Monday, July 25, 2005

It's Not Easy Being Me

As I was heading east on SR 500 today to visit my favorite Michael's store (damn you Michael's, and your cheap, easy framing materials, and outrageously expensive art materials!) and PetSmart (damn you, Annie, and your stinky poop that I have to pick up in little baggies!), I was thinking how much extra I must pay to be me.

I'm sure it doesn't hold a candle to the facials, manicures, Nordstrom shopping adventures, and elective surgery required for some persons, but it adds up, I suppose. Well, now, after that last sentence, it seems puny, and actually ruins my whole premise for a post, but I'll just keep going, like a dork, like nothing has happened...

For instance, the closest Michael's store is probably four miles away, right across the river at the Jantzen Beach humongo-mall. It's brand new, and since it is in big-box land, it's probably three times as big as the one I go to. And the bonus is that, since it is across the river, it is in the mythical tax-free land of Oregon, saving me about 8% of everything non-food that I buy.

The Michael's that I am required to go to is about ten miles away (add gas), on this side of the river (add 8% tax) and smallish (add, well, less selection?). But it's right next to the PetSmart that I'm required to go to, so there's that.

Required? Well, for all intents and purposes, yes. This is the shyness tax. Shy people tend to develop routines that feel comfortable to them.

Developing the routines themselves takes enough out of you, believe me. Taking that first adventure out into the unknown that is Vancouver is scary enough. Now that I know that there is a good chance that nothing terrible will happen to me if I go to the Michael's store off SR 500, I will keep going there until something terrible happens to me there. Then the ordeal begins anew. Believe me when I tell you that it is best, blood-pressure-wise, to avoid ordeals.

This same tax requires me to plan my gas tank fillings around my husband's and/or my son's schedules. If I am low on gas, I make sure that they need to use my car for something, and oh, would you mind filling it up while you're at it? No, they don't buy that line, but they are sweet enough to oblige my gas-filling-phobia. If I ever find myself with an empty gas tank and no support system, then I head for the river. Because in the mystical, tax-free land of Oregon, it is illegal (but not tax free - they're not idiots) to pump your own gas. Hence, at least some (although not all) of the anxiety is avoided.

Oh, yeah, and I paid a $74-a-month tax this last year by signing up for a gym membership and then deciding that it was just too icky to work out in front of other people. I'm not sure what the difference is between spending an hour on the elliptical machine with a bunch of strangers and spending an hour running by these same strangers' houses, but it's different. Plus, I am not required to stare at the Fox News Channel for an hour this way (I know that doesn't seem shyness related, but come on! Is it fair? I certainly can't ask them to turn the channel, now, can I?).

And don't forget, if it requires a phone call, I would rather pay the difference, whatever it is. So next time you pick up a phone, or a gas nozzle, thank yourself for being so fearless and stout-hearted. Because we're not all that lucky.

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