Warning: This post will separate the men from the boys, the friends from the foes. . .if you’re still my friend after some of my confessions on here, kudos. I love you. All three of you.
I am currently stranded in Columbia, SC.
My flight out of Columbia was cancelled at the last minute on Thursday, and this is, according to the ticket agent, “Exodus Weekend,” with the result that I was bumped a full 48 hours to a flight on Saturday.
Though I am so looking forward to being in my beloved Turkey, I’m actually kind of grateful for the brief break on this side of the ocean. The last two weeks, and the last 72 hours in particular, of my life have been. . .completely nuts, and as I left my room today, I could only hope that if any natural disaster struck our house in my absence, it would be a tornado, for in that case, I would probably not even notice any damage upon my return.
I finally finished exams on Wednesday, and promptly went into frenzied packing mode. . .only my post-semester packing mode starts with at least 15 hours of thought detox, wherein I sit and stare creepily ahead of me. Sometimes I blink, but that’s only when the semester has been less than 9 credits.
So technically, it wasn’t until Thursday at about 2:34 AM that I began packing for real. And by that time, the hours were looking tight, indeed. I ended up not being able to fit everything I needed to into my suitcases (I’m taking some stuff back for people there), so I had to make an emergency trip to the post office to send said items to my father, who will bring them at a later date.
I was a completely disgusting excuse for a human being at that point, so I decided, for the sake of my whimpering dignity, to at least hop in the shower and attempt to look relatively put together before venturing out to the post office. I mean, I know it’s just the post office, but when you’re about to mingle with the very people from whom the term “going postal” was coined, it’s best to look as though you don’t belong with them.
Because I only had a few minutes to shower, I skipped washing my hair and opted instead for dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is essentially a psych-out in a bottle. It doesn’t do a whole lot to really take care of the nasty, but at least you feel better about life after having used it. I’m a blonde, so I can get away with using baby powder as DS. It works well enough, though telling your friends you’ll be there “as soon as I powder my hair” is apt to cause those within hearing distance to attempt some awkward jokes about wigs in 17th century France. No good has ever come from attempting jokes about 17th century French wigs. I didn’t bother reapplying my makeup, because I had never removed it from two days before, and it still looked, if not good, at least present and accounted for.
I arrived at the post office in record time, and spent the next several minutes wrestling the package into submission. I have never taken a package wrestling class, but were one to be offered, I would be the first to sign up. I desperately need to figure out how one is supposed to simultaneously hold the box flaps in place, tape them, and bite the tape off in one smooth move. I usually end up with tape tracings streaking over my eyebrows and dangling from my bottom lip. Sticky stuff and I are in the midst of a decades-long feud.
I finally manged to get my package taped into a relatively secure wad and headed to the counter to send it off. A clerk hurried from the back when he saw me coming and waved me into line.
I figured this would be a two to three minute exchange, and forced my semester-worn, wooden lips into a smile.
But the clerk wasn’t buying my weary presentation. He was cheerful. More than cheerful, he was friendly. More than friendly, he was. . .was he coming onto me?
I grew up with guys following me down the street asking me to marry them (my blonde hair screamed “green card”); this desensitized me to normal male/female interactions, so that today the only hints I am able to pick up from guys are ones that are equally as obvious.
And I was picking up a similarly blatant vibe from this dude. Judging from his body language, boyfriend was digging my chilies in as major way. Seriously, my own mother is less excited about interacting me when I come home for Christmas break. He looked like the Cheshire cat.
This was an unexpected twist. Here’s the thing, my friends. I have not a modicum of body dysmorphia. I know that when I am showered, rested, laundered, moussed, made-up, and matching, I can hit the adjective “cute” on the nose. I also know that at that moment, I was looking like the love child of Marilyn Manson and Cruella de Vil. Between smeared makeup, mismatched clothing, and the fact that at the end of the semester I start to live on French fries and end up appearing as inflated as if someone had yanked a ripcord from my ear, I was looking like something the cat would never, ever dare to touch. I’m not distressed by this; on the contrary, I find it amusing that I can go from looking like a sweet Georgia peach (or whatever Northern/Turkish equivalent there is) to a soulless reprobate without passing Go or collecting $200.
There was no way homeboy was hitting on me.
And yet. . .there was something weird going on. He was just so very happy to be helping me. I mean, beaming from ear to ear.
I finished the interaction more bemused than flattered, and chalked his reaction up to the fact that he spends most of his days elbow deep in packages. While I personally would choose to stare at packages over looking at my semester-ravaged face any day, perhaps the poor kid just needed some variety.
I grabbed my receipt from him and headed home, pondering the events of the last few moments. It was just odd. . .something about the whole interaction had given me feelings I had never before experienced and I wasn’t quite able to identify.
Maybe it was the workings of fate.
Just then I glanced in my rearview mirror, which was terribly askew, giving me a great shot of my face.
Oh. . .my. . .word.
It all made sense.
Fate had nothing to do with it.
Completely idiocy did.
I had not-at-all-subtle streaks of baby powder running through my hair. Down my temples. Around my shoulders. I had forgotten to brush out my dry-poo. I looked as though I had dipped my head in a vat of dandruff.
I also looked exactly like the type of person at whom I would struggle not to laugh, were I helping her in the post office. Homeboy was not digging my chilies. He was mocking them. I can’t fault him for it–I would have laughed, too.
In fact, I did laugh–right before I Googled and committed to memory the directions to a different post office.
I have got to stop humiliating myself with such brazen persistence–there are only so many public places a girl can avoid before people start to ask questions.