So I’m at the store the other day (get used to me starting off like we’ve already been deep in conversation for the past 35 minutes) and I’m trying to pick out toothpaste. My older daughter, who is almost 12, instructs me to buy the one that’s in the downstairs bathroom – she likes that best. But I’ve already been warned not to get that kind by my younger daughter, who’s 10. She prefers the minty kind. Not only can neither one can confirm what the one they like is called, they can’t even tell me what specific brand it is. So, I find myself contemplating toothpaste in the aisle of Target long enough for me to panic that the people watching the security cameras are starting to call other employees over to “watch this lady because I don’t know if she’s gone into a catatonic state and needs immediate medical attention or is planning the biggest toothpaste haul since the inception of the mega-store.” I also realize that I’m now muttering unanswerable questions out loud to myself along the lines of “seriously?” “what the hell?” “are you kidding me?” because once I finally find that the toothpaste I believe my younger one requires only comes in ‘bubblegum sparkle’ or ‘orange dreamsicle’ (which, if you’ve ever used a flavor of toothpaste other than any variety of mint – whether by accident or because somehow the tube of toothpaste that has no need to ever not be at the bathroom sink has gone missing – the need to brush that flavor out of your mouth will be more immediate than the morning breath following a night of washing down a bag of cool ranch Doritos with tequila and orange Fanta. Don’t judge me – you’ve done worse.)
Typically, this ends when I get so paranoid about being the crazy lady who’s been talking to herself in the toothpaste aisle for 23 minutes that I leave with nothing. And then think about it the entire time I’m wandering through the rest of the aisles in a similar, but (only) slightly less troubled, haze. Then I return to the toothpaste aisle as a last quick stop before heading to check out to grab what I know is the wrong thing, but feel better because this time I’m much quicker – I don’t even push my cart down that aisle, I just stop at the end and grab it quickly like I’ve always known exactly what I wanted. The previous shoppers have all scattered – the ones who were surely aware of my insanity and/or oral care heist (unless they’re in the exact same head space as me in which case I fantasize giving a knowing smug nod to each other indicating that we’ve won this round of the Godforsaken toothpaste war) and this new set of shoppers think I’m an amazing, organized shopper who really has this all figured out. They envy me and dream of emulating my shopping prowess.
And then I get home and everyone gives me a boatload of crap for buying the wrong thing.