Then I decided to do a bit of work for Babble at this coffee shop near the Y and realized I'd have to order something so I wouldn't appear to be an internet freeloading asshole and for some reason, instead of simply ordering a small coffee I panicked at the last second and ordered ANOTHER egg, bagel type sandwich which, of course, I polished off with no problem even though hunger had long since left the building.
The ordering mishap wasn't even my first panic of the morning either. I had panicked five minutes before that when attempting to parallel park in front of the coffee shop while some coffee customers stood outside smoking and watching with what I imagined to be great amusement. I gave up the parking attempt (Parallel parking is a mindfuck of epic proportions for me. It's all mathematical angles and carefulness - two things at which I have never excelled) and found a stall farther down the road. This is the kind of nutcase I am. I imagine everyone is watching me, evaluating my moves, my choices, when in reality nobody gives a shit, they've got their own stuff going on.
I've been thinking a lot lately, who knows why, about the weird stuff we each do, weird little rituals that we probably do without thought because we've done them for so long that the weirdness no longer occurs to us. Here's one of mine: for nearly twenty years now I have been riding the shopping cart (Kind of like I'm riding a scooter: one leg on the bottom of the cart and one leg pumping the ground for speed) every time I leave the grocery store. Some people are compelled to wash their hands a hundred times a day or turn lights on and off or maybe they have to touch the ceiling of the car every time they drive across train tracks (I had a friend in high school who did that) but I must ride the shopping cart like a scooter immediately upon exiting the store.
It started when I was 16 or 17 and had moved out of my mom's house for the first time. It was, like, my first solo shopping trip and I felt all fancy and free after paying for my own groceries so as I wheeled the cart laden with my very own food out of the store I picked up the pace a little, pumping the ground like I was riding a skateboard and then hopped up on the cart with both feet and steered it to my car in celebration of freedom and buying my own groceries, I guess.
I did it again the next time I went shopping and again and again and again. It became a thing. A thing I MUST do or else I really don't know if I could load my groceries in the car and drive away. Seriously. Sometimes I'll be feeling a little under the weather, literally, like, maybe it's raining or something and I just don't feel like hopping up on the cart and riding it to my car but I do it anyway. And sometimes, if it's just a few half-hearted pumps of my foot it doesn't feel good enough and I have to do it again to get it right. Serge knows to abdicate cart pushing as we exit the store so that I can execute my maneuver. Sometimes I'll just grab the cart for a few seconds and do a few quick pumps with my foot and give the cart back, more of a nod to the fact that I MUST do this thing as opposed to it being something I actually enjoy. But most of the time doing this thing, this shopping cart thing, offers me some relief or something. It's hard to describe but it's almost like burping. It's not a major deal but once you do it you feel a little better, you know?
Things got a little dicey in the latter months of both pregnancies and still, I always managed to ride the cart for a couple steps, at least. I've had to do it with Henry strapped in the Bjorn and Violet riding in the cart or with Henry in his car seat in the cart and Violet riding in the basket and groceries overflowing everywhere and yet it MUST BE DONE. This is a thing I do. I don't know why. I just do it. I figure I'll be 90 and riding my shopping cart to my car unless there are, like, flying shopping carts or electronic shopping carts at that point and then I don't know what I'll do.
My shopping cart riding compulsion got me to wondering what weird things you do that probably don't seem weird to you anymore. C'mon, whatdya got? I won't make fun, I mean, yeesh, I ride shopping carts like a lunatic every single time I leave a store pushing a cart.
**By the way, I'm going to pick a winner from that whole free-stay-at-an-inn-near-my-house-in-the-country thing tomorrow.