I started a new job yesterday. The people are wonderful, but it was a hard day.
First days usually are.
I wanted to say and do all the right things, but it just didn’t work out that way. Sometimes self got in the way and sometimes my mind was just plain blank. And then I felt bad.
I couldn’t understand the baby. I thought she was saying “Go away!” when I put her to bed, so I went. It turns out she was saying “Do, Re.” which meant she wanted me to sing another song.
I tried to iron some shirts, but the harder I pressed the iron against them, the lower the starboard end of the ironing board tipped towards the floor. To this day, I’m not certain how to get it to latch.
I tried to make dinner, but it took me 30 minutes to think of one last place where the potatos might be found.
When I did make the soup, it looked like a watery mess. And when I walked out the door to go home, I realized that I hadn’t even tasted it.
Those poor people.
I went to a Bible Study to learn about proper financial management, and instead managed to disrupt everyone within 3 rows of me.
I couldn’t help it that the teacher kept saying, “It doesn’t matter whose money the pocket is in….” Somehow it just struck my funny bone. I can’t even type it without laughing, which is probably a significant sign of my mental stability, or lack thereof. What really got me, though, was when a very diligent attempt at laughter suffocation turned into a snort-ish choke, and my sister had to leave the room before she lost her dignity as well.
I did apologise to the teacher afterwards. He understands the fragility of women’s emotions. I’m very grateful for that.
Today I got gas.
Yep, an entire $5.00 worth.
I was very embarassed to hand the clerk a crumpled bill and say, “Put this on pump #2, please.” I tried to say it with a dignified air, but I really think the effort was lost because the clerk was distracted and embarrassed on levels beyond his present surroundings, and hardly saw me. How nice of him.
I guess something from budgeting class stuck, because this afternoon I was determined to buy all of my Wal-Mart groceries with only the sack of change I’d been collecting.
One thing that I think is incredibly cool about my local Wal-mart is the coin changer slot in the self checkout line. It looks like a mini version of the circular tray you’d see on a Coinstar machine, only there is no $0.09 charge per dollar. I think of my pennies and nickels as ‘non-money’ (how irresponsible, I know), so whenever I buy groceries with only this small change, I subconsciously think, “Woohoo! I’m practically getting this stuff for FREE!”
I trotted to the self checkout with full confidence, and scanned a bottle of Coke first. I had a coupon to get it free, but the machine wouldn’t accept it. I guess the dear clerk knew I wouldn’t want the Coke unless it was free, so she finally came over and helped me out after I’d scanned the bar code multiple times.
Next, I started shoving fistfuls of pennies into the coin slot, but they all continued to fall right back out into the change dish. The helpful clerk noticed my distress, and showed me how to feed the pennies in one by one. I managed a feeble laugh, and thought, “Well… maybe this isn’t so much like a Coinstar experience, after all.”
About five minutes into the one-penny-at-a-time process, two college students ambled up, and scrutinized my robot-like routine as if it was a self-help column. “See, this is what I was telling you about!”, the girl squealed.
The young man nodded to the affirmative, but soon seemed uncomfortable and wanted to talk to the clerk.
Finally, many minutes later, the screen read: Amount Due: 0.00. I staggered out of the store with my groceries, trying to avoid eye contact with any of my rather interested fellow-customers, who were doubtless quite tired of the monotonous clanking and groaning of my Coinstar-wannabe and quite possibly also wondering why I wasn’t on welfare.
When I stopped by a little store right down the road from my house on my way home, the clerk eyed me with an unmistakable mix of curiosity and concern. I think she was remembering the last time I came in, and my scandalous attire, and the scandalous behavior of my dog in the parking lot.
But today I smiled sweetly at her, and wryly reassured her in my mind, “Don’t worry. I won’t be performing any preposterous stunts today. I know my pride needs regular trimming, but I think the events of the past 48 hours have filled my quota quite sufficiently.
Sufficiently for THIS week, at least….”