I like to think I'm mostly smart and not a dumbass. Sometimes I'm wrong about that. Like very wrong, terribly wrong, like scraping-the-barrel wrong.
Like that one time I stood on the National Mall in front of an epilepsy awareness tent and suddenly forgot how to pronounce “epilepsy”:
Friends: (backing away slowly) We're not associated with that man over there.
Or that one time I tossed away a business card in the trash at the airport without thinking:
Vice President: *finishes banana, heads to trash can*
Vice President: *stares into trash can for a minute, then tosses banana peel into trash*
Me: Oh wait I still have to board a plane with this guy
But I think today took the cake. Maybe today I will finally begin growing self awareness cells, if that's a thing in the human body.
I noticed myself scratching at my face because it was so dry and itchy from the cold weather as of late, and of course everyone knows scratching at your face because of a problem just creates more problems. So I decided to buy something that will make my face not itchy anymore.
I go over to Trader Joe's (now my favorite store), and I pick out a travel-size can of facial lotion. I look at the different kinds of fancy bottles and decide that the “facial cleanser” will do the trick. Purchase at register, no problem, head over to study spot, and read through my book on concurrency models. I smear some of the facial cleanser on my face during a study break. Very lathery. I smear some on my hands. Still very lathery. Lather goes away in a few moments though. I don't care. Trader Joe's knows what's best for me.
I am a little annoyed at how the pump doesn't work properly, though. It pops out and doesn't lock back in unless you push the pump nozzle all the way down and twist it, squeezing a bunch of cleanser everywhere. So I take it back to the store and ask them how it's done.
A store employee locks it down for me, running out of paper towels to collect the cleanser everywhere on the bottle. It looked hard to put back in place, so I thought to switch my bottle with another bottle with a friendlier pump:
Employee: You know, most people just take this back home and leave it there.
Me: Why? It's lotion, and wouldn't it make sense to carry it with you as your face and hands dry out throughout the day?
Employee: Oh no, this is cleanser. It's soap.
soap. Soap. SOAP. SOAP. soap.
I covered my entire face and hands with soap and left it there for three hours.
Me: *dies inside*
Employee: …maybe you can try this facial lotion. Facial lotion is a bit more expensive than other hand creams, so some people think it's a waste to put on your hands, but it should smell nice and should not cause your skin to break out. It also has SPF protection as most damage to facial skin comes from sunlight.
Me: …how do you know these things?
Employee: I had a few girlfriends who taught me about facial hygiene.
Me: (remembering how I have never had a girlfriend) …oh. I see.
Me: *dies even more inside*
I give the facial lotion a shot, and trade in the bottle of *soap* I had purchased hours ago. The cashier finds my story funny, and gives me back $2.12 in change. I don't think I deserve the money, and I don't know what I would otherwise spend it on, so I ask her to keep the change. She politely declines.
I walk outside the store. A homeless man asks me for money. I walk past them, then think “fuck it” and walk back to him.
Me: *Reaching in extremely tight jean pockets* Is $2.12 okay for you?
Homeless Man: Yeah, of course!
Me: *hands him money* If you don't mind me asking, what are you going to do with this money? (I expect him to buy drugs)
Homeless Man: Oh, I'm going to go ride the Metro so that I don't freeze out here.
Me: …that's actually a smart idea. What's your name?
Homeless Man: Mike! What's yours?
Me: Ying. Well, stay warm tonight, Mike.
Mike: Have a good evening, Ying!
Everybody has a happy ending. I get to use facial *lotion* on my face, Mike gets my change to ride the Metro, and Trader Joe's has a very happy customer who knows the store will be his mom away from home.
Seriously, though. My time and energy investments evidently do not go into home economics or self care. From the outside, I probably look something like:
I'm lucky this is now what I consider a day's worth of drama. Still.