Today I did something quite stupid, and then I made it all go away. It began with the kind of afternoon where you stop before stepping out the door to take a deep breath and put up your hood, when you walk looking at the ground. I wove between people on the footpath as if I wished to slip into the atoms of the air and so move unnoticed, I wrapped my arms around me and avoided eye-contact, and did not speak. I took a turn off Rue de Rennes when a light turned red so that I did not have to stop, and another, and then ended up on an entirely unexpected road, which truly is the expected in a city like Paris. I stopped in the middle of the bustle and stood there, peeking out from under my dark red canvas hood, hoping for bearings, until I walked and found my way once more, ending up outside of the Monoprix store I had been heading to.
I need an adaptor so I can charge my phone, but a one that converts the voltage also. This store has a worldwide to France/Europe plug that would not change the voltage and so is fairly useless, or a usb wall port. After much debate and second guessing I took the latter, picked up a comfort camembert, and went to make my escape. When my turn came at the cashier I did not speak, and I did not make eye contact, and I wanted so badly only to be gone from the store that when the price was rung up as near thirty euro for the two items I did not outwardly complain, handed over my money, and ran away.
This kind of thing happens. You become stuck in your head and can’t break out to help yourself, you can’t cope with people. It’s harder again when you don’t speak their language. Some days are made for staying away from interaction, but this time it was because I had made it so, and this time I made it be different. I hadn’t yet gone a full block down the street in my self-recrimination and spite, my upset and desire to hide because of what I had done, before I stopped myself and said, this is stupid. Why am I punishing myself for making a bad purchase? Why should I pay thirty euro for a thing that isn’t even what I need? The situation is not so desperate and besides, a big store like that, they must have a return desk. So I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and pulled back my hood, smiled at the security guard and asked where the desk was, returned the confounded thing and got my money back.
I might not have done anything with my afternoon, I might not have achieved anything I said I would, but I feel a sight better about it having done that. In a way, it is an achievement of its own.
On my own once more and soon to move out of the comparitive luxury of AirBnB and back into hostels once more. I’m hoping it will feel a little like going home.