the pressing need to explain oneself



Awkwardness strikes again! Only this time…there was really no way around the awkwardness. I just helped things along a bit.

Back in October I authored a massive word-spillage, regarding my love for (and obsession with) names. I simply adore them, and I’m afraid this is quickly becoming an addiction. As I often tell others, it’s just like word etymology, only applied to human beings (or, in some cases, pets…appliances…etc.) Now, in the summer months, I pore through old British books, looking for unusual names. I pull up my elephantine name list on my computer and read off names to any family members within earshot. (On that note, I think my family is beginning to regard me as a harmless lunatic who must be humored–despite her odd passion. It’s rather unfortunate.)

Tonight, my mom, Ellen, and I made a pilgrimage to the realm of Half-Price Books. That store makes me happy. Jazzy piano music, murmuring voices, and the walls of bookshelves simply entice you to poke around in search of that one elusive treasure. After perusing the poetry section and picking up a small notebook for my soon-to-be-started “List of Happy Things”, I suddenly got a maggot in my head. Baby name book. I want one.

We used to have a baby-name book around our house, long ago. But alas, it has long since mysteriously vanished. And so, tonight I decided I needed a new one…one of my very own. Internet name websites are all very well (and I’ve found some fantastic ones), but sometimes it’s nicer when you can just see the words on paper in front of you. With that thought in my head, I began searching for just such a book. It wasn’t long before I spied the “Psychology/Self-Help/Parenting” section. (This combination I find disturbing. I guess parenting really does do things to your mind!) Hesitating a bit (because wouldn’t it look a bit strange for me to be looking at parenting material?), I slipped into the section and began to scan over the psychology textbooks. But, out of the corners of my eyes, I was stealthily surveying the parenting books on the other side. And I couldn’t see “Name Books” anywhere. My spirits sank.

Nothing daunted, I headed for the “Reference” section in hopes of finding The Book. But there were none. I knew it was now or never. Snatching Ellen, I commanded her to re-enter the Parenting section with me so I wouldn’t feel quite so strange while giving it a more thorough combing-through. She willingly obeyed and it wasn’t long before we had successfully located a fat paperback volume entitled A World of Baby Names.

Victory! But the question still remained…I still needed to check out! A quick glance at the counter revealed…to my horror…a lone cashier…a 20-something species of Guy…manning the checkout. Horrors. “Ellen,” I hissed, “there’s a guy at the checkout! This is going to be sooooo awkward!” After all, there are only a few conclusions that those not among the name-obsessed can possibly draw when they see a girl my age buying a baby names book. And I wanted to avoid this at all costs. Nevertheless, the purchase had to be made. So I dragged Ellen with me up to the counter. And this is how the conversation opened:

Me, dropping book on counter with a small thud: Ohbytheway, I’m kinda a name buff, that’s why.

Cashier Guy: *looking confused*

Me, gesturing at book cover and speaking rapidly: Ilikenamesthat’swhyIgotthisbook

*awkward silence*

Guy, doubtless feeling he should say something in response: Ah yeah, it’s kinda cool seeing where names come from…

*I finish paying…Ellen and I walk away*

Ellen: Wow, you were kinda blunt there, you started talking way too fast!

Back in the car, later on, we told our mom the story. Her statement?

“Margaret…you made it awkward!”

Sadly enough, I agree.

The End.

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5 Responses to the pressing need to explain oneself

  1. Hmm… I wonder if you should hang out more often in the “Psychology/Self-Help/Parenting” section? Or perhaps hanging out there less often would be better.

    Yes Margaret, you certainly must be one of those people who attract awkward moments the same way that rotting meat attracts maggot-laying flies.

  2. Brian JM says:

    Margaret, it’s Austin. The guy has probably seen so much weirdness that he’s stopped asking questions by this time.

  3. Nathan Exley says:

    LOL, A well written humorous post. that was worth reading. 😀 I am still laughing.

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