So the other day I’m at WinCo, the one-stop shopping source for cheap pizzas and bulk ravioli, and I’m feeling kinda splurgey. I had just come from the art store where I had impulsively bought a little hardback sketchbook that fits into my purse and a couple of new pens and markers. As I handed over my debit card to pay that unplanned twenty five bucks, I felt elated. What was I always so worried about? Frugality is overrated. Why, I just spent twenty five dollars, yes, twenty five smackaroonies that I wasn’t planning on, and nothing went wrong! Things were okay! I hadn’t been spontaneously evicted. The bank didn’t call to scream at me. The cashier didn’t raise his eyebrow at me suspiciously and ask, “Do you really think you can afford this right now?”
I was feeling on top of the world, and a little high on the adrenaline of adventure.
This is my idea of adventure now. Buying a sketchbook that I didn’t consult Taylor about first.
Anyway, I’m in WinCo with my shopping cart full of iceberg lettuce and three bottles of Cardini’s Light Greek Salad Dressing, and I peer down the aisle full of deodorant and shampoo. I needed new shampoo. And deodorant. Maybe a new hairbrush, I mean, I’ve had my old one for years. And maybe some barrettes.
Yeah. Barrettes. Barrettes! My hair is getting long enough to tuck back under a slender black barrette, maybe with a hint of some kind of gem or pattern on it. How chic! How sophisticated! Why don’t I have any barrettes in the first place?
So I grabbed some Vo5 shampoo (blackberry, sage, and tea scented!) and picked up some conditioner for good measure, and headed to the end of the aisle where the hair things are kept.
When I arrived, though, I was confronted by not a shelf of barrettes, but a wall. A towering, looming wall that rose over me like a shadowy judgment, bursting with barrettes, ties, and pins of every imaginable shape and color.
“DO YOU KNOW WHICH BARRETTES TO BUY?” the wall asked. “I DO NOT THINK THAT YOU DO.”
I backed up slowly, and turned to run.
My external floating self appeared, crossing her arms and glaring down at me with pursed lips.
Floating Me: “Where are you going?”
Me: “Away. I need some…condensed milk. I’ve got to get it now before…before it expires.”
Floating Me: “No, you’re running away from the barrette shelf because it is big and scary.”
Me: “Darn tootin’ it’s big and scary! Did you even see it? I don’t even have enough books to put on there. I don’t think anybody does. That thing is like a library. Like The Library Of Congress for hair doodads. The Great National Hair Doodad Library.”
Floating Me: “Finished?”
Me: “Not quite. It’s like the Smithsonian of barrettes. If I tried to go through all those, I’d find like, the barrette Audrey Hepburn wore in My Fair Lady, or the barrette Lenin was buried with. That is not a shelf of barrettes. That is a pantheon.”
Floating Me: “Okay. Here’s the thing. You have got to get used to making choices like this. You always complain about not being fashionable, but when you’re in a store full of lots of cute things, you get overwhelmed and go hide in the toy aisle.”
Me: “The toy aisle is important. Those Ben Ten transforming racers aren’t gonna appreciate themselves.”
Floating Me: “Agreed, but my point stands. You’re not going to develop any sense of style by refusing to make decisions.”
Me: “What if I don’t want a sense of style?”
Floating Me: “That’s fine, but then you don’t get to complain about not having one.”
Me: “Oh. Well.”
Floating Me: “Yes.”
Me: “So I just have to…choose some barrettes? And you’ll leave me alone?”
Floating Me: “Uh-huh. Call it therapy.”
Me: “Fine. How about…uh. Maybe I’ll just…or I could…shoot. Maybe these would…but no…I…but these…maybe those…or these other ones…”
Floating Me: “Would you just PICK some?”
Me: “Hey! This is hard! I pretty much thought my choices would be black, brown, fancy black, or fancy brown.”
Floating Me: “And which of those would you have gotten?”
Me: “Uh…f-fancy…black. Fancy black. Yeah, that’s what I would have gotten.”
Floating Me: “Like…these?”
Me: “I…guess? Those are fancy. And black.”
Floating Me: “Fancy black. Decision made.”
Me: “Wow, I guess it is! Hey, look! I’m buying a hair accessory!”
Floating Me: “Go you!”
Me: “Yeah! I’ll wear it to work tomorrow!”
Floating Me: “Yes!”
Me: “Maybe I’ll look up some styles online!”
Floating Me: “Sounds great!”
Me: “I’m on the fast-train to victory town! Hoo-ah!”
Later that night, I tried on a single barrette. It got stuck in my hair, and it took me a painful fifteen minutes before I could slide it off. I had clasped it wrong, and it was permanently stuck in ‘broken’ position. I tucked the barrettes under my makeup bag, where I could forget about them with minimal shame.
Floating Me: “It was the fast-train comment.”
Floating Me: “Next time, let’s stop with ‘wearing it to work’, and not get cocky.”