Tales of A Survivor: Tax Free Week, Back-To-School & the Parking Lot Snake

Day 233: Items Purchased, 0, Temptation Radar:0

Monday, August 22

I made it! Whilst shuffling the kids to their first day of preschool, it occurred to me that I’d successfully withstood one of the most tempting retail opportunities of the year: tax-free week. If you are familiar with eating disorders, you understand the term binge and purge. Not a joking matter, by any means,  and for illustration purposes only…let me just say, tax-free week could be accurately described as a binge scenario. I started thinking about how, in times past,  I loaded up my cart with clothes and such that I would not purchase otherwise, all in the spirit of tax-free shopping. Honestly, I don’t know WHY I felt like this was such a great deal. In fact, with my new-found clarity and perspective, I’ve realized that it, in fact, is like going to a HUGE 7% off Sale! Seriously?  Can you imagine racing out for such a bargain? Loading your cart with non-essentials, even?  DUH. Not this girl. Not this year. So, it is with a chuckle and a twinge of embarrassment, I  say:  I DID IT!

Just when I think I’ve nothing more to escape than the bait of clothing, a most unusual circumstance confronts me.  Immersed in the joys of my daily physician office visits, I thought nothing of the strange little man loitering in the office parking lot today. I mean, after all it is 100 degrees in Florida, and it seems perfectly normal and enjoyable to pace the sidewalk or sit in your car with half-opened window waiting for a  loved-one to finish her appointment. Not really. Nevertheless, this is always the case around here. Always some frail-looking dirty, middle-aged man with 6 days of facial stubble and a cigarette hanging from his mouth, staring at me as I make my assent up the long sidewalk to the office door. Sigh. So, I usually say hello because one’s poor personal hygiene does not exempt me from good manners and a kind word. Today, I did the same.

“Hello, there.”

“Well, hey there ma’am.”

My skin crawled at his slow southern draw, toothless grin and eery salutation. Sighing deeply and deliberately, I hurried in, swinging wide the door. Over the next 30 minutes, I discussed the importance of prostate health and my  bag of tricks to fight disease, along with erectile dysfunction and how to get the withered appendage up and moving, with a most gracious physician. Every girl’s dream. Little did I know, ciggy man would be waiting for me on the sidewalk. I started out with a slow pace down the sidewalk, fumbling with  my phone and pulling an extremely cumbersome rolling cart, filled with goodies. I get about 5 steps from my friend, when he frantically jumps toward me on the path and waves his cane!

“Watch out missy! Don’t want the snake to get you!”


I look around me, to find nothing. No snake on the sidewalk. “Look! He’s up there!”  Suddenly, I realize that his cane is not actually a walking stick. In fact, it’s a claw. You know, the kind where you squeeze the handles together and the ends of it pick up stuff. He starts wielding it like a sword at this tall shrubbery bush directly in front of me and slightly to my right, hugging the building. At this point, I’m thinking we have some sort of controlled substance abuse situation going on, and I’m looking over my shoulder for a hidden camera. Am I being punk’d? Clutching my cart and phone, body frozen, I gaze up into the bush to find this HUGE black snake resting on the top.  How did this snake get atop a 7 foot shrubbery bush in the middle of a doctor’s parking lot? Even more intriguing, how is it, by chance that a man with a claw just shows up to a duel in the parking lot with it? He tries to sell me on his efforts to get this snake out of the shrub back to his “home”, as if he anticipated I might help with such a cause. Completely interrupting him, I threw my hands up, as if halting traffic, shouting,

” Sorry, I don’t do snakes!”

Without giving him opportunity to respond, I, sitting high in my 4 inch Joan&David’s,decided that the 3 of us needed to get to steppin’. We were out of there! I don’t really know what happened to the snake charmer, although I did watch him shake up the bush for about 2 minutes from the comfort of my car, wondering , Did that really just happen?   What I do know is if you survive tax-free shopping week, a black snake , a parking-lot lurker,and seeing your kids off to school, you’re a real trooper and not one to be messed with.

I know. you’re wondering why I didn’t bust out the camera on snake man?  I should have.


5 responses

  1. Great story, Aimee. You have some of the best. I thoroughly enjoy your writing! And what a lovely photo of you and your kiddos–a very color coordinated family. So cute.
    P.S. We do not have sales tax in Oregon. It’s great. Except we make up for it with high property taxes. C’est la vie. Can’t have everything. Hah!
    Van // The Clothes We Wear // Wearing motherhood with style.

  2. Thanks for the sweet sentiments , ya’ll. Gosh, Cathy….a book!? I don’t know. That’d be a tall order. Maybe one day I’ll let loose of my secret manuscript. Haha.

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