Friday, December 10, 2010

A Day in the Life

Yesterday was an errand day, one I spent alone. Here's the first half of my day.

I woke before the alarm went off at 6 a.m., having had yet another night of vivid and disturbing dreams. My robe beckoned, thanks to the chill from below-freezing temperatures, and I grabbed it from the chair as I stumbled into my office to turn on the computer and then shuffled into the kitchen to heat water for tea. I kissed my husband as he sat at the table reading the paper and then rubbed his back and smooched the top of his head. He would be off to work soon.

Back in my office, I sat down at the computer and checked email, wrote a Thursday Thirteen for this blog, rose and returned to the kitchen to fix my tea and kiss the husband goodbye, and then back to the computer to read some news. By 7:30 a.m. I was slipping on my sneakers for 50 minutes of walking on the treadmill while watching the first  episode of season two of Star Trek: Voyager, wherein Captain Janeway discovers what really happened to Amelia Earhart.

After showering and dressing (sweatshirt with snowmen on it), I fixed myself an egg, peeled a banana, and settled down to eat with the newspaper in front of me. Bad news everywhere, what with that poor child abducted and her mother killed and government stupidity running rampant everywhere you look. I was grateful for the comics.

Time slipped away and I had to leave for a visit with my hairdresser. As I drove into Roanoke I listened to a book on tape (Garrison Keillor). Absolutely nothing happened between my house and the hair stylist, but when I arrived at my hairdresser's I saw an older woman standing forlornly in the parking lot beside an older vehicle. I glanced at her as I headed inside and she announced to me that her car wouldn't start and that someone was looking for somebody to help her. I thought of the jumper cables in my car but did not mention them. I did, however, step inside to see how long it would be before it was my turn in the seat and had every intention of going back outside to offer assistance if I wouldn't keep anyone waiting. However, I learned inside that the man in the shop next door was already moving his car to assist the woman and so my jumper cables were not required.

I stood at the window waiting for my turn in the beauty chair and watched the man, who could not figure out how to raise the hood on his vehicle for quite some time. One of the hairdressers finally showed him how to do that and I wondered how he planned to jump start a car when he couldn't raise the hood of his own car. However, he did manage to transfer the energy and the older vehicle came to life, as evidenced by the the stuff oozing from the car's tailpipe.

Two older women, their white hair pleasantly coiffed, were leaving their respective chairs to pay their bills. One of the older ladies made a phone call so that someone could come after her; the other had on a sweatshirt with the word Botetourt on it, and I admired that because you do not see things with the county's name on it very often.

My beautician, whose name is Rhonda, beckoned me over and she collared me with a cloak. I removed my glasses and earrings and she hustled me to the shampoo chair, where she proceeded to wet down the hair I'd already washed and did not dry (but which had, by this time, dried on its own).

Once in the chair we chatted about my recent second honeymoon in Greensboro and she asked if I liked the new outlet mall in Mebane, NC, to which I replied that the stores were great but the parking was abysmal, forcing us to walk almost a mile to return to the stores after lunch.

Suddenly one of the hairdressers said, "She's getting in the wrong car" and she headed for the door as the first older lady began climbing into the passenger seat of the vehicle of a strange man. She realized her mistake and was out the door before the hairdresser could rescue her. The older lady came back in the shop, somewhat sheepish, and she said the man laughed and offered to take her home, but of course she declined.

All I could think of was how gray my hair is now and how I do not want to be an old lady getting in the wrong vehicle and possibly being kidnapped and left for dead on the side of the road when they found out I had no diamond earrings and didn't carry cash.

Rhonda finished her artwork and, after blowing me dry, turned me around to show me my shortened doo. My hair has no body in this low humidity that the cold front has brought with it and so my bangs hung rather limply about my face. But that was not Rhonda's fault so I tipped her, declined the offer of one of their business planners, and left.

Back in the car, I checked my watch and wondered if I had enough time to run two errands before my 1 p.m. appointment. Deciding that I did, I headed to Books-A-Million. In the store, I wandered the aisles looking for a book for a friend (who reads my blog so I won't go into detail here) but was unsuccessful in my search. I will have to check Amazon, I thought as I headed to the magazine rack. Then I wandered through the children's items as I still needed to buy something for my niece. As I looked at various books, puzzles, and activity sets, I realized I had no idea what the child does with herself or if she even needs.

I have become the crazy old aunt who send presents that are not right and quickly discarded, I thought, recalling the time my grandmother in California sent me a big set of hot curlers, a most unwelcome present for a girl who spent as little time as possible on her looks (though you wouldn't know that from today's events, would you). I decided then and there to call my sister-in-law for an update on the child's likes and dislikes in hopes of picking out a better present.

At the cash register, the clerk asked me if I had a club card and I replied in the negative. "I do have a credit card, and that is what counts," I said brightly. He snickered and I felt old. I picked up my packages and left, thinking all the while this was the second time I'd been in that store and been annoyed by the checkout person in as many months.

In the car, I called my sister-in-law and left her a message. Then I turned the car toward Walmart.

During the long drive to Bonsack, I half listened to the book on Lake Woebegone while fretting about going to spend money at a place I despise but can afford. I needed dry goods and toiletries, all of which were cheapest there. Husband needed Dr. Peppers in vast quantities (he sucks that stuff down like water) and I refused to pay $1.68 for it when I could get it for $1 at the store from hell. But every time I head toward Wally World I perceive a slow burning sensation in my chest.

In the box store, I wandered through the drugs and toiletries, picking up the things I needed. I always check the aisle with the Oil of Olay even though I don't use it anymore because the Oil of Olay website said the company would be bringing back the formula I used to use (but that was a year ago). In that aisle, a very old woman with multiple wrinkles was placing a bottle of Oil of Olay Regenerist in her cart. In my mind, I shook my head and told her to save her money, for her face was far too gone for any cream to save it. Of course I did not say that and then I wondered how I could be so mean  as to even think it, but there you go.

Next I meandered over to the Christmas decorations in search of tissue paper for my boxes that needed wrapping and I looked in awe at the multitude of ways one might decorate for the holidays, what with blue balls for tree trimming and gift tags and paper and bows and ribbons and garland, and all of it stamped Made in China.

From there I ventured into clothing where I briefly looked at scarves. Lately it has been brought to my attention that perhaps I would feel warmer if I kept something about my neck, but most of my scarves are long and burdensome and so I thought something shorter might work. However, everything I picked up was longer than I am tall and so I left the items on the hangers and headed for the grocery aisles.

I gathered up my Dr. Pepper and then went in search of gallon jugs of distilled water for the humidifier. To my dismay, the store was completely out of distilled water and I imagined a small army of folks wandering in and out of that aisle, desperate to find something to put in their humidifiers so that their noses did not bleed from the double whammy of low humidity and furnace heat. And I was glad that I had enough water to get me through the weekend, though it meant another trip to the store early the following week.

At the checkout, I maneuvered my cart into the shortest line. The woman in front of me had a small girl and a baby with her. The baby had nothing on his little feet but upon inspection I noticed a hat and a blanket beside the baby carry so that was okay as it was warm in the store. The woman was checking out a massive amount of items and the clerk was nearly finished when she asked if they would allow her to pay if she gave them her card number but not her credit card. She had forgotten the card but had the number memorized, she explained.

However, this would not work and I watched in dismay, knowing I would now need to move to another line although it never works when I change lines, I always end up being further behind than I would have been. But move I did, and I muttered something to myself about people having no common sense; how could you go to a store to spend hundreds of dollars and not have the money with you to pay for it, and then I began thinking of my mother and how she always told me I had no common sense, and how this always made me feel bad for she said it like it was a bad thing. I had plenty of book sense she said but no common sense and I remember trying to figure out how one acquired common sense but apparently it was something you were born with and I missed out when they were handing out that particular asset on my way down to earth to be born.

And so I stood there wondering if all of my problems in life could be boiled down to this one missing item, this lack of common sense, and then it was my turn at the check out and just then it was time for the clerks to switch out, and so I had to wait even longer, and I began to fear I would be late for my 1 p.m. appointment because I had been in the checkout lane for so long even though I had allowed 20 minutes simply for getting out of the store.

But I was not late, and my appointment was a massage, and gratefully I flung my naked self upon the table and for an hour willed my brain to stop its incessant chatter while the greatest massage person in the world worked on my back and neck and tried to make me feel better. All the while soothing music lulled me and the oils oozed and I tried a little controlled breathing to keep the thoughts at bay, particularly when I felt ideas about career and jobs and how to make money come creeping in like some kind of spider on steroids. I slapped those back and took a deep breath and focused on the feeling of my muscles loosening and all was right with the world.


  1. You could write a book just about all of the goings on in your head.

    I had my hair done yesterday. Not totally pleased with it... did not have a massage though. Perhaps if I had I would have forgotten about the results of my hair appt.


  2. I love your thoughts as you go through WM! They sound similar to the things that go thru my head when I head into that less than favorite store that I still go into anyway.

    The massage sounds wonderful. Maybe I better try that method of slapping away spiders!


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