Family Dollar
A Family Dollar. How Quaint!

Started on Fri the 13, finished post today.

Our van is out of commission for a while until we absolutely need to go somewhere. The muffler is holding on by the skin of its teeth, so we dare not take it somewhere now. It’s always something isn’t it? This morning, however, we needed a few things.

One of the ways to get me annoyed is talking about money , or lack thereof.  It’s my bad and everything to feel that way, but I feel my frustration building. I get the feeling it’s all my fault and Nervous Nelly is telling my head, It’s all your fault for being such a fucking, worthless piece of shit on fucking disability. You never do anything right. You should just fucking die. The Nervous Nelly part of me that lives in my head is not a very nice person, and she curses like she’s got Tourette’s as she serves as my personal ‘life sucks coach and anti-motivational/verbal abuse speaker.’  With thoughts such as these talking over my mom asking me if this and that are showing up on my rinky-dink credit card’s online statement I feel one step from a fit. This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask considering we have a limited amount of funds available and needed to refresh our supplies. What can I say? Sometimes I’m a total mental midget. More fodder for my ‘pile of things that make me feel guilty.’

With the heat index near 100 degrees at 10:30 in the morning, I decide the right thing to do is go myself, then as we sort of bicker over it, she suggests we go together. “No, I’ll go.” After all, I see no reason for both of us being miserable. “Just let me go brush my hair and teeth.” I ran a brush through my hair enough to push it a little down earlier, but not enough to go past my patio and certainly not enough to get all the fuzz from my blanket out of my hair.

“I’ll just go,” she says. That did it.  Angry….angry…..ANGRY! It doesn’t take that long for me to brush my hair and teeth…granted I do ritualize it like everything, but it isn’t like it could take more than 10 minutes. It may just be I’m mental, but I interpret her as always trying to run my life and if she would just let me do what I want how I want we would get along better. I don’t think my request was that bad, especially since I was going. Now she’s all “I’ll go” and “I’m going with you” in a voice with a decidedly martyr lilt. We’re out in the hall so we have that added advantage of airing our sundries for whoever wishes to listen just like some of our neighbors scream, when I bellow “I’m going, GOD DAMMIT!”

Great, now I’ve lost my religion too. Though I’m not as religious as in the days of old, I still consider myself a Christian, and still I retain a certain degree of scrupulosity. I remember that, if the Bible is 100 percent true, I will be held accountable for every time I get mad enough to drop the “GD” bomb. I even feel the slightest tinge of apprehension at writing what I said above, but the kind God I generally believe in no doubt understands ‘my art.’ Oh well at least I’m not like I was when I was 13. All sorts of superstitious thoughts and accidental blasphemies were the order of the day in my head, the remnants of my days in Holy Roller Christian Academy, which I left at the age of 9.  There is a fear of God and then there is becoming a total dumbass, which I fell into the latter. I didn’t give up my MTV or the fascinating world of 1990s rap music (which in the 2000s sort of went to hell like all music did -no pun intended). So I listened to Yo! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City, delighting in it in my own WASPy ways, all the while doing nutty junk like making sure I crossed my ‘t’s at least at the midway point lest they look  like upside down crosses like devil worshipers favor.

But anyway….

I walked a swift pace, letting the energy of my indignation propel me to Family Dollar, about a couple blocks from my complex. We may live in a somewhat bummy part of town, but hey, it’s convenient to a bit of everything. I was still in a foul humor walking into the blessed air-conditioned store. I see that The Other Lisa is working and I feel a pang of guilt. The last time I spoke to her a few weeks ago I said something I shouldn’t have. The Other Lisa, I’m pretty sure she’s the same person my best friend and I used to hang out with, was describing her Missions  in Africa. How some of the men stood around with folded arms looking mad at them. And I said it before I knew I was going to say it and by the time I was back outside with Mom I knew I shouldn’t have. I said shyly  to The Other Lisa, “Well, wouldn’t you be angry if someone came to your country and tried to change you?” She had the grace to ignore me (yeah, the puns are intended. Who am I kidding?). Even if I were speaking the gospel truth I should haven’t said it. She saw it as I used to see it as a little girl…saving souls from the eternal fires of hell, perhaps thus saving her own. Faster than you could say infidel, my conscience had started panging me.

So I decided today I would do my best to be friendly and hope to ease the wrong I committed. We say hello and I’m off on the hunt for what I was told to get before and a couple other gluttonous things. Toilet paper. 3 boxes of dollar dry cat food that we keep out all the time because we only feed the cats cans in the evening -I get 3, Mama usually gets 2, but I have a bit of a preference for things in 3’s and we do have 3 cats, so it’s all fair and balanced, right? 6 pack of Hershey Bars -if I’m going to that part for gluttons as described in Dante’s Inferno, might as well enjoy the trip (feel a bit nervous writing that one). 12 pack of Cokes (you know,to wash the Hershey bars down). Done. I balance my treasures in my arms and head for the counter with the intention not to be counted as that heathen bitch from the other day. Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi comes on the radio and she sings along. God likes irony apparently.  Pleasedon’tthinkbadofme.Pleasedon’tthinkbadofme.

Amazingly enough, I think I hold it in the road. Sure my naturally child-like voice is probably more child-like now because I’m nervous and I’m a bit stuttering, but we exchange pleasantries. As I leave , walk past the side of Family Dollar and notice a man in a jeep just sitting there. I’m immediately suspicious. The window is up, though it’s 90 degrees and I don’t hear the engine. I don’t dare glance too much just in case he’s one of those real-life ‘Evil Ones,’ entailing someone who’s a perv or mugger or something. He doesn’t look dead from my peripheral vision and I walk on, stealing a slight glance once. At the road, I realize I forgot something. Mama’s coffee! Back I go.

The Other Lisa is out at her car getting a pair of sneakers to replace the uncomfortable ones she was wearing. She asks me if something’s wrong.

“I forgot the coffee,” I say cheerfully, all the while thinking, please don’t think I want to steal something. One of my neuroses is the fear someone will think I want to steal, which I never would do, but my mind keeps telling me people think I’m about to snatch something. So when I get inside I set everything down except for my little wallet  with the tabby kitten on it. Tres chic,  non?

I come back to the counter and say, “This was my main mission coming here.” Then I think to myself, Oh no, I said mission. She’ll think I’m making fun of her.

But if she thought I was making fun of her, she didn’t show it. She said,”In third world countries where they don’t got a lot to eat, they still be drinking coffee. Like when we were in Africa, they be drinking like Starbucks.”

“Really?” I say, hoping to make it sound like that was the most interesting thing I’d heard in years…Well, it was interesting, but I felt it necessary to show approbation. “I’m glad I remembered before I walked halfway home.”

“You live at Shitzville?” she asks (I’m using an assumed, but pretty apropos name for my apartment complex).

“Yes.” Before I leave I confess that I don’t even like coffee.

Something happens when you’re walking home in 90 degree weather with a big bag of groceries and a 12 pack of coke balanced in your arms. Anger melts, almost in a literal sense. I trudge past the weirdo in a jeep and the shopping center that at separate times housed an illegal gambling spot and a doctor who sold prescription drug subscriptions of the patient’s choice for $100.00 until they got shut down. Past the house I think is suspicious, the one with no windows in the front…People are outside talking, but pay me no mind. Past a couple of women waiting for a bus. I force a “Morning” out of my throat at them and hurry away. Past the apartment where those folks killed themselves in a sexually explicit way. And I’m home.

PS, I’d be an epic fail as a missionary unless the “Secular Humanists” are evangelical. I posted this on a young woman’s blog once who was afraid to admit she’s an atheist. I think somehow though, Jesus might approve:

Hi there!
Great post. I believe in God and Jesus and all that, but I believe the Bible was mostly the product of the men who wrote it and the era. Jesus wasn’t a hater, so I still believe in Jesus. And I believe that if you go around hating people, you generally got the wrong idea about the whole being a Christian thing.

That being said, look at all the positive things about being an atheist (think if I was an atheist I’d prefer ‘humanist’ too):

You know you’re a good person because you’re a good person, not from a fear of some divine punishment. You are able to decide who you are as a person without the constraints of religion, you can look at spirituality, politics, and science objectively and take what you want from it. You may be in the minority of people, but I see atheism just as another ‘religion,’ something to tolerate and accept, not condemn.

Also, that being said, I’m not saying don’t ever think about there being a God either, because spirituality definitely has its blessings and gifts too.

Anywho, what I mean to say is “Being an atheist doesn’t make you a lesser person, just a free-thinker. And your dad isn’t in Hell, for Heaven’s sakes. But the person who said that should go to Hell -figuratively, of course.

*Image taken from

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