As a short woman of a certain age, men shoppers at the grocery store jump to help as they see me struggling to climb the shelves in order to reach the Ensure bottles. I hold vitamins an arm’s length away, struggling to read the ridiculously tiny print. Of course, some nice man down the aisle always comes up to ask if I need help reading the directions. I know they mean well, but I long to appear strong and self assured, despite my white pony tail and short skinny legs.
Awhile back I stopped at Smith’s gas station to fill up my beautiful candy-apple red Rav4. A mongo black truck pulled in behind me as I filled my tank. With my granny glasses perched on my nose, I watched with narrowed eyes over my Day-of-the-Dead mask, skeletal dogs dancing across my nose. I was quite certain the driver would run me over in that obscene monster as he pulled perilously close to my prized Rav. Lifting my chin, I glared imperiously as he jumped down from the cab. He actually had the nerve to smile and nod at me.
I coolly walked to the driver’s door, trying hard to look haughty as I laid my credit card back on the front seat. Another sinfully oversized truck pulled in to the pump next to me, the driver deliberately screeching to a stop. Distracted by his “Oh, what a cute grannie” look, I slammed my door hard.
Now if you have never slammed a thumb in your car door, it is the worst, most exquisite pain a person can endure, even beyond 47 hours of horrible labor pains. I noticed through my agony the guy next to me looking extremely concerned.
Keenly aware of my zebra leggings and Day of the Dead dog mask, not to mention my long white pony tail, I summoned my dignity and sucked in all the pain, fiercely resisting the urge to scream uncontrollably. My thumb was dripping buckets of blood, so I tore off my mask and wrapped it around my wound. Touching it was horrific! Pretending it was nothing, I casually opened the car door with my left hand, holding in my need to let loose with a blood-curdling cry. Blood dripped freely on my expensive zebra leggings.
The guy next to me peered through the gas pumps, his face full of sympathetic concern. I was determined not to cry or react like an old granny girl, so I maintained as much stoic composure as possible.
“Are you ok? That must hurt like hell! You’re really bleeding!” Making it worse, the mongo-truck guy behind me walked over. “Can I do something? You need to go to the ER.”
“No,” I replied as coolly as one can. “I’m fine.” I turned to painfully ease myself into the front seat.
The the guys looked at me, then at each other, shaking their heads. One of them said to the other, “Dude, if that’d been me, I’d have screamed like a baby!”
I managed to drive to urgent care, where I parked and had a good cry.