Friday, August 6, 2010

Dear Youthful Indiscretions: I Want My Money Back

Have you ever suddenly realized, with forceful clarity, exactly how much money you have wasted on something? Have you made the calculations in your head and then really, really wanted to slap yourself for being so retarded? I have.

It happened about 3 years and 9 months ago, when I was staring at the two lines on the pregnancy test on my bathroom counter. It is a strange feeling to be staring at two lines when for years all you have ever seen was one. In that moment, I was all at once shocked, dazed, excited, and certain.

Even though I had never been pregnant before? I had known I was pregnant before I took the test. I was certain of it. I knew it, even without any symptoms. I didn't quite let myself believe it until I saw the test, but when I did see it? I felt... consigned. I gave myself up to the fate I had seen looming before me for days, my destiny with motherhood.

And then? I thought about all those other tests I had taken. Before, when I was younger. And I laughed at how stupid I had been. It was so obvious to me now... of course I hadn't been pregnant those other times. How could I have thought that I was?

Pregnancy tests are not cheap, y'all. I couldn't believe I had wasted even one dollar on them before. Most of the time? I would take one because I thought I should probably have my ellipse, but it wasn't there yet, and why wasn't it there? Hadn't I already waited long enough? Shouldn't it be here? Why didn't I ever remember to keep track of it in my calendar or something? So I would take a test, just to see, and inevitably? My ellipse would show up the very next day.

Recently? I went through this same thing again. But this time I showed some restraint. Because I knew what it felt like to be pregnant. So, really, I was 99% sure that I was not. But still, my ellipse had not shown up. I waited an entire week. Nothing.

So I went and bought a test.

And sure enough? My ellipse showed up the next morning. Phew! Thank goodness I hadn't even bothered to open the test box! But then, y'all? I had a dilemma of a different kind.

I took the test back to the store for a refund. And I grabbed some lady products. And I went to pay for them with my pregnancy test-refund money. I stood there in line for a minute, clutching the boxes in my hands. No cart. No basket.

Then, I realized... I knew the people standing in front of me. Not well, really, but I knew that if they turned around? They would know that they knew me from somewhere. Somewhere that they would almost certainly see me again. A mom and her teenage son. I so did not want them to turn around and see what I was buying.

I quickly sidled over to the candy, clutching my lady products against the side of me that was facing away from them, and pretended to be very engrossed in choosing a candy and pondering the gossip mags in the event that those people I knew happened to look over and notice me. They were taking forever.

There was another store employee at a register by the candy section. The register was clearly closed, but she was there, doing something on the screen. She noticed me loitering and politely asked if I had a question. I explained, "I'm just pretending to look at this because I know those people in line and I don't want them to see what I'm buying."

She snorted. "Been there, done that," she said.

Finally, finally, those people left. And I bought my lady products with my pregnancy test-refund money (with the same cashier who had rung up my test the day before, mind you) and left.

Lesson learned: I am so never wasting money on pregnancy tests again. If I am pregnant? I will know. And if I am not pregnant? I will know that, too.

And also? I am so glad that that other cashier did not think I was a weirdo. Yay, embarrassing drugstore-purchase solidarity!