Shit just got real.
That's right. I went out and bought it. I'm already going to hell for so many reasons; let's just pile this on top of everything else. GOOD LUCK SORTING IT ALL OUT, JESUS. HAVE FUN WITH THAT.
I was dreading the thought of having to purchase this book. I had even considered buying it online in order to to save myself the embarrassment of having to go to a bookstore, but I was thinking of all of you: I didn't want you to have to wait longer than necessary. You're welcome.
I hardly slept the night before I bought it. This is likely because I was incredibly sick, but I enjoy believing it was because my brain was trying to revolt.
"If I don't let you sleep, tomorrow will never come."
Fuck you, brain! That's not how tomorrow works!
The morning still came and as I was waiting for the local Barnes and Noble to open, I checked their website to make sure they had this piece of shit in stock. They did. While I took a shower, I repeatedly practiced shouting "THIS ISN'T FOR ME" in case someone confronted me in the store (this is a perfect example of the sort of irrational fuckery that goes on inside my head pretty much on a daily basis). I tried to convince myself that this loud proclamation wouldn't be a lie. This book *wasn't* for me. It was a gift for all of you.
Before I even left my apartment, I was already mentally playing out the ghastly, imaginary scenario in which the B&N cashier would notice that I was purchasing a Cheryl Strayed book and, incorrectly assuming that I was a fan, would try to start an enthusiastic conversation with me about the super-awesomeness of "Wild."
'OMG, WILD WAS SO AMAZING, IT WAS SO INSPIRATIONAL, I <3 IT SO MUCH!"
Filled with an unspeakable dread at the thought of this exchange, I realized that I needed a defense against such an attack. That's when I came up with the idea for this business card:
(Image courtesy of Vistaprint)
(500 of these are on their way to me as I write this. Future unsuspecting Cheryl fans: BEWARE.)
At the time, though, I had no defense. Still, I decided that no matter what might possibly go down, I was still going to buy this fucking book. I took a deep breath, figuratively adjusted my lady-balls and drove to B&N.
The minute I walked into the store, a new nightmare presented itself: where the fuck was I going to find this book. What possible category could this book fall under. Tiny Beautiful Things? What the fuck.
On instinct, I immediately headed toward the Fiction section and laughed audibly at my clever self on the stroll over.
"Hahahaha, *fiction*!!! You're so funny! I love you, me!"
And yet, when I searched for it... nothing. I checked three more times because there was no fucking way any Cheryl Strayed book could be considered anything but fiction, but still, nothing. It wasn't there.
I spent a good ten minutes walking around the store and amusing myself with other (im)possible locations for this heap of crap. Bible Study? African American history? WWII?
My amusement eventually turned into a mild panic when I genuinely couldn't find the goddamned thing anywhere. I walked up and down every single aisle in the store and it was nowhere to be found. This is when I wished I had just ordered it online. It struck me: I was going to have to ask someone for help.
I stood there, horrified, motionless, weighing out my options. Was I really capable of approaching another living being and saying the words, "Can you tell me where I can find 'Tiny Beautiful Things?'"
I could leave. I could just order it online. No one had a gun to my head.
I hesitantly approached the reference desk... and then walked away. I did another loop of the store, but this time, it wasn't a funny playtime loop. It was a brutally determined I-will-find-the-Lindbergh-baby-kidnapper loop. I looked in every likely (and unlikely) section and still couldn't find it. I approached the reference desk again, hesitated... and walked away for a second time.
I wish I had the security video of me in the store. I wish I could post it on here so you could witness my inner battle being played out in a Barnes and Noble.
On my third approach to the reference desk-- defeated--I cleared my throat, faced the giant bear of a man who stood behind it and said, "Excuse me, could you tell me wh--" and that's when some old lady walked up next to me and was all I'm-old-so-fuck-you-and-your-question-I'm-just-going-to-loudly-shout-out-my-own-question-over-yours-and-you-can-just-fucking-deal-with-it, and I had to stand there with my embarrassing, partially asked question hanging in midair while Rude Old Lady was given step-by-step treasure map directions to the Cat Calendars, during which time I almost ran away, thinking that this was a sure sign from the universe that if I didn't leave right then and there, I would single handedly cause the apocalypse.
Since I was too horrified with myself to manage doing anything at this point, I found myself still standing in front of The Bear after Rude Old Lady creaked away and was forced to finish asking my question.
Much like the book "Wild" and the movie "Wild," this story ends very anticlimactically. The Bear walked me over to the Relationship section (where, I swear, I had looked at least four times) and effortlessly picked Strayed's piece of shit off the shelf. He was too busy mumbling things about Science Fiction to care about my particular book choice and seemed completely nonjudgmental about the whole ordeal. I thanked him and quickly walked away.
The cashier, too, gave exactly zero fucks about my book selection (though I did, admittedly, put it on the counter facedown). Upon receiving my receipt, I took the book, sans bag, and somehow refrained from sprinting out of the store.
And that's that. I bought the goddamned thing.
I did this for all of you.