Monday, June 23, 2008

What Does Not Kill Me--Stan The Man, The Final Chapter

For the love of God! How much can one woman be expected to endure? My hat was all out of rabbits. "Uncle." Ratchet looked confused. "Uncle" I repeated.

Hot tears of frustration filled my eyes and threatened to splatter all over the Wal-Mart courtesy desk. This was going to get ugly fast. I opened my purse for a tissue (which I never have when I need) or a gun (which I do not own, or condone the use of). I had to have one or the other ready to control the torrent of tears and snot that was about to ensue. In the absence of tissues, I grabbed the smallest, least-important looking piece of paper I could find. It was a check. I had never used a check as a substitute for a Kleenex before, but under the circumstances, it was the best I could do.

“Uncle!” I repeated for the third time. “I said Uncle, I give up! Call security, or the police, or the orderlies with their straight jackets. The card is expired! What do you want me to do?”

Ratchet hesitated, and then said slowly, as if speaking to a child or a deranged house cat. “Ma’am, we accept checks.”

“Whaaaa?…Of course you do. What was that total again?”

I was holding the check that I had started to write at ABC Tire and Battery the night before. The check I signed before I remembered that if I used my American Express Card, I would get 500 reward points toward the flat screen TV I am too cheap to buy. I finished filling out the check and presented it to Nurse Ratchet.

“I just need to see your Drivers License,” Ratchet said.

I raised one eyebrow like a deranged house cat, and spoke slowly as if I was a child. “The number is printed on the front of the check.”
Ratchet did not argue. She handed over the envelope and Hilda's keys. I skipped to the parking lot.

My elation at being out of Wal-Mart hell only lasted about three blocks. It would have ended sooner had 1cc of adrenaline not been mainlined directly to my heart by my panic-stricken brain. When the happy mist of relief dissipated, it was replaced with outrage.

Would Stan the Man ever have screamed at a businessman from across the parking lot? If I had been a man at Wal-Mart, even a man behaving like an ass, would they have replaced my tire instead of repairing it without at least telling me before they did it? No, I do not think they would have. I mean that.

The feeling of being stranded without any options, the one that punches you in the stomach like the mean girl in the bathroom, that is the feeling of helplessness and that is a horrible feeling. When there are no more rabbits? That is what hopeless must be. That feeling is the same feeling that many women in many places feel every single day. They feel it for reasons that are far more serious than forgetting a wallet.

I am able to get up every morning and get in my over priced car wearing my over priced sunglasses and drive to my over rated job because I had someone (many someones) in my life that told me I was a little bit smarter, and a little bit better,and a little bit cuter. Than everyone else? No, than I thought I was.

Not every little girl hears that. No little girl can hear it enough. The result may not have been exactly what all those someones in my life intended, but in the end, it was empowerment. I was given a spark of self-confidence that was fanned into a flame (Some would argue it was a spark that ignited a wildfire sucking up all the oxygen in its path).

I drove straight home to get my wallet and my cell phone charger. My first call? The Wal-Mart district office. Why? Because I couldn't not. Right or wrong, I'm saying it out loud. Even if "Sam" doesn't want to know, I still have to say it.

Did I learn anything from this? Yes.I did. It taught me that from now on. Every chance I get. Every little girl I know. I will tell them. I will whisper so only they can hear,“You are smart," "You are powerful," or “You are beautiful." Just in case.

You didn’t think I was going to say it taught me to be a nicer person did you?
I didn’t think so.


karey m. said...

why do i have tears in my eyes?

maybe because i'm hoping that my girlies will run across you someday...

this is not how i was thinking the story would end. and you KNOW i was thinking this made you a nicer person. but i needn't think that at all.

i just know it.

i loved this mini-series so much. so much.

Anonymous said...

fantastic. i printed this out and sent it to some of my friends to read. just fantastic.

Tobi said...

Karey- My inclination is to fill this comment box with X’s and O’s and!!! and all things sweet and sappy because that is just the way your feedback makes me want to behave, but that would be nice wouldn’t it?
THANK YOU!!! XXOO   $$!!## (sorry i can’t help it)

Anon- THANK YOU TOO!!!@@##**!! 

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