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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Shopping

Went to the new counselor again and she pressed me some about my not wanting to show my feelings concerning last time -- which I call Black Thursday -- and I finally fell apart and cried, which seemed to help us both somehow -- I mean, I hear her saying she gets that I really mean it and ...

... suddenly we're talking about options and schedules and it starts to sink in ...

... that I'm going to get to be me.

I'm a girl.

I'm a GIRL!!!

I mean, I knew that. But now she knows that.

And if she knows that then it means my driver's license is going to know that. And that a surgeon is going to know that. So, it's not a question mark hanging over my head any more.

So I'm not some sort of indecent thing.

I get to live.

I don't suppose she saw the little jig that I did down at the end of the driveway.

Later in the day, I went to the tiny hospital up-valley, where they had re-calibrated the bone density machine for me, and everyone was so nice.

So I drove out to the rails-to-trails bike path along the river, and walked for a mile. No one was around. Only the cottonwoods, Oregon ash, black oaks, and a few crows got to see me break down in -- this time grateful -- tears.

So, today, after work, I went shopping. I called the Stayed-Home-and-Worked-All-Day Lady to see if she could go with me, and she couldn't, which meant that I'd, umm, have to go alone, and, uh, hmm, I'm dressed up an awful lot for shopping in a known-to-be-very-homophobic logging town, but, well, this was going to happen sooner or later, and since I've got two months' credit for Real Life Experience, better get on with it.

I'm now on several Mary-and-Martha committees (which are always, it seems, a lot more Martha than Mary) and need to buy enough stuff for three potlucks, plus a new coffeemaker, and it's now or never.

So I planned my approach. There was only so much cash on hand (a twenty) so I headed for a store not known for its posh clientele. Years ago, we went there when it opened, and for several years thereafter, when pretty much everything seemed to be in one-gallon or number ten cans. Since which time, it kind of got to be the neighborhood grocery and five-and-dime. For some reason they now have decent vegetables, at half what I'd pay at the nose-in-the-air store over by the university, so I parked there, gathered my courage, went in, and the place was wall-to-wall shoppers, all looking markedly grouchy, with screaming-meemie babies hanging half out of the carts.

I almost ran away.

I mean ... I was wearing a red bandanna, hoops, makeup, a ribbed turtleneck (I know, that's all you ever see me in, but it's a cold winter), carrying a purse ... and needing to go to the ladies room ... if anyone said, "jump," I would have broken my neck on the ceiling.

But nobody said it. Nobody even looked at me. Not from the left. Not from the right. Not from down the aisle, coming my way. Behind me, I don't seem to care about.

I was invisible. This hadn't really happened before, you see. I wove in and out, picked out two red bell peppers, two orange ones, two green ones, two yellow ones, some baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and a small brick of pepper jack.

But they didn't have good dip, which I didn't expect them to anyway.

So I checked out ... nice chat with the register 'girl' ... and headed for the next place, a kind of miniature big-box membership store that's employee owned, and wheeled my cart around awhile ...

... with the spiro-induced need pressing on my bladder ...

... and went to have a look at the door to the ladies' room.

Almost ran away. Again.

But then there were two large women coming out, either of whom could boss a logging crew and break a mirror at one hundred yards, blindfolded.

Now I'm not one to judge anybody by their looks ...

... but in my heart I thanked them for not being supermodels, and stepped in.

And everything was [flush, wash hands, check mirror] fine. As in anticlimactic.

As in what had I been worried about all that time?

So I picked up two boxes of cookies and two boxes of wheat crackers, an eyeliner, and a coffeemaker, and paid with my new credit card: cardholder Risa S. Bear. And chatted with the register 'girl.' (Young as they are, these are women. And they work SO hard. If they look like they'll put up with a kind word, give 'em one.)

Now for the tofu dip. I drove across the highway, entered the neighborhood's upscale grocery, wandered around lost, asked for directions, got the dip, got in line, paid, stepped out ...

... by now it was getting dark. There was ice on the railings of the cart return zone. Best get home.

But all my missions were accomplished. I had shopped, solo, as a housewife, for two solid hours.

For some folks, that might not be a big deal, right?

But it has been one of the best days of my life. At the end of one of the best weeks of my life.

so, as my dear friend Joy says:

"Life is good ... and I can prove it."

-- risa b

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