There's never a good trench coat around when you need one.
I was in Costco earlier today. That, by itself, can either be a heroic act, or incredible stupidity. Since I'm the one describing this incident, we'll call it heroism.
We actually don't frequent Costco all that often. Terrific price breaks don't help much when you're on a tight budget and even a "small" trip can cost more than $50 for, like, two items. So this was what you might call my quarterly visit to the warehouse. We had a short list, but going on a Saturday is nearly always hazardous just because of Critical Shopping Cart Mass (CSCM). CSCM means never being able to turn around in an aisle because doing so will bring the curses and hexes of literally hundreds of shoppers on your head. So, you point yourself in the direction you intend to go, and hope you get to stop long enough to grab one of the items you need before CSCM forces you into the next aisle.
I had been tasked with looking for American Girl® books for my girls. We've been slowly collecting the series, and each time I visit Costco I am asked to look for any that we may have missed. This is always dicey because the book and DVD tables are the worst places to encounter CSCM on a Saturday. For one thing, kids line up two deep in front of the tables reading whatever books they know Mom will never throw for. I have never seen dirtier looks than the ones I get from those kids when I dare to lean over and scan for my quarry. Plus, their moms are shooting me looks that clearly mean they will have the Feds on me faster than I can blink if I so much as say "excuse me" to the nearest kid.
I came up blank on my American Girl search this time. I did find, however, another cookbook in the series that we love about crockpot cooking. This one has "light" recipes, which fits in with our quasi-Atkins-Dr.Phil kind of diet. Also, the latest offering by Lilian Jackson Braun in her wonderful "Cat Who..." series of mysteries. Mrs. Woody and I are big fans, and I didn't think she'd mind diverting a little budget in that direction (I was right!).
Then it happened. I wandered (or was pushed, really) by the DVD table. "Princess Diaries 2" has been released, and I knew the ladies in my family would love it. Come to that, I remembered being pleasantly entertained myself when we went to the theater to see it a few months ago. I have become an Anne Hathaway fan because she tends to do films that I can take the whole family to see without too much fear. I thoroughly enjoy "Princess Diaries." Although, come to think of it, I really could have done without the cheesy retro music in "Ella Enchanted." Oh, well. Off to the registers I go.
For a Saturday, the lines were moving fairly well. There was one family in front of me, and they got through checkout in a matter of minutes. I had my small stuff on the stand, and gave the efficient checker my membership card. He was a young man, and moved right along until he scanned the DVD.
"This isn't for you," he stated. He was giving me a suspicious look.
"Well, actually, I enjoyed it myself," I replied.
The suspicious look continued. He clearly wasn't going to accept that. I resorted to my rationalization:
"Also, I have a house full of girls," I reassured him.
"Oh, so that's it! That's the real reason! I have a girl at home myself, but she's too young for that stuff yet."
I decided against the lecture warning him that "that stuff" will be under his roof all too soon. New dads are hard to convince.
The experience, though, left me wishing that I could have been wearing a trench coat with the collar turned up, a fedora pulled low over my brow, and a fake-glasses-with-mustache disguise.
Now, I have been married for a grand total of twenty years, counting my training marriage. I have purchased a variety of items in that amount of time that would make bikers blush. I have knowledgeably procured everything from feminine protection, to pantyhose, to hair color. I have purchased lingerie and purses. I have never, in all that time, been embarrassed beyond the occasional thought that if a co-worker or church member ever saw me, I might be in for a good ribbing. But this one flummoxed me.
Why would this young man assume that I wasn't looking forward to watching a good, family-friendly movie with my wife and kids? Am I really only supposed to watch this stuff under duress? Should I have been ashamed of myself?
No, I shouldn't. Whether or not the movie itself is lame, or predictable, or even cheesy, it is a good family film. I am not worried one little bit about my young, impressionable girls having a chance to watch it. Mrs. Woody has already announced her intention to snuggle with me on the couch tonight while we watch. What better endorsement could I have?
Mrs. Woody is excited. The Woodyettes are excited. Daddy is excited. Sounds like quality family time to me!
I guess I don't need the trench coat, after all.