I generally don’t like putting labels on things. I mean, there are circumstances in life when labels are totally a good thing. Like for example, you might want to know, “Is that a can of peas or pickled pig’s feet in my pantry?” Btw, this totally reminds me of that time when we were kids, Uncle Mike paid my brother exactly one dollar to remove the labels on every can in mom’s cupboards. As you might imagine, this didn’t end well. For mom, that is.
But really, in terms of people, why do any of us have to be labeled only one thing in life? If you’re like a lot of people, sometimes you want to be a snob at Nordstrom pointing orders behind clunky, chunky gold bracelets and four-inch Louboutins, and sometimes you want to be rolling five deep at Dollar Tree with a teal Scrunchie in your hair and a broken flip flop. Know what I’m saying? We all have various roles we play – labels accepted and embraced by the limits of our own insecurities, or on the contrary, endless grandiosity. Or if you’re lucky, something in between.
My entire life I’ve been keenly aware of people’s perceptions of me (Paranoid much?). I think part of it just comes with being female, and the other part of it is, well yes – paranoia, plain and simple. Call me self-conscious, call me intuitive, heck, call me whatever you want. Bottom line is people fervently judge others, and it’s not cool.
But alas I got my wish, and this week I was more than just one thing in life; I was several. Here’s my list of notable labels that have been pasted, taped and stapled to me over the last three days:
“Grocery Store Aisle Stalker” – At the grocery store yesterday, I, unfortunately, happened to start down the same aisle as these two giggly college girls. One was pushing the cart, and the other was loading in .25¢ packages of top ramen faster than the high sodium content in them could make me bloat up. At every turn, there they were. Everywhere I needed to be, they were right there. Their rusted out, squeaky-wheel cart was screeching at me all, “DUDE, GET YOUR OWN AISLE!” Dairy aisle? Check. Produce section? Hello again. I found myself getting annoyed at their physical presence, but I was ardently aware that they felt the exact same. I squared aisle 3 like five times because I needed mayonnaise, but of course, they did too. To bide some time, I perused the various ketchups, the fancy mustards, the light salad dressings, pausing dramatically though, each time I passed them. The girl in yoga pants rolled her eyes and sighed loudly. Obviously they were thinking I was some sort of mayonnaise fanatic. But seriously, I needed mayonnaise. Then I overheard the girl wearing the Napoleon Dynamite Velcro style boots say, “Why is she such a grocery store aisle stalker?!”
“Quarter Hoarder” – I have this thing about quarters. I like them. A lot. It might be because they are worth twenty-five pennies. It might be because they are one-fourth of a whole dollar. Or it might just be that they’re shiny, pretty, and smell metallic, and I love the smell of metal. On a side note, if I’m ever in your car, and there’s a quarter lying on the floorboard, I will steal it from you. I will pick up that one-fourth of a whole dollar and stick it right in my pocket. Yes, forreals – serious as a midnight phone call. Anyway, on Friday night, I was rifling through Dave’s In Box – that’s what we call the basket thingy he keeps on the kitchen counter that holds junk, like business cards he’s collected throughout the month, a paper clip or two, the occasional lost Rolaid, and lint. Oh, and quarters. From the living room, I heard him yell, “Stop being a quarter hoarder and come in here!” Just so you know, I’m 100% convinced he is also obsessed with quarters, and this is likely the reason he has so many of them in his In Box. Not that we’re keeping score over who has more quarters… Also, I’m winning.
“Opinionated” – Friday at work, I made a joke about the congress/government shut down thing. My coworker immediately spat back, “Aren’t YOU opinionated?!” Wow, tough crowd. It was a joke, lady, and even a bi-partisan one at that. Want to know why? Because I’m diplomatic, and a people pleaser. I generally don’t say things that I know may offend others (I said generally!). It was simply an attempt to make some meaningless small talk before our meeting got started. It was a futile attempt, I suppose. “Uh huh,” I replied, confused as to whether that was my answer or not. In reality, I’m not opinionated at all, ever. If you ask me if I like the pink shirt or the purple shirt, want to know what I’ll say? “Um, well, everything looks good on you…I love them both. You pick!” If you ask me if I’d prefer to eat at Applebee’s or T.G.I.Friday’s for dinner, guess what my response would be? “Ewww, you country bumpkin! You’ve obviously mistaken me for someone who lives east of Denver, and enjoys eating microwavable cheese for dinner instead of a proper meal!!” Oh boy, after re-reading this last part, I have decided it was best to CTRL + A + Delete this entire paragraph. Forget I said anything. My bad.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is, why do we have to judge and be judged? Let’s just accept people for who they are and appreciate their differences. Okay, enough about that. I’m off to Chili’s with a freezer-size Ziploc baggie full of quarters.
(Photo credit: My husband’s cell phone)