I had an epiphany just now. It was one of those moments of extreme clarity, kind of like floating out of your body and observing yourself through a microscope while Jesus Himself whispers in your ear, making sure you get all the gory details.
Like most of my epiphanies lately, it happened at the Big M. (I'm beginning to view the Big M as a doorway into a parallel universe. I have to fight the impulse to genuflect and sprinkle Holy water when I enter the building.)
I had a moment of panic this morning when I looked in the fridge and realized that I was out of Diet Pepsi. I hate being out of Diet Pepsi. I mean, what would happen if I suddenly got thirsty and tired, all at the same time, and there was nothing cold, carbonated and caffeinated in my refrigerator?
I would die, that's what would happen.
I pondered briefly if I could wait to go to the store until after I took my shower and made myself presentable, but decided that would be cutting it a little too close. After all, it was 10:00 in the morning and my Diet Pepsi thirst could happen at any moment.
I reasoned with myself that I don't know one single person in this town and the crowd at the Big M isn't exactly what you might call "fashion forward" so I stuck a hat on my head, hid my raccoon eyes behind a pair of enormous Coach sunglasses, scooped up my purse, keys and cellphone and headed out the door.
I grabbed one of those stupid toy double decker shopping carts they insist on having (because I didn't feel like carrying my purse... seriously, it weighs a ton) and meandered through the market, keeping my sunglasses on because if I took them and my hat off, it would look as if I'd lost a fight with a ceiling fan. Honestly, I didn't think about it all that hard as I perused the aisles for things I've never seen before, occasionally taking pictures of weird products with my phone and glancing casually and smiling at everyone else who happened to be nearby. (Old habits are hard to break. Hate me if you must, New Yorkers, but I will smile and do the princess wave until the day I die. Deal with it.)
It took a few minutes, but I began realizing that people were looking at me. Some were trying to be polite about it, others were outright staring. No one was smiling back, and everyone who passed me would look back over their shoulders at me, kind of like driving past an accident acting like you aren't the kind of person to gawk at carnage but then checking it all out in the rear view mirror after you pass.
Hmmm, I thought. Is something hanging out of my nose? I did a subtle booger check and decided I was good. What the hell, then? Why are people looking at me?
It was at that moment that I floated out of my body, Jesus handed me a microscope, and I took a good hard look at myself.
I have never, ever, in the entire 4 months I've been in northern New York, seen another person wandering through the store in an Ed Hardy bling hat and enormous Hollywood sunglasses. I've never seen another Norwoodian permanently attached to their Blackberry, alternating between texting and taking pictures while they're shopping. No one stops in the middle of an aisle to check their Facebook status, no one wears Capri leggings with a purple Ed Hardy tunic, and I haven't seen one other person hauling around a black and silver snakeskin purse that is almost as big as they are.
What is typical in California is weird in upstate New York.
All of this time I've been pointing and laughing and making fun of the locals when all along, I?
Was the asshole.
I had a brief uncomfortable flashback to the 10 years Dan spent in California with me. He was constantly ranting about kids on skateboards having no manners, people stopping in the middle of the aisles at grocery stores and seeming unconcerned about everyone around them, people wearing hats indoors, giant sunglasses that serve no purpose, and everyone constantly being attached to their cellphones while the entire time I sat there mocking him, making "talky-talky" hands, twirling a finger around my ear, and rolling my eyes about what a bitter old man he is.
Turns out, he was a product of his former environment.
What I considered to be a fact of life, he viewed as rude.
I'm about to share with you a truth that you may or may not know: Californians, by birthright, are pretty confident that their shit doesn't stink. As the fifth largest economy in the world, we wear our sense of entitlement like a crown (or a tiara, in my case) and are generally oblivious and unimpressed by what the rest of the states may think.
Basically, I was born an asshole. I've worked at it my whole life. All my friends are assholes, and Dan has an asshole for a wife.