Some days, you may ask yourself the following: can I somehow make this day worse on purpose?
The answer is yes, and I’m about to show you how you can create regrettable moments by using my own true story from my late adolescence as an example.
If you follow this blog, it’s no secret that I’ve had my share of bowel problems. I don’t know why I used to be ashamed of them. Everyone has bowels. Everyone eats. Everyone poops. I might imagine one could be embarrassed about pooping if you were the only person in the entire world who did it. That would make for awkward dinner conversation.
Luckily, the tale I’m about to share happened quite a while ago, so I am a different person now and can safely recount this unfortunate adventure with confidence knowing that I no longer give a foof if these events happened to me today.
Many years ago, during a less-than-great time, I was experiencing some issues with my bowels. I needed some medicated intervention down south ASAP, so I decided to go to a nearby drugstore to retrieve the necessary items.
(NOTE: My car does not actually fly. It can only reach a maximum speed of 23 mph and the horn sound is similar to the vocalizations of a farm animal.)
I chose to shop at this one specific drugstore because every time I had been there previously, there was always older women working behind the counter, and I could buy whatever products I needed and not feel weird about it.
As I wandered (painfully) through the florescent-lit space, I grabbed the things I needed:
-Fiber One Cookies
And finally, as if matters weren’t unfortunate enough, I also had a raging period. So I bought two more items:
-Giant, overnight maxi pads with wings (These are basically fancy diapers, let’s be real here.)
-A bag of Reese’s (Don’t worry, the irony isn’t lost on me. But I figured the laxative powder would cancel out any of the constipation from the chocolate. See? I had everything sorted out.)
I headed to the counter to pay for my plethora of remedies, with a sense of calm reassurance flowing through my pores. My unfortunate situation was nearly just a memory.
I haphazardly placed all my crap on the counter. (Heads up: this is where the story turns regrettable.)
Standing behind the counter were not any of the women I had seen there countless times before. Oh no. It was perhaps the most attractive-looking young man I had ever seen – or may ever see – in this life. Imagine for a moment the top (literally, the number one) male model in the world decided to quit modelling one day and work at your local drugstore for no reason. Imagine you went to that same drugstore the very next day and bought the most obvious constipation, hemorrhoid, menstruation products at the same time and slathered them shamelessly on the counter in front of him.
During those first few seconds, the situation looked like this:
Within 4 seconds, the air between him and I changed.
Picture, if you will, his gorgeous face transforming into a state of primal fear because he’s new to this life and emotionally not able to handle the fact that women have bodies, and his awkwardness flows from him with more strength than you can bear. Imagine you suddenly become painfully aware of this cringe-fest, but have no choice but to tolerate it because you NEED those things on the counter. That, my friends, is what transpired. Him and I became trapped in the sacred space I call, the Zone of Discomfort.
He scanned each item slowly, avoiding all eye contact with me. The realization that I was buying all these things at the same time appeared to traumatize him and subsequently, me. I figured the panic must have inhibited his motor skills to a certain degree because he was moving as if he were in some kind of nightmare.
After a few brief moments of unbearable awkwardness, he managed to utter a total. His vocalizations barely reached my eardrums through the Zone of Discomfort. It’s thick fog created a terrible barrier.
The fact is, this experience was so awkward because of the combination of events that happened to occur together. Like the perfect storm, this situation had all the right components for devastation: nineteen year-old me, nineteen year-old most attractive human on earth, and our unavoidable interaction involving products that suggested embarrassment and pain at the mere sight of the packaging. I did not utter a single word, yet, my basket of items screamed, “EVERYTHING NEAR MY BUM IS HURTING AND BLEEDING AND I’M DYING.”
After what felt like a century of nauseating levels of tension, I swiped my debit card and noped out of there with such velocity that Usain Bolt would’ve been left choking on my dust.
Back safely in my car, I ripped open the bag of Reese’s to heal myself from the cringe-fest I just experienced. Luckily, I never saw the model employee again, and he probably was thankful he never saw me again either. We had bonded in the most unfortunate way. His heart and my heart were forever united for those few brief moments of unparalleled embarrassment. I feel a sort of kinship with him, but also, I pray our paths may never cross again.
What’s the moral lesson to be taken from this story? There is no moral lesson. If you want to humiliate yourself in front of attractive people in public spaces, I’m sure the story I described above will inspire you to cringe your way through life. I am proud of you – go forth and live your best life in the Zone of Discomfort.
Just some advice for everyone else: always use the self-check out.