You know those dreams you have where you’re at some meeting at work and you’re delivering this really great speech about a work-related topic in a clever way that no one has thought about before, but then you start noticing that everyone is looking at you strangely? And then you start to stumble over your words and your eyes fly from one coworker to the next and finally down onto yourself and your naked? But then you wake up?

I went through something on the same mortification level this weekend, except for the waking up part.

I was in the grocery store on Saturday morning and everything was going normally. I collected a big basket of food items and headed to the checkout lines. It was the weekend and busy and I had to wait a pretty long time to get to the front. As the woman is scanning my groceries and putting them in bags, I reach into my satchel and find… nothing. No wallet, no keys, no phone, no credit cards.

My mind flashes back to the night before, when I cleverly placed my vital satchel items into a smaller purse before we went on a walk. “I’m so clever,” I remembered thinking to myself. “This purse is much smaller and lighter than my normal satchel, and will therefore be easier and more comfortable to carry on a walk.”

Back in line at the grocery store, I rooted around in my satchel looking for anything that might help me. Finally, among the gum wrappers and pen caps, I find my rarely-used checkbook. I think that I’m saved, until the cashier tells me she needs to see my drivers’ license (vital item located in small clever purse) or my PathMark Membership Card (item attached to vital item keychain in small clever purse).

I tell her that I’ve forgotten my wallet, that I don’t have any money, and she looks at me as if I were telling her a bald-faced lie. I ask if she can type in my phone number, but by this point the long line behind me has lost their patience. The man directly behind me utters the most horrible thing a stranger can say: “COME ON LADY!”

It’s at this point that I check to see if I’m wearing clothes. After the initial COME ON LADY other people in line start to yell. Then the cashier asks me what she’s supposed to do with my groceries and has to void all of the sales. I’m trying to explain why I’m such an idiot, I try to tell them that I’ve been to the grocery store successfully thousands of times without incident and actually I’m really good at grocery stores, but really I mostly start to tear up and babble something about my vital items.

I rush home, cry at Ben for a few minutes (who can’t help but ask where my groceries are), collect my vital satchel items, and then have to go to the grocery store again because we need food. This time I get in a different line, as if that were the problem. 

But it was really just like those anxiety dreams where for a long time after you wake up, you feel unsure of yourself and skittish and defensive. It was actually weekend-ruining. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything or answer the phone. I just wanted to barricade myself in the apartment, not buying things or running into people who might call me LADY.

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