Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Here Comes a Regular

Yesterday, I made yet another trip to the post office. As I was getting out my payment, the clerk said, "Oh, so you're letting your hair grow out. It looks good!"
"Wow, thanks! I guess you know when you're in here a lot when the clerk starts noticing what you're doing with your hair, huh?"
"Haha, yeah!"

It was nice to be recognized, officially. While this particular clerk has always been friendly to me, I couldn't be sure if it was because she was just naturally friendly, or if she remembered me. If I can't be a regular at the cafe around the corner from our house, I'll certainly settle for being a regular at the post office.

But then I started thinking, "Oh no. What if I'm in here TOO much? Do I need to scale back? Is this looking weird, how much I'm at the post office, doing business at the counter? Why can't I just get stamps like normal people?"

However, it didn't make me feel as self-conscious as I did one morning at the drugstore a few months ago. I brought my haul up to the counter for checkout and the clerk I always see in there said something to the effect of, "Daaaamn. You're in here A LOT."

Busted. It's true. I love the drugstore, always have. When I finally got checks at age 17, my first one was written to Long's Drugs in the amount of $15, and I still have the canceled copy. I love getting new makeup, smelling the shampoo, biting and/or licking and/or inhaling all the bags of candy. There was a stretch where I was going to the one down the street from us nearly every day for one thing or another.

I tend to think I'm fairly unmemorable and average, especially as far as people in this neighborhood are concerned, and I prefer to go around unnoticed, so I thought my secret was safe. But the second she called me out, I wanted to crawl out of the store on my hands and knees. Instead, I did a nervous chuckle, and then bolted.

For weeks after she called me out, I only went in the store when it was absolutely unavoidable. If there was no way around it, I'd either try to go when I knew she wouldn't be there or with the Mr., because then I could just act like we were there for him, not me. "No, no. You want those bath salts. And you want some Jujyfruits. Or...do you want Tootsie Rolls? You can't decide. I think maybe you should just have both."

Eventually I went back to drugstore shopping full-time, but whenever I go in there and see that clerk, I feel shame. She knows about my problem.

I mean, it's one thing to be remembered as, say, the girl who always orders the blackened chicken wrap, side of black beans and rice with the salad bar and a diet Coke, but do I really need to be remembered as the girl who buys a lot of fiber supplements, reads Fitness magazine but never buys it, buys a suspicious number of the jumbo-size box of Jujyfruits and has a darn-near lifelong prescription to Zelnorm?