Last week my husband and I drove to another state to drop our daughter off at college. About halfway through the trip, we stopped at one of those gas station/convenience stores to use the bathroom.
This is how law abiding I am: the sign inside the store said, ‘restroom for customers only’ and because we hadn’t filled up with gas (My husband has his set gas stops and for some OCD-ish reason that I don’t understand, didn’t want to get gas there.) I decided I would buy something at the store. I walked around the store, two dollars in my hand, looking for something I wanted to purchase.
Here’s how a normal person’s brain would work during this transaction:
Find item I like.
Walk to the counter.
My brain never seems to work that way.
Here was my brain: Candy bars are way too expensive. And they’re not good for you anyway. I’ll find something better. Oh, Oreos. I love Oreos. Six for .79? I wonder how many are in a regular package? No, Oreos aren’t healthy. I’ll go for the Fig Newtons. Fig Newtons taste like childhood. (Insert childhood memories which I will spare you from.)
As I pick up the Fig Newtons, I turn and see, mixed in with the Tylenol and Tums, a stack of pregnancy tests.
Who in the world buys a pregnancy test at a gas station in the middle of nowhere? I mean, if you’re doing things on your car trip that require you to buy a pregnancy test, maybe you need to pay more attention to the road. Just saying.
Then I walked toward the counter wondering if it would be tacky to take a picture of the shelf, and thinking of things I could say if I posted the picture on Facebook.
And I walked right out of the store without paying for my Fig Newtons.
A few steps out of the store, I looked down at my hands, saw my money, and realized what I had done.
To say that I was horrified, is not an exaggeration. I rushed back into the store, apologized, and paid.
And then my writer’s brain spent the next hour imagining all sorts of horrible things that could have happened if I’d totally spaced out and gotten in my car with stolen contraband Fig Newtons.
None of it was pretty.
Some of it may, however, end up in a future novel.
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The real question is… did you ever get to use the bathroom?
Yes. And that was the important thing.