Thursday, June 19, 2008
buy the book
This time I just really wish you all could have been there. It's damned near indescribable. So surreal words won't do it justice, but I'll take a crack at it. The setting for this unfathomable occurrence was Costco, yesterday. The kids and I were hustling through the warehouse, and its $9,000 patio sets, in search of humbler things like Goldfish crackers and of course, my psych meds du jour. As we sped past the books, I made a note to myself to check back on the way around to look for David Sedaris' new book, which has received much acclaim by Adam and B. In fact they've taken to reading me excerpts sometimes as long as 35 pages. I wasn't sure Costco would sell a Sedaris book, and if they did, I was going to buy a copy when I get my allowance Friday. Oh God, I'm afraid a little background on my allowance is in order. It's a very touchy subject but it works something like this: Todd makes a respectable chunk of change and gives me a comfortable allowance each week. This particular week I had not only lost, for the first time in history, $20, which miraculously did not trigger a heart attack, but I had also been a little free with my spending and as such, didn't have the cash on me to buy the book yesterday.
So we're weaving in and out of the aisles in search of primo samples, but my kids got the shaft with chipotle spread and some succotash or something creepy. We loaded up on the staples, and all the while I kept seeing a woman I recognized, shopping with her mom, but I couldn't place her, which is rare for me. Grabbed flax cereal, there was the woman. Hoisted a 90 pound flat of bottled water onto the cart, she was there to see my grunting and wiping away the sweat. Damn, how do I know her? Finally we're nestled cozily in the pharmacy, my home away from home, my kids know just where to go to wait out the line. I get Maggie, who absolutely delights in my self-deprecating jokes, which is the surest way to keep me standing there until armageddon, but finally we make our way to the register. After schlepping so many boxes onto he conveyor, I felt like an honorary Egyptian, I stood up and realized that behind me were the mother and daughter duo of unknown origin. The daughter ran back for something, and as I rudely surveyed their cart, I noticed, perched atop the heap, was the David Sedaris book! Crap! I must have been fairly obvious in my exasperation, because Mom inquired as to my histrionics. I explained that I had come in looking specifically for that book, but had forgotten to go back. Dear God I had unwittingly unleashed the good samaritan from hell. First she offered to stand with my kids while I ran to fetch the book. "Oh no I couldn't, our things are on the conveyor." (Read: I don't have the coin to buy the book today.) Next she offered to ask the checker to wait, to which I sort of coughed and shook my head, smiling. As it became my turn, the daughter came back, and I continued to search my failing memory with a fine tooth comb in hopes of recognizing her. My concentration was lost however when the Mom said, "Honey, this woman came in to get this book and then forgot it. You have to go back." Again I stated that that was not necessary, and smiled, though I had long been faking it. I'm not exactly a doormat, but I definitely lack the cajones to shout out, "Listen lady, my (ex) husband buys the groceries and I live on an allowance, which I blew through already, and I can't actually afford the book until Friday, thankyouverymuch." Finally, as my purchase was complete, and I was holding four receipts (long story), Todd's debit card, my Costco card, and the cart, this precious do-gooding warrior did the unthinkable. She handed her copy of the book to the cashier, who didn't even look up for my approval, and just scanned it right through. "That's $14.89 ma'am." This is pretty much when time came to a crawl and I started hearing cacophonous music, and everything began to rotate. The truth was, I wasn't putting my fag-o-rama book on Todd's debit card, nor was I canceling the purchase, nor was I in a position to do anything but fake a seizure. I took the only money I possessed, my $20 for gas, and handed it to the man. What's worse, I had to make lovebird eyes at these wretchedly well-intended women, and thank them no less than 15 times for ruining my entire week. And I mean ruined. Thanks to them, I had to cancel an appointment, due to insufficient petrol, and my kids and I folded laundry that day and watched a very haggard, and as Quinn observed, "trans-gendered" Carly Simon on the Ellen show.
If you're wondering why I didn't just go and return it, it's because there was a very serious Japanese man returning a really large computer, but each piece was in a Ziploc baggie. If you're wondering why I didn't grow some stones and just refuse once and for all, it's because I was weak. What I'm wondering, as I'm sure are you, is how much I will love this book having already heard 89% of it. The answer to that is, hell yes, once I finish Middlesex. (Long stream of expletives!)
I hope, on those women's next shopping voyage, that some "kind" and/or deranged person loudly and fiercely insists on handing over her 1,000 pack of feminine itch relief products. Sweeter still would be if the clerk had to ask for the price over the intercom...