Friday, May 17, 2013

B's Awkward Situations

I've had a lot of time in the past two weeks for some very humbling introspection. Its not like I look for opportunities to quietly examine the inner workings of my mind. Its just that I haven't been sleeping well at all for the past two weeks, which leaves lots of time for thinking. I thought at first that it was due to W's new rotation schedule.

General surgery has resulted in a new, all-time low: a 4:12am alarm.

As I typed that, a surge of very hostile, primal and sleep-deprivation-induced anger just sent lightening bolts of venom shooting straight out of my eyeballs in the general direction of W's medical school. Good riddance.

But, this weekend, there was no 4:12am alarm and I was still up a good hour before W after another restless night. It was 7am. On my BIRTHDAY. And I was wide awake and sticking my finger in a snoozing W's ear. That never happens.

And then, take this week. W has been in Lewisburg since Wednesday, and I'm still not sleeping. What gives?

I really don't do well without sleep. I'm like a two year old who desperately needs a nap. It is ugly.

So, sleepless nights of tossing and turning have turned into unending lapses into the depths of my mind and memories. And I have come to the conclusion that I am an extremely awkward person that extremely awkward or unusual things happen to often in public.

Skinny Groundhog

Let's start with the grocery store.

In the last almost year of living in Charleston and shopping at the most rundown Kroger you've ever seen, I have officially been told four different times that I am a healthy eater. It usually goes something like this:

"Dang, look at all those vegetables. You eat healthy?"

This is usually said with a slight inflection at the end. I can't decide if its a question or just incredulity. I usually struggle to respond to these statements without being really awkward or pretentious or snobby or patronizing. I usually just shrug, "yeeeaaaahhh." And smile BIG.

"How do you cook all these veggies? I just can't eat some of these. I mean, how are you supposed to make cauliflower taste good?"

She also asked me how to cook asparagus and spaghetti squash. Then, she wanted to know what in the world I wanted with a whole baby chicken.

"You like all of this stuff or are you just on a diet?"

"Giiiirl, how you eat this stuff? I'm bout to order me some Chinese."

And then there was the sweet cashier who carded me and was absolutely enamored with my ID picture. He held it for quite a while, about five inches from his face before announcing, "This is a GREAT picture, Brianne!" Melt my heart. I blushed from ear to ear and thanked him. Then, he brought out his wallet and asked if I would like to see his new ID. Of course! I told him how handsome it was. That just about made my year.

Does this stuff happen to other people??

Finally, I get asked to reach items for older folks, specifically women, all the time. Its not really awkward, but I am usually wearing a short dress or skirt and my arms are usually full of groceries as I refuse to use the big buggies. There is usually some skin exposure and juggling. And, I am almost always reaching the off-brand cottage cheese for them, which explains it all. It is always on the top shelf and never fully stocked... Or, its pineapple juice. Weird.

On buggies. If there is one with a bum, squeaky, frozen, clacking, skipping, stuttering wheel or wheels, I will get it and I will stubbornly refuse to return it for a more manageable or quiet one. You can hear me coming  5 aisles away.

People also always ask me what aisle things are on. I'm pushing a buggy, and I'm usually in workout clothes, and I am usually on a mission running people over left and right. Does it honestly look like I work here?!

If you can't tell, I am a bit impatient. I like to use the speedy checkout. It never fails, when I buy carrots (the u-pick kind right out of the bin), I ALWAYS ring them up as organic carrot juice, which costs $20, by the way. ALWAYS. So, I have to ask the hassled attendant to come and void them for me. They always find it amusing that two carrots rang up for $20.

Final awkward grocery store moments: Chex Cinnamon Cereal, aka, W's most favorite cereal on the planet. I have now been asked by 3 different people on 3 separate occasions:

"Is that cereal good?"

Well, I am buying three boxes of it, so yes, its delicious.

"My kid is always begging for that stuff. Should I get it for 'em?"

Uuuummmm, I feel very uncomfortable answering that question.

"What's that stuff taste like anyways?"


Fat Groundhog

Now, let's talk about TJMAXX.

Various women of all shapes and sizes often approach me in TJMAXX and ask my opinion about various items. It usually goes down like this:

I'm casually browsing the tops section, when a woman joins me on the same rack, just a few feet away. She starts working her way towards me until we are within 6 inches of one another. Suddenly:

"What do you think of this? Are the stripes too much?"

This always scares the crap out of me. I always think of shopping as a strictly anti-social activity. I am usually off in fashion la-la land anyways. And the, BAM, I have a new shopping buddy, clutching a horrific striped shirt to her chest and staring earnestly into my eyes.

"Yeah, mmm," I croak out after hours of solitary shopping time and zero talking. "Stripes are great." I turn to walk towards the pants.

"Hmm. Are you sure? I don't know if red is my color."

Seriously, lady, do you think a complete stranger is going to tell you that red isn't your color OR that that shirt is a COMPLETE disaster?

"Oh, red looks great. I like it. Have a nice day."

I walk away and start sifting through the pants.

"Well, stripes it is. Guess I need a new pair of shorts to go with them! You think white?"


It happens so frequently that I have started only going to TJMAXX looking my grungiest, hoping no one will want my opinion on anything.

One of the more bizarre TJMAXX encounters was with a woman, who, again, was looking at shirts right along side me. She must have been watching my selection process, because she, without a "hey!" or "look at this!", shoved a bright pink blouse in between me and the rack.

"Oh, did you need some help?" I asked.

"Oh, no," she said. "I just thought you might like this one."


And, finally, I will end with the most awkward of the awkward encounters and it is when older, strange (ie: unknown to me) men ask me (quite frequently):

1. "Are you pregnant?"

Um, hi, strange man. No, I'm not. Do not talk to me. BUT WAIT. Why? Do I look pregnant? NO, don't answer that. LEAVE ME ALONE.

2. "Do you have any kids?"

Which, okay, this one isn't that bad. Its a bit intrusive. Maybe inappropriate? I mean, "Hi. I will be taking you on a tour of the museum today," isn't really an invitation to get all personal, but sure, let's go there.

"No, no kids."

It is the response to this admission that I am indeed not a mother that makes me want to immediately start talking about prostates and the little blue pill.

3. "Why not? Better get moving on that one."

Seriously, sir??? Really?? You do not even know my name, sir, and yet are so concerned with my uterus and reproductive timeline. BACK OFF.

I have vowed that from now on, when asked any of the above questions, I will just respond with:

I'm not really into procreation and burdening the world with one more human life to support.

or just:

Ack, offspring. More like ALIENS, amiright?

Which, of course, I want children, but I don't want to talk about that with YOU, sir. I bet either response would shut 'em right up and maybe have them think twice before abusing another young woman with their obvious fatherhood guilt and regrets.

Do awkward things happen to you, too?


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