Going out into public is never very easy for me. I suffer from acute anxiety along with my depression and most times when I go shopping and am placed into a crowd of people, I do not do very well. An ordinary shopping trip for me is to know what I am going shopping for, what store it will be at and going in, picking up what I need and checking out and straight back to the car. I seldom make conversation with passers by and eye contact is not something that I feel is a must.
I have pills for my anxiety but they have a side effect that makes me think twice about taking one before I step out of the house. They make me drowsy. Still I have to take them on a daily basis to keep me functioning at all and so I usually take two of them before taking a nap and one at bedtime. This way they help keep the anxiety under control a bit and also help me to get some sleep that does not come easy for me. the necessity of this information will become clear in a bit.
St. Pat's day was on a Saturday this year. I have a pretty well set routine for Saturdays. I get up, spend a little time with Barb and then go to the grocery store with a list that I study to the point of almost memorizing before I get out of the car and head into the store. I can then sweep through the store quickly getting what I need, head to the check out and get out of there before too much anxiety sets in. It was not any different on this St. Pat's day.
It makes me tired trying to keep the anxiety under control while shopping and so I usually come home and do a few chores, watch a ball game or a race on the television and then take two of my anxiety pills to take a nap around three o'clock. Barb had her own schedule that Saturday. She went out to get her hair cut and then came home for a bit before she went for a manicure and stuff that goes along with that. I watched a ballgame while she was out and before she got home I decided to take a couple of pills and take a nap.
Just as I had taken the pills, Barb comes back home. We had planned on going out shopping in Lee's Summit that afternoon and so when she arrived home, I decided to take her on out even though I had taken my pills.
The pills worked wonders on my anxiety that afternoon. Even though I was a little drowsy we headed out to get the special shopping done. First stop was at the Target store to get some bones for Dutch and a few other minor things. The pills slowed me down a bit and we wandered through the store, my anxiety under control and things went pretty smooth.
As we were leaving the checkout at Target I noticed a little boy about five years old standing next to the restrooms. I assumed he was waiting for his mother. He had a green shirt on with diagonal stripes criss crossing across it so it had the effect that his was wrapped in police tape. The stripes said "Don't Pinch Me" all up and down the front of his shirt. As we were leaving I looked at him very seriously and asked what his shirt said. He pointed at the word "pinch" everywhere it was on his shirt and read it. "Pinch, pinch pinch pinch pinch." he said proud that he could read it. I looked at him and without hesitating asked him if that meant he wanted me to pinch him.
"NO!", he exclaimed with a huge smile on his face. "I'm wearing green so you can't pinch me!"
OHHHh I said with understanding. I told him to have a good day and he told me good-bye. That contact with another human being out shopping is very rare for me but it is fun. I love to tease little kids and he seemed to enjoy being teased.
I went out to get the car to pick Barb up so she wouldn't have to walk and on my way to the car crossed paths with a lady with a very old CUBS shirt on. I pointed at her and yelled "CUBS" and then gave her a thumbs up. She smiled and then I told her "This is the year!!" and she stopped and looked at me incredulously and said "REALLY?" with a tone that said what planet did you just come from? She shook her head and walked on past me into the store.
The next stop was at the jewelry store. I had promised to replace a necklace of Barb's for Valentine's day but had been so very busy had not found the time to accomplish it. We walked in and found ourselves to be the only customers. I was wearing my Alabama National Champions t-shirt and my mizzou ball cap. A fine looking young man that was obviously barely twenty years old if that came up to help us. He looked at me a little strange and then said, the clash of the crimson and the black and gold was throwing him off. I simply said "SEC" and he nodded in recognition. Then I explained to him in great detail how I had family in Alabama and my sister had graduated from there. Then to explain the hat, I stated very clearly that even though Mizzou had lost in the first round of the NCAA tourney, I was still proud enough of them to wear that hat. He then started talking about the Duke loss that same evening and we discussed it a little.
Finally he got around to asking us how he could help us and we told him we were looking for a chain for Barb's pendent. As we walked over to the display I asked him if he were going to school and he answered that he was going to William Jewell but was looking to transfer to another school next year. He was going to go into the psychology field and also had an interest in playing baseball. I looked him over. He wasn't a big kid, definitely a second baseman or a shortstop. So I asked him if he played second. Turns out he played second, short and a little third. They had tried him at pitching but his arm wasn't strong enough. When he said that I nodded and said, so second base?. He kind of shyly answered, yeah, second base for the most part.
We discussed different universities around the area that he was thinking of. He said he would love to go to Avila as he thought he could make their ball team but it was within walking distance of home which was WAY to close for him to feel comfortable. He wanted to get away for college. We discussed some other institutions and evaluated their baseball programs and tuition as well as proximity to where his mom lived. He ended up talking one of the other sales people to clean Barb's pendent and wrap up the necklace while we continued to talk baseball. We must have been in there a good forty minutes or so talking to this kid about his future. His name was Drew by the way and was just finishing his sophomore year.
After leaving Drew we headed for home. I had not talked that much in public in a very long time but it was fun. I enjoyed it. It is something I should do more often.
So we didn't celebrate St. Pat's day partly because Barb is solid German (Kissinger is he maiden name) and I have no inclination to take part in things that rely on conformity to celebrate. But it was a good afternoon.
It wore me out though. The combination of the pills making me drowsy and the effort of talking to people that I had never seen before made me tired. When we got home I went to bed and thought about Drew and that little kid not wanting to be pinched and then just before I fell asleep I remember thinking, "Could this be the year for the Cubs? .... nah..... "