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A Warning Against Impulsiveness

My crazy, anxiety-prone brain is a real jerk sometimes. Throughout our home building process, I've been required to meet with different suppliers one-on-one at least a dozen times and usually do a believable enough job playing the part of competent homeowner. Today, however, I set out on a quest for carpet prices feeling like a meek, pitiful shell of a human, wasting everyone's time and making a fool of myself. There was no reason for it. What's so difficult about asking for a carpet price? I even had a good idea what I wanted for once, so I could skip my usual look of indecisive puzzlement.

My anxiety and I stepped timidly through the door of the flooring shop, my forehead knit with concern. I try to stop myself from doing this. The raised eyebrows don't do me, or my wrinkles, any favors. I've tried Botox to fix this bad habit, but apparently I'm immune to botulism. I even remind myself to relax my face periodically, reaching up both hands and smoothing the grooves between my eyes. I'd barely set both feet inside the store before a loud saleswoman was at my side. Rather than allow me to browse the carpet choices myself, she eagerly brought me from display to display and peppered me with questions. I hated it. It was exactly what I'd needed.

By the time I was ready to leave, that loud saleswoman had stacked 6 different sample boards for me to take home, priced 4 different Mohawk carpets, answered my warranty questions, advised me on the pros and cons of various carpet lengths, and, after complimenting the emerald green of my purse, become my new best friend. I was feeling much better. She disappeared briefly and returned with one more sample board of carpet, which she placed on the countertop. A small spider scurried out from the fibers.

"Oh," she said, taking a step back. "I hope you're not afraid of spiders."

I am, but this was my chance to repay the saleswoman for all the time she'd invested in me. Impulsively, I locked eyes on the spider, barely a dot on the speckled granite, and prepared to strike. I didn't even have anything to smack him with. After the saleswoman had been so kind to me though, my bare hand would just have to do.

Anxiety chimed its ugly voice in again. You'll miss. It'll bite you. There was never even a spider there and now you're going to bang your fist on their counter like a crazy person and probably break your hand and break their counter and everyone here is going to see it happen and whisper about you and you'll never be able to show your face in here again, if you're even allowed to return at all.

A split second after I'd hesitated, the saleswoman pulled out a sheet of paper. "Come here, baby," she cooed. Yes, she was actually talking to the spider. I'm not making this up. "We'll get you outside nice and safe, won't we little baby?" After finding a suitable spider home outside, the saleswoman launched into a tirade against her manager. "The last time he found a spider," she said in a hushed tone of disapproval, "he killed it. Monster, right?"

Thank god for anxiety.

funny social anxiety story
I was going to share a photo of a spider here, but they were all so icky, with their millions of beady little eyes and pokey little legs. I found a photo of a dandelion with the teensiest spider hanging out on the stem, then decided the photo would be so much nicer without that creepy crawly photobomber. You're welcome.