C’mon, you know you’ve done it. You wake up with PMS and figure you’ll make an emergency run to the grocery store for chocolate, even though you look like hell — but who cares, you never see anyone there who knows you? And you meet your minister, your fifth grade teacher, the guy you’re secretly in love with and you’ve dreamed about for years, and a TV news anchor there to report on overweight American adults and for some reason, he films you, clutching your one-pound Hershey bar and snarling.
Not that this has ever happened to me.
Not long ago, the Husband and I went to Costco to get a corporate card. We spend a lot of money there (“Can you help us carry that twenty-gallon jar of dill pickles out to the car? Put it right next to the seventy-five roll package of toilet paper.”) and figured the corporate card, which refunds some tiny part of your purchases, would pay for itself. The trick is, I’m the corporate entity and Husband wanted me there in case they questioned it. And he assured me my whole job would be to stand there while he filled out the form and coughed up the fee.
Now let me stop for a minute and point out that being an author provides a fair amount of anonymity. People sometimes know your name (“I think my mom has read you.”), but they never know your face. So I went schlepping into Costco with no cosmetics and, well, I’d been working in the yard so I hadn’t had a shower and I was wearing this grubby shirt and jeans with dirt on the knees and a gimme hat to cover my weird hair.
Are you getting the idea?
So Husband fills out the form and the girl who’s putting the information into the computer says, “Christina Dodd? I’ve read Christina Dodd.” She looks at me and says, “Are you Christina Dodd?”
My first thought is to duck below the counter, sit on the floor and hug my knees. But I’m an adult. I should act like an adult. My mom said so.
So I said, “Yes, I’m Christina Dodd.” That started quite a kerfuffle. The girl introduced me to everyone behind the desk, and they all acted delighted and said stuff like, “Do we have any of your books here?” (They actually did, but I didn’t realize it at the time.) I signed autographs. And I knew as soon as these people had a minute away from the service desk, they would race to my website, look at my photo and say, “Hey, that woman wasn’t Christina Dodd. Christina Dodd wears make-up and has hair that doesn’t stick straight out around her ears.”
While I was at Costco, I did the only thing I could do — I acted with dignity and grace. In the car, I did what any woman would do — I blamed my husband. (“Stand there while you fill out the form because NOBODY WILL KNOW?! Are you CRAZY?! What color is the sky IN YOUR WORLD?!”)
Stop laughing. I know there has been a lovely moment when you got caught looking less like your usual gracious self and more like your psycho twin sister. Did you chat and pretend nothing was wrong? Did you apologize for the way you looked? Or did you move away, never to return?
Let’s chat while I pack all my books and call the moving van.
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