I noticed it. In a quick glance over the checkout girls shoulder was a woman standing in the next lane. At Walmart. Not my favorite place.
The woman. I saw it. Her dress tag… It was out. You know, slipped out from under its home near the collar of the dress. Bless her heart – I thought. Her tag is out and no one has cared enough to tell her.
Upon closer glance, I noticed that it wasn’t just her tag that was out. It was her entire dress. Her entire sleeveless, slip over the head, cute summer dress was entirely…
Inside out. The collar tag was out. The washing instruction tag was out. The seams were out. all out. all of it.
Now it wasn’t just, ” Bless her heart ” but BLESS her HEART!!! Poor thing. Doesn’t even know it.
As I felt the ball cap snuggled tightly on MY head covering up my un-showered hair , my husbands big fleece sweatshirt hiding enough of my running pants to make them slightly acceptable for public display and my bright orange tennis shoes covering my equal to my head- un-showered feet – I realized the pity, concern, judgement, embarrassment ,whatever, I had for the woman could have easily be turned on me. And it wasn’t just my outsides that were inside out. It was just 10 a.m. and I had let my “tags” hang out , the ugly inside ones I try to keep hidden- and it wasn’t pretty.
It’s Homecoming week. A week packed with enough events to make your head spin..My husband teachers…. and coaches. My youngest is a Senior. She is a player on the team my husband coaches, is in the choir, works a few hours a week and enjoys a healthy social life. We havn’t had a home cooked meal together at our kitchen table in what feels like a very long time. My calendar is full of so many things I love. Coaching my business clients. Attending Volleyball games. Taking road trips to visit our college age children. Opening our home up to family and friends. I love ALL of these things….but like a good meal or expensive bottle of wine…. in moderation. When I over schedule myself and put the squeeze on my life and my families – the crazy on the inside can start to seep, or sometimes BURST, out.
The first sign of some discontent on my inside ” tags “came when my husband asked a simple question this morning and my response may have been a smidge sarcastic. I didn’t think it was THAT bad until he responded in a slightly sharper tone indicating he didn’t appreciate my comment. I responded equally as sharp. And he left for the day. Just like that. We went from happily moving through our morning – to me closing the washing machine door harder then needed and walking dazed into the kitchen wondering what had just happened.
My morning agenda included a quick trip to Aldi and Walmart. I had volunteered to purchase the supplies for the annual Homecoming Bonfire. I needed 28 packages of Hotdogs and Buns, 5 large containers of hot chocolate mix and 14 bags of marshmallows. It would be a simple trip and I was excited to enjoy a 30 minute drive listening to one of my favorite podcasts. I had decided to shower AFTER the errands – I just wanted to get them done and get home. On went the ball cap and off I went.
Everything was going swimmingly until I hit the checkout line at Aldi. I unloaded a few extra items for myself along with 28 packages of hotdog buns and 28 packages of hotdogs. I was right on schedule with completing my morning To- do’s and I was looking forward to a nice hot shower when I returned home. Until…..
“I’m sorry – there is a 6 item limit on buns.”
“Oh – When did that policy go in place? I have come here the last 2 years and purchased this exact number of hotdogs and buns and have not had a problem. “
“Um – Im not sure – but the limit is 6”
“How would I know this?”
“Oh there is a sign”
“No there is not – there is absolutely not a sign.” (and there was not)
By this time – the poor college boys face was getting red and you could tell he was very uncomfortable. The Aldi workers wear these stealthy microphones you can barely recognize and I noticed he was whispering into his while trying to look like he wasn’t. In a few moments a woman, the MANAGER, emerges from a secret door you don’t see until someone walks through it. Its edges are seamless and blend right into the wall.
She proceeded to inform me of “their Policy” and ” I should have know about the need to pre – order if I was a regular shopper” and “the 6 item limit is clearly marked.” ( Im sorry mam- it was CLEARLY not, and why would I notice a hotdog bun limit sign if I only purchased 28 packages of hotdog buns ONE time a year, and the last time I purchased them in this EXACT STORE – I had no issue!!! SIGH!!!) . She used the “You’re clearly an idiot” tone and it was obvious she was not going to budge. I could feel my calm, cheery disposition fading away. My voice got louder and more demanding. I felt like I was in a courtroom and all eyes were on me. It was the most bizarre thing- I knew I was causing a scene – I could feel the shoppers waiting to check out in other lanes stopping conversation to witness the crazy hotdog bun lady in isle 2. Would I get my way? Was the policy clearly marked ? Would I take my hat off , throw it on the ground and stomp out of the store in a huff? ( heck no – I had not showered – remember??)
I did leave the store. The check out guy did apologize. He knew his manager was being disrespectful. He said ” I hate being the messenger for things I don’t understand.” I was less than gracious to the manager who had gone to check the signage. She conveniently waited until I began leaving the building before she headed back to the check out. She couldn’t find the sign – duh. It wasn’t there. I was frustrated and slightly embarrassed. I had no idea who had seen me and what I had actually said. Just like the laundry room earlier in the day – one miscommunication – set me off – and my inside “tags” – the ones that reveal whats really going on inside come flying out.
(It did make me feel a bit better when a gentlemen exited behind me and said – “she was crazy, I’ve never heard of the POLICIES she was talking about. Sorry you had to experience that.”)
Ironically, I went next door to Walmart, purchased 28 bags of hotdog buns that were actually .03 cents cheaper then Aldi. Hah.
And… it was in that Walmart check out lane that I saw the woman with the inside out dress. I felt embarrassed for her, like I had felt for myself just a few moments earlier. You know … the way you feel when your ugly, unshowered, unfiltered, inside tags are all hanging out and you have no idea how it happened?
On my 30 minute drive home I didn’t listen to my favorite podcast or book from Audible. I tried to listen to me. What were my two outbursts from the day revealing about what was happening inside? What feelings have I possibly been stuffing in hopes that they would just go away? I asked God to show me the root of my anxious thoughts and he was faithful to answer. He reminded me of some uncomfortable conversations I needed to have. He revealed some expectations that had not been met and may never be. He asked me if I was willing to wait for some answers to some lingering questions just a little bit longer. He also reminded me that he loved me, and the lady with the inside out dress…
Ugly Tags and all.
Boy is that shower going to feel good.