I’ve been awake for just over an hour, but so far, it’s Saturday and I don’t feel like building a hermit shack in the middle of the woods. Based on the last few weekends I’ve had, this is what’s called progress.
While I don’t want to question this too much, I assume it’s because I actually have shit to do today (opposed to a normal Saturday, where my house is filthy and I’m recycling the same old jeans from all week long but I have zero motivation to address either issue). Tonight is Christy’s birthday dinner, for which I am making the macaroni and cheese, which means I have to go to Trader Joe’s because they have really great cheese for reasonably cheap, which also means that I will spend more money on other stuff because it’s Trader Joe’s and I can’t just not do that, both because there’s a lot of cool things there and because West County stresses me out and I frequently spend money to cope with it. Come to think of it, that’s probably what everyone does in West County*, which explains why it’s so rich out there.
West County reminds me a lot of when I lived in Southern California. It’s a total car culture, and it’s not uncommon to see people drive across the street from one mega parking lot to the other, all the while acting out their latent rage issues as if they weren’t behind the wheel of a $40,000 machine capable of reducing an actual human person to a pulpy pile of scrap and bone. People seem to be in a big hurry to get nowhere and aren’t very courteous about it, so by the time I’ve gotten into the parking lot and found a space, I’m already operating at a peak anxiety level that is compounded by the fact that I don’t generally like going out in public to begin with.**
I will say, though, that things are different once I’m inside the store. For all their posturing while driving, the inhabitants of West County who go to Trader Joe’s are kind of polite when we’re trying to maneuver in the aisles together. I don’t know if it’s the tattoos or what, but I think I might scare them. I hear way more “I’m sorry, I’ll get out of your way”s at Trader Joe’s than I ever hear at Schnucks, and I’ve found that I talk like some kind of stoner to these people.
“Hey, no worries, man,” I tell them. “It’s cool.”
What in the balls am I even saying half the time. I don’t talk like that. “You’re okay,” maybe, but “no worries, man, it’s cool” is not a real phrase in my vocabulary. I don’t know if I’m being ultra-mollifying because I know that I seem intimidating to some people***, but I seriously want to smack myself in the mouth every time I catch myself talking like that.
Although I will probably do it today, and it doesn’t help that I’m wearing this weird hippie skirt today, either. It’s not particularly attractive, but it’s one of the few clean things I have and it’s about a million degrees out and my car has black leather upholstery. The swamp ass in this city is nothing to joke about right now. I have many worries. It is not cool.
*For anyone who doesn’t live in St. Louis (and according to my hit tracker there are a lot of you), the “county” is what we call the “suburbs.” There’s a major divide between the City and the County here, and by and large, that divide means that the County has money and the City (ahem, me and most people I hang out with) does not. See that? You came for the profanity and you left with a sociological education!
**I don’t have social anxiety disorder. I can get along fine in public, it’s just that I prefer being alone in my own house where people can’t be rude to me or others, and where it won’t seem so obvious when I chuckle at someone’s buffoonery and then text a friend about it.
***I was recently told by someone on the Internet that one of the reasons that The Val Kilmer Project doesn’t attract a lot of trolls is because people are afraid to be shitty. Apparently, every time someone says something even remotely skirting the line, I have a tendency to say something cutting right away, which I honestly don’t try to do to be mean, I’m just responding in my normal fashion. But hey, less trolls!