I'm no stranger to the public pool. Every year I buy season passes for my daughters and myself. They love the water slides, lazy river and the fact that on any given day at least one of their friends is at the local pool.
Me? I'm strictly there to lay by the pool in a white plastic lounge chair. Sometimes I just lay there like a slug. Other times I read a book. I used to people watch, but you stare too long at a large woman in a small bikini and, well … the aftermath? It's not pretty.
Monday morning my kids and I were headed to the pool when my youngest reminded me that she wanted to stop by Barnes & Noble to buy a set of three books. Since Barnes & Noble is on the way to the pool, I had no objections.
I should have had an objection, namely the fact that I was wearing my swim suit. As in only my swim suit. No tank top. No shorts. No cute terry cloth strapless dress-type cover up in a fun stripe. Nothing. Just me, my tankini, and a detachable skirt trying to pass itself off as a cover up.
I'm no stranger to zipping through a McDonald's drive-thru to get a large Diet Coke or standing outside pumping gas wearing only my tankini with the detachable skirt cover up before heading to the pool. It doesn't really bother me to be only swimsuit clad and do these small tasks before my day of pool-side lounging begins. But going inside Barnes & Noble? Yeah. That bothers me.
In my defense, I didn't exactly remember that I was only wearing a swimsuit (with detachable skirt posing as a cover up) until I pushed open the doors and entered the store. By then I had committed to the shopping experience, so I went about my business and acted like a tankini is the new business casual.
Since this is a relatively small B&N, I feared they wouldn't have this particular book series in stock. I decided to ask the dude at the Customer Service kiosk located in the middle of the store to help us out. He didn't bat an eye at my striking (at least the way I see it) tankini clad figure while confirming that this store didn't stock that series of books. He didn't even comment on the eau de sunscreen wafting from my person. Customer Service dude remained classy and said he would order the book series for my girl.
Still nonplussed about my attire, he calmly took her name and email address, then promised that her books would be in by Friday. As we turned to leave, the Customer Service dude stopped me with one question "Did you go to McCutcheon High School?"
Kill. Me. Now. I knew this guy looked familiar, but hey. Maybe we didn't go to high school together. Maybe I won't be mortified standing inside a classy bookstore in my swim suit, smelling like Up&Up brand sunscreen, and ordering books from some guy I in which I went to high school. He looked too old to have been in my class anyway. Perhaps naming one of five major area high schools was a stab in the dark. A stab that was correct, but a stab nonetheless.
Yeah. That's it. There's, like, no way we went to high school together. The facts simply don't add up. But I couldn't lie. I did go to that school.
I stammered out a "Yep, I went to McCutcheon."
Customer Service dude threw his head back and laughed. "I knew I recognized you! You haven't changed a bit, Jen."
Dang it! There was no passing myself off as my sister now. Customer Service dude recognized me. He called me by name. Clearly he was firing on all cylinders. (I'm incredibly jealous as I was not firing on all cylinders. Had I been of sound mind, I would not have waltzed into Barnes & Noble sporting nothing but a swim suit and a detachable cover up.)
Oh yes, he recognized me. And then? Then I recognized him.
Know what's worse than walking around Barnes & Noble wearing only a swimsuit and Target brand sunscreen? Seeing your former (now retired) English teacher working the Customer Service kiosk at said Barnes & Noble while wearing only your swimsuit and Target brand sunscreen.
Life 1,456,899,387. Jen 0.
I recounted this story to my husband yesterday evening in all of its embarrassing glory. I was moaning and wailing about how the universe is against me and the fact that I can't catch a break. I may or may not have invoked Ferris Bueller by saying "How's that for being born under a bad sign?". (Hello? Pity party for one? Your table is now available.)
My husband merely pointed out that perhaps I should consider wearing clothes when going into town instead of my tankini and that would love a solid eighty percent of my problems. Good point, there.
Husband 978,569. Jen 1.
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