On Hardware Stores and Panic Attacks

26 Mar

So heres the thing…I have some pretty erratic and often times extreme social anxiety.  Sometimes I can go out and be completely fine and talk to people and interact and everything is coming up Milhouse.  Other times I just freak.  The fuck.  Out.  Its why I have a difficult time meeting new people.  Its why I don’t go out with friends.  Its kind of a problem for me.  The reason I bring this up is because I recently had what I will generously refer to as a minor occurrence.  If you’ll indulge me, Id like to share with you what happened.  Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story “The time I almost cried in Home Depot”

So my kids beds have these slats that the mattresses rest on.  Their mattresses aren’t the greatest quality and whenever the Chupacabra or I sit on their beds we can feel the slats.  It doesn’t make for a terribly comfortable nights sleep.  Not to mention that both kids managed to snap one of the slats on each bed.  I tried to Jerry-rig the slats with duct tape, Gorilla glue and some paint can stir sticks.  It did not last long.  I’m not one for doing the “fancy fix”.  I have neither the time, nor the expertise.  Anyway, something needed to be done.  So off to the local home improvement store I went, armed with measurements and a can-do attitude.  My first attempt was at Lowes.  I grabbed a drill, some screws and wandered over to the lumber section for some plywood.  Now I’ve never purchased lumber.  Ever.  For some reason this had not occurred to me until I was staring at row upon row of wood.  Like some kind of post-modern, minimalist forest.  It was at this moment that the anxiety kicked in and my brain decided shit itself.  I froze like a deer in the headlights.  A kind looking employee came over and asked if I needed assistance with anything.  I meant to say yes.  I meant to ask her if I load the wood myself.  Thats what I meant to do.  Instead, I looked at her with fear in my eyes and practically shouted “WHERES THE TOILETS?”


So I left Lowes.  I was mad and embarassed.  I was mad at myself for freaking out over nothing and embarassed because I yelled at that poor lady.  So off I went to Home Depot.  I’ve had pleasant experiences at Home Depot in the past.  I’ve only ever bought paint there, but regardless those few interactions have been quick and painless.  So in I go.  With a positive attitude and spring in my step.  I can do this!  I’ve got this!  Shit, do I have my wallet?  Yes!  I have my wallet!  Lets fucking go!  I bee-line it to the lumber section and its loaded with what appear to be lumberjacks.  Flannel jackets and carpenter pants everywhere.  Manly men loading carts full of 2x4s and 4x6s.  Immediately I begin to feel woefully inadequate as a man.  I see a staff member pushing a cart in my direction.  I assume he is coming to talk to me.  So naturally I ran away.  I fled 4 aisles over.  4 aisles, just in case he followed me.  I’m panting and I’ve begun to sweat like a blind lesbian at a fish market.  I took several minutes to regain my composure.  I even gave myself a little pep talk which was immediately negated by the lady that happened to walk by and saw me and I’m 100% certain heard me telling myself to “Get a grip you dumb fuck”.  So I walked back to the lumber area.  I picked out what I thought was the appropriate type of board for what I needed.  7/16″ OSB, for those of you that are way too goddamn nosy.  Now all I had to do was figure out how or if I could get it cut to size and how to do all that.  So I did what everyone does in that situation.  I googled it on my phone.  Unable to find a Wikihow for this particular situation, I resigned myself to talking to someone and asking for help.


So I looked around and found no staff in the immediate area.  I walked up and down the aisle.  I walked over to the next aisle.  Nobody there.  2 more aisles and I finally found someone.  I started to approach him but I suddenly had this thought that I’m now 3 aisles from where I started.  What I want isn’t in this guys department.  How is he going to help me?  He can’t possibly know whats going on in more than one department.  Unfortunately we had already made eye contact and acknowledged each other and he had turned to greet me.  I now had a very difficult choice to make.  Obviously I chose to stare PAST him and kept walking as though I hadn’t seen him at all, even though we both knew that was bullshit.  I upped my pace as I felt his confused gaze on the back of my neck.  I returned to the lumber aisle of horror and shame.  Serendipitously happened to run into an employee.  I worked up every ounce of courage I had and began to ask if they would cut 2 boards to size for me.

Jesus of Home Depot

Jesus of Home Depot

I got about 3 words into the sentence and my brain shit itself again.  I forgot what I was saying mid-sentence and at the same time, choked on my own saliva.  I was betrayed!  By my own fucking body.  But I had come too far to give up now.  I managed to spit out the questions I had.  Thankfully I happened to be speaking to the nicest human in the world.  He didn’t call attention to my obvious issues and said if I needed anymore help I could come find him personally and he would help with whatever I needed.  Anyway it turns out all you have to do is grab your boards and walk to the clearly marked cutting station.  I thanked my Home Depot Jesus and grabbed a cart to load up.  I was now full of confidence.  I knew what to do, where to go and nothing could stop me.  Fuck.  I grabbed a sheet of the OSB, which felt much larger now that I was trying to move it on my own.  I placed on end on the cart and started to push to get it all the way on, thinking it would simply slide the rest of the way on.  Well guess what?  That is not what fucking happened.  The goddamn shit sucking cart is on motherfucking wheels.  So instead of sliding the board onto the cart, I pushed the cart into the next cart which proceeded to bang into the next cart after that, causing a chain reaction of loud metallic clangs.  It was like slow motion, super humiliating dominoes.  So I did what I do best.  I dropped the board and ran away.  I fled to the sanctuary of the ladder aisle to attempt to gather myself.  Again, heavy breathing and profuse sweating.  A LOT of cursing.  At one point I had to sit down and text the Chupacabra for moral support.

Fast forward several minutes and I managed to get my wood under control(hehehe) and I found the cutting station.  The rest of the transaction was relatively painless.  My boards were cut.  I paid for them.  I wheeled them out to my vehicle.  I folded all the seats down and loaded the boards in.  They didn’t fit all the way in  and I hadn’t thought to bring any bungee cords or rope to secure the rear door.  This was my breaking point.  I climbed into the car, closed the door and began to yell out my frustrations.  Man did I let them out.  I let loose some pretty vulgar obscenities.  It wasn’t pretty.  This lasted probably 30 seconds, after which I was exhausted.  Physically and emotionally and mentally.  It was at this moment that I realized the rear door was wide open the entire time and the entire parking lot heard me.  WHAT A GREAT FUCKING DAY THIS HAS BEEN!  So now I’m desperate to get these fucking boards into the car and get home.  I pushed the front seats as far forward as they would go.  They still won’t fit.  I have no rope.  No string.  I had almost given up when I found the perfect solution to jerry-rig that rear door.

Yes.  I tied that hatch down with a scarf.  Macguyver level over 9000.

Yes. I tied that hatch down with a scarf. MacGuyver level over 9000.

So now my kids beds have been re-inforced with 7/16″ OSB for the perfect nights sleep and I have enough mental trauma to keep my therapist in business for years.  Easy breezy.

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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Family Trauma


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