Thursday, December 22, 2005
Every so often, I get in a rut and seek out some guidance. I recently found myself standing in the middle of a Barnes & Noble Self-Help section not once, not twice but three times. It was like being suddenly transported back to sixth grade. With Dr. Phil to my left and Dr. Ruth to my right, I relived the same paranoia experienced twenty-one years earlier as I approached the pharmacy counter clutching a big box of Super Duper Tampax tampons and another box of winged pads, the latest introduction to feminine protection clearly designed by a man who hates women. I don’t know many people in my neighborhood but I was paralyzed amongst all those books, certain a really cute boy would catch me in the act.
I initially tried to go the online route for my self-help interests. The internet is ideal for the purchase of sex toys and self-help books, two things in life that most people are too insecure to openly buy in public but inevitably want and or need.
Though I’ve mentally and emotionally come a long way since my youth, I am a work in progress. Now feels like as good a time as any to make some adjustments. Personal growth is one of those things that you have to want to experience to successfully conquer. Wanting to get your head straight doesn’t come along very often. It’s like those random moments in time when you feel inspired to work out. Today I am going to get on that treadmill. Oh heck, I am going to do it tomorrow too. The theme to Chariot’s Fire plays in the background as I visualize my legs in motion.
One time, when the exercise inspiration struck, I ordered a product off the television. It wasn’t my proudest moment in time. I had spent many a random Saturday morning sprawled on my sofa in wrinkled pajamas, clutching a bowl of Lucky Charms and skim milk while watching an infomercial of other women melting away the pounds and with a smile, no less. Feel the burn. You can do it. Tighten your fanny. I was so excited to get started that I had the product shipped overnight. You have to strike when the iron is hot.
I searched the internet for books that might help me straighten out a kink or two. An hour later, my online shopping cart was loaded up with three books and the new Jamie Cullum CD. Then I got impatient. I wanted everything for my pending weekend travels. No, I needed these things for my travels. I did the unthinkable and wrote down the book information and then I went over to my local Barnes & Noble.
I scanned the shelves three times over and came up empty handed. I took a deep breath, strolled over to the help desk and waited for assistance. There was only one person ahead of me and no one behind me so I felt safe. Then a line formed. To help out, another employee stopped over. He happened to be one of those who spoke in a voice much louder than necessary and much louder than appropriate for the library like setting of a Barnes & Noble. If you wanted to share a secret, this wasn’t your guy. I toyed with giving up and walking away but I stuck to my guns.
“Conquer Your Inner Negative Voice isn’t in stock but if you really need it soon, I can order it for you. Oh wait, the store two towns over might have it. Let me call.”
While my initial reaction to his loudspeaker announcement intended for me but provided to the rest of the store was unsettling, I realized I shouldn’t be embarrassed. Wanting to become a better person is admirable. And if the complete strangers behind me were going to be judgmental assholes about it, well, they could go fuck themselves. Perhaps an anger management book would have been a good idea to add to my list?
Barnes & Noble didn’t have the book at the other location either. Mr. Loud Speaker again offered to order one and he also suggested that I still might want to swing by the other store. He wasn’t convinced they actually checked the shelves. He meant well and that was all that mattered.
“Thanks so much for your help and have a great night!” I said. I turned on my heels, headed for the door and smiled the whole way. I even made eye contact with some of the people lined up behind me. Apparently I can skip the chapter about being self conscious.