Sunday, July 14, 2013

That Time I Almost Died of Sticker Shock

I went to HEB on my way to the Frio, and everything started out normal and boring.  Or, as normal as can be when you realize you've parked next to this:

Plant food = God's "chemo"

So anyway, I walked into the store to look into getting what I needed for my trip.  I'd been in this HEB before, but only ever with a friend who is one of those list people and had a plan for the whole week written neatly on a piece of paper.  I just knew I was going to starve if I didn't grab a couple of kind of thought out items.

I was making it through quite nicely, when I started to feel an itch on the back of my leg.  At first I thought it was just the new capri pants I was wearing.  It's just a weird seam thing, right?  As I turned into the next aisle, the itch was back, and I realized it wasn't just an itch.  It was a scraping, scratching feeling going across my thigh.  Moving.  It was a living itch.  I stopped in my tracks, trying to think of what to do.  Surely it was nothing.  It's always nothing, isn't it?

But then my brain remembered Grandma's story about the time she put on a dress as a little girl, and there were wasps in the "bosom" of it, which turned out to be pretty awful but then later doubled as a good tactic for keeping grandkids (or at least me) terrified and awake.  And then I thought about how we had to check all of our shoes and things left on the floor when we lived in Arizona because we had scorpions and other disgusting things in our house all the time.  My dad even tried to describe scorpions to my grandparents when they came for their first visit, saying it was some little armored thing that had a big stinger tail on it and lobster claws.  As we all stood around the kitchen listening to him describe it, Grandma suddenly said, "Uh, like that?"  And sure enough, one had scampered across the kitchen floor to stare at us as if to say, "What up, yo?"  until Grandma just reached out with her little vinyl flat and crunched it to pieces on the linoleum.

Grandma, as portrayed by Harry Hamlin

So now I was sure.  This wasn't just an itch, it was a poisonous creature.  Maybe it was a black widow, and I was going to die before I could even get to my car.  I mean, I was in the middle of the grocery store, and it wasn't like I could just reach into my pants and get the little beast out of there.  By now I had started sweating and trying to keep calm, thinking it would keep me alive longer if the horrid creature in my pants couldn't sense my ever rising panic.  What did I need again?  Oh, right.  Milk.  I started promising God and myself that I'd write lists from now on if I could just live through this experience.

The scratching was getting more insistent.  Forget snacks and whatever else I had planned for the rest of the week; I needed to get to the safety of my vehicle.  So, I went to the check out and tried to look as non-panicky as I could while asking for a bag of ice, but that probably just translated in an over-large, awkward smile as I had sweat rolling down my face.  I felt like someone in a hostage situation who has to secretly convey their plight to be rescued, but how do you do that when the terrorist is in your own pants?

I run to my car awkwardly, trying to not move my leg even though legs are required for things like running, and then leaving my groceries and ice in the backseat for a minute, because, well, getting this thing out of my pants is more pressing.  I have tinted windows on my car, but it's not like I drive a limo, so I have to do that fun contortion of trying to look like my arm isn't down my pants even though it's totally down my pants.  When I grab onto the first thing that isn't made of me or capri pant material, I grip it tightly enough to be sure it's dead on the way out, but then I realize that it's much too small to be a black widow.  What if it's a species undiscovered by science?  It would be just my luck to find something as yet unknown to science, but then die before I can report it, or, perhaps worse, have destroyed it completely.  Still, being cautious, I get the menacing little harbinger of death out of my pants and then throw it onto the passenger seat, in case it has the cockroach-like ability to not be dead even when it's dead.

Except, it's not dead.  It's not even alive.  It's a piece of paper.  I un-crumpled the little bits of stickiness.  Who knows?  Maybe the spider got away and left me a message that would make sense of the last 15 minutes of my life.  Instead, I find this.

Well, that was unexpected.

So, I guess that was somewhat of a let down, all things considered.

No comments:

Post a Comment