It seems really important to clarify that up front, kittens. There is no blonde mini-Grace growing in my womb, sucking out my life force. Which is good. I can barely keep myself and my fluffy, white dog alive. If the professor and I were to have children right now, I’d be arrested within six months, because it would turn out that you can’t put a leash on a baby or give it heartworm pills. Parenting is, at this moment, completely beyond me.
So, it was with much trepidation that I visited my local drug store last month. I bought razors and shampoo, but they were just smokescreen toiletries. At the bottom of my basket — looming in a way that seemed improbable for a small, pink box — was a pregnancy test kit. Thanks to the magic of modern medicine (read: whore pills), my period is usually as regular as clockwork. Which is to say that, like clocks, it loses time here or there, but chimes at pretty much the same time every month. In December, however, the crimson cuckoo never struck.
I’ve tortured this metaphor, haven’t I? Suffice it to say: I skipped last month’s lady curse and was freaking the fuck out. Visions swirled in my head of wee professors and — horror of horrors! —maternity wedding gowns. I’m normally hyper-vigilant about taking my birth control, but I was four hours late that Tuesday. Was I so fertile that all it took was one late pill and a sideways look by some man essence, before—boom!—welcome to babytown?
Way to be a sadistic bitch, Mother Nature! All that recycling I did and this was my payback? Oh, but Professor McGregor didn’t yet recycle. Was I being punished, because I had not prevented his beer bottles from being thrown in the landfill? That seemed unfair. Surely, he should be the one plagued by a small creature wanting to hijack his body, since they were his bottles. Damn it, biology.
So, there I was. Through the magic of love, birth control user error, and a boyfriend who inexplicably doesn’t recycle, thus pissing off the universe, I was buying a fucking pregnancy test. Or, to be technical about it, I was buying five pregnancy tests. This was not the time to quibble over brands! Buying one of each was, obviously, the best course of action. My gaggle of tests and I pulled up to the beauty counter—or, as I like to call it, the Buying Tampons and Laxatives Counter—and feigned nonchalance. Then, this happened:
Middle-Aged Cashier Who Looks Like a Sunday School Teacher, Complete with Christmas Tree Sweater: Good afternoon!
Cashier: Having a good day?
Grace: Totally. What about you?
Cashier: It’s just dandy! Why, lookie here! (picks up pregnancy tests, with a flourish) Wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas surprise?
Grace, feeling faint: Not necessarily.
Cashier: This time next year, you could be celebrating with a baby!
Grace: Hopefully not.
Cashier, totally not picking up what I’m laying down: Babies are the best. I miss mine being little ones. Miraculous bundles of joy! If you ignore all the vomit.
Grace: Oh, for the love of God! I do not want a baby! Stop your jinxing blather, Witch of Walgreens!
Okay, I didn’t say that. I just made vague, noncommittal noises and prayed for the credit card machine to work faster, damn it, because years of living in the South had rendered me incapable of rudeness. Why isn’t there a standard of ettiquette for the purchase of pregnancy tests, y’all? If this well-meaning cashier is anything to judge by, we need rules for these exchanges! People can’t seriously assume that all women over 18 want to be pregnant, right? Some of us do, sure, but some of us really, really don’t, so please stop talking about the inherent cuteness of tiny socks.
To prevent potential drugstore violence by angry, potentially impregnated women, I propose these rules, to be implemented by pharmacies worldwide:
- Do not mention the pregnancy test.
- Only look at the pregnancy test long enough to find the bar code.
- Be fleet. Scan items like the wind, noble cashier!
- For the love of God, don’t talk about how awesome babies are! Why, why, why would you do such a thing? We’re already stressed out, whether we want it to be positive or negative. We don’t need to chat about it!
Seems simple enough. Could someone please make sure the Anderson Mill Walgreens in Austin adopts these? In the meantime, I’m going to go drink some coffee and eat sushi, because this month, the cuckoo clock definitely chimed. Let the happy dances commence!