I Get a Life Jacket. You Get a Life Secret.

There might be a time when I find myself with more followers than Lucy (forcibly half-dedicated) and myself (willingly very dedicated).. and if that time comes I think I’ll thank you by sharing a very useful secret to life; never go to REI without a strategy. I’m serious. And from now on, if you choose to go sans strategy, well, I guess that’s your own decision but I will not feel bad if you get suckered into admitting you’re an incoming black North Face trend follower stopping to check out the calf muscles hugging the climbing wall. I’m not judging, in fact, I’m the poster child of this scenario, though I’ll never admit it, hence, I always have a strategy.

Most recently, I stirred up a plan that involved portraying a completely false, yet conceivably believable, sense of purpose and knowledge the moment I walked in with an intended goal of avoiding the hooligans in oversized green vests commanding equally oversized curiosity circuits surrounding my intentions with their product. That sentence was too wordy but these guys are too nosy. Call it even. These green vesters always claim (because I always ask in leu of returning the nosiness) they inquire with genuine interest and not because their handbook makes them…but I know better.

On any other REI visit this exclusive air would hardly be necessary. Like the doofus asking ‘who farted?’ first, I can exhaust curiosity like a champ. I simply let these Georges know the blinking feature on a headlamp is definitely dispensable because I’m only using their adventure light to read in the dark. And although the wetsuit isn’t being purchased to trap pee for warmth it also isn’t being purchased for water sports. It’s simply for covering me…up.

But today’s circumstances are different because the paddling vest–a term I only memorized in case the green vesters perforate my strategy and I must simulate some canoeing knowledge–I intend to buy will not be used to store treats. Rather, this vest will provide an ideal form of life insurance where I reap the benefits of time instead of witnessing you guys wallow in my money from above. Kidding. You Will well wishers should follow someone less selfish, and less… poor, for any monetary gain.

Head tall, eyes forward, brisk speed to the life jackets, trying not to twist my head around like an owl…an ironically unwise move (because owls are wise, you guys). Look like a scatter brain, get treated like a scatter brain. Although, the scatter brain persona can be of great use in different situations. But, again, today is all about the ‘I know more than you’ persona to hide the fact that I know nothing except that I want to avoid a chit-chat.

“Can I help you find anything?”
“Oh, no thank you (gotta be polite), just browsing (three paddling jackets falling from my arms).”

Success.

The fitting room attendant is the George of all Curious Georges as she counts my loot of debatable clothing. Again with the curiosity. My goodness. I get it. Who the eff needs to try on life vests in the fitting room? Me. I do. I don’t want people asking about my trip because I’m not ready to talk about it and trying on the life jackets in public encourages the green vesters to strut over with pockets full of questions and interrogate my plans. I’d rather be the nut testing out life jackets in a fitting room than be the nut thinking about the green vests thinking about my incompetence paddling source to sea. Which is both assuming and weird but unfortunately, I think these things. I was picking my poison to embarrassment. And I chose life jackets in the fitting room.

Less importantly than avoiding conversations I wasn’t qualified for, I purchased a life jacket. It took some silver-lining convincing for me to actually appreciate the aesthetics of the jacket that disappointingly fit best…but the air paddle test doesn’t lie, you know? This life jacket effectively humbles my high-horse character. Look below, you’ll see.

As my dad often describes my ways, “You don’t always make it look pretty but you get the job done.” A theme my buckling life jacket and I can definitely bond over.

Like my drawing? It's a 'I love to color but am not good' situation.

Like my drawing? It’s a ‘I love to color but am not good’ situation.

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