A few nights ago, I got the rare opportunity to leave the house alone. My destination? A Los Angeles nightclub? Nope. Trader Joe’s. I’m obviously a huge fan of this place, but my normal visit usually involves a stroller and a kid who may or may not be on the verge of a meltdown. I go so frequently that it’s not some fabulous treat, except that I wasn’t carrying a baby, pushing a stroller, or opening a box of crackers to appease my toddler before I got to the register. It felt like I was at a party, or a bar, or just like … normal. Like “before kids” normal. I remember the first time I went out by myself after I had the Shnook. It was surreal. I went to the mall to return something. I remember feeling almost dizzy, and totally agoraphobic. I’ve since become more comfortable with leaving the house, even if it’s still pretty infrequent. Now when I go out, I like to play a little game with myself. It’s called: “Nobody knows I have a baby.”
A bit self-involved, I’ll admit, but considering I spend all day talking to a little squirmy thing who talks back in a language I can’t fully understand, I feel I deserve this 20 minutes of selfishness and, I’ll admit, a tad weird behavior. Never mind the spit-up on my sweatpants, or that I’m wearing sweatpants.
While I was putting away my cart, a handsome TJ employee approached me and asked if I needed help. I sheepishly agreed when I realized I didn’t have three hands. I let him carry a bag and a pumpkin. The only thing I could think to talk about while we walked to the car was was how thrilled I was that I found a good pumpkin. The pumpkin excitement went on just a wee bit long for this probably twenty-two-year-old-fresh-out-of-college dude. By the time we closed my trunk I was pretty sure he was happy to return to his cart collecting duties. I guess my flirting skills are a little rusty.