember whether it was on my list.
As I passed the office supplies aisle, I hazily recalled I was supposed to get a pen – but for what? Like a siren, the pens called my name and I wandered over to inspect the wares. As I stood there, it began to come back into focus. Oh, yeah, Daddy wanted a red pen. That’s when the trouble started.
There I stood in a semi-demented state talking to those dumb pens when another lady came over and started muttering to herself. “I’m not nuts. I’m just trying to reason why these red pens only come in a pack with four other pens of different colors.” And talking to them was going to help this process how?
It must have looked like the time I was in the grocery store just before Christmas and started up the detergent aisle before I saw a lady carrying on a full-blown conversation with the SoftSoap. She turned around, saw me, and said, “You must think I’m crazy.”
I smiled. “No, I was just waiting for you to leave so I could do the same thing myself.”
And we still have a week to go…
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.