Signs, Signs Every Where Are Signs
One day, I was doing laundry, getting ready for my two week vacation in Florida, when it happened. After carrying a full basket of laundry to the top of the stairs, my breathing became erratic and it was hard for me to breathe. Death flashed before my eyes as I froze, gripping the wood trim. Trying not to panic, with despair waited until the episode was over.
My biggest fear is suffocation so at that very moment I knew what I needed to do. Quit smoking. But as you know a 15 hour drive and a two week visit with the in laws warrants anyone to smoke cigarettes, so I decided to wait until after my vacation to quick. Besides, I’ve been enjoying my nicotine rituals day after day for the last 20 years and I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. So, for the next three weeks, I savored every drag right down to the cushioned butt, preparing for the inevitable.
March 21, 2004 at 8:20 pm, I wrapped my lips around that death trap for the last time and went to bed. My drive to work the next morning was a little shaky but it wasn’t until, I was ready to leave that panic set in and getting in my car was out of the question. Pacing back and forth in my classroom, I wondered how I was going to get home. I talked myself through it and managed to get there without one smoke.
It wasn’t until the morning of day three that simultaneously my emotions took over and I realized giving up the most treasured fixation I ever had was going to be harder than I thought. I was running late for work when I pulled in to pump my gas and the receipt tore off and half of it was stuck in the pump. An alarm went off because days before it was on the news about people stealing credit card numbers and even if they had the last four numbers they were still able to obtain it.
Not a problem, right? Calm, cool and collected, I walked in to the attendant and asked in the utmost sweetest voice. “My receipt tore in half can you get the other half out for me, please?”
Without question he started to type on the register.
“No,” I said hesitating, “I want the one in the pump.”
“Oh no,” he continued pounding on the register. “I have this one.”
“Noooo, I want that one,” pointing out the window to the gas pump.
“No no, I can’t get that one. I have this one”
At this point I could feel my teeth clenching together and trying to hold back the rage I said, “You don’t understand, my credit card number is on the receipt in the pump and I want it.”
“I can’t get it,” He said in a calm voice, still trying to print me a receipt in the store.
“YES, YOU CAN. GET YOUR LITTLE KEY, WALK YOUR ASS OUTSIDE, UNLOCK THE PUMP AND GET MY RECEIPT. I WANT THAT ONE.” I was still pointing to the gas pump and raising my voice so the man behind me would feel uncomfortable.
“Sorry, I have this one.”
“Listen.” In a relentless voice, I slammed my hand down on the counter. “I’m going through nicotine withdrawal, and I have PMS and I’m constipated…don’t FUCK with me…now get the receipt out of the pump.”
He stood there with a dumbfounded look not knowing what to say when the man behind me asked, “Did you fill up?”
“No.” I said.
“Well, put a dollar of gas in your car and print your receipt and both will come out.”
“Thank you.” I said as I walked out, put gas in my car and drove away as if nothing ever happened.
Doesn’t he know that the customer is always right?