Mrs. G. and I tend to do a lot of activities together, but there are limits. Last week, she asked if I wanted to go with her to return deposit bottles, and as exciting as that sounded, I declined. I’ve also begged off on mutual yoga classes, shopping trips and most events that end with the suffix “fest.” I don’t think those are unusual proceedings on which to take a pass, although the specifics might vary from husband to husband.
Last week, we were hanging around the house after lunch when she asked if I wanted to go downtown with her to pick up some shampoo. This sounded especially awful, but my curiosity was piqued as to why we had to go into the city for shampoo. Shampoo is sold everywhere. Gas stations that sell donuts sell shampoo. “We can stop off and get coffee afterward,” she said, knowing that there are a bunch of good coffee shops downtown and that I enjoy walking around the city taking pictures, so off we went.
I parked behind Hart’s Grocers, which is a small grocery store that reminds me of grocery stores either in Europe or right here, albeit right here in the 1960s. It’s not a sprawling megastore with fifty-three varieties of oatmeal plus the parking is free (a rarity in the city) so win/win on my part. We walked in the back entrance and picked up a few items that are not sold at Wegman’s, but of particular interest to me was the sale counter. Typically these counters have marginally out-of-date baked goods but they also had a basket of shampoo for eighty-nine cents a bottle, which was cheaper by more than half compared to what I normally buy. I’m not that fussy about shampoo since no matter what I do, my hair usually looks as if I washed it in an airport bathroom and dried it with one of those hurricane-force hand dryers, so why bother? I could wash my hair with Tide and it would look the same
“Look … look … eighty-nine cent shampoo!” I said with the same enthusiasm as a kid presented with a pony on his birthday. The shampoo passed the smell test so I was sold. I even mentioned this incredible bargain to the cashier during the requisite checkout small talk.
“I’m really pumped about this eighty-nine cent shampoo,” I told her as she scanned a bag of tropical muesli. She politely nodded and scanned the rest of the items. I could see that she was also interested in this shampoo deal, but she kept a poker face lest I turn around and buy the rest of it.
Mrs. G. was done looking around, so we put the bags in the trunk and completely abused our free parking privilege by walking three blocks to the salon that was holding her special shampoo. I was still blathering on about the tremendous value I got on my own shampoo as we strolled, all city-like, down the avenue. “Eighty-nine cents. Can you believe it? Eighty-nine cents!”
We walked into the salon, and I immediately felt about as comfortable as a hooker in a convent, so I let Mrs. G. know that I’d be outside. I didn’t need to be judged on my airport sink hair that looked as if it had been washed with a complete lack of essential oils from rarified tree nuts or whatever secret ingredients are contained in salon-level shampoo.
After what felt like the appropriate amount of time needed to buy a bottle of shampoo, I went back in the shop but noticed that Mrs. G. now had four bottles of various hair potions lined up on the counter, so I went back outside, giving the transaction enough time to run its course.
I came back in right as the shampoo apothecarist casually mentioned the total, which was a little more than the eighty-nine cents I spent on my bottle of hair soap. I should point out that the second thing I’ve learned as a husband is to never, ever, discuss the cost of female hair care or hair products with my wife. Guys, this is a losing argument from the very first syllable so don’t even try and certainly don’t ever ask. This is their thing, much the same as we have golf or cameras or cars or fishing poles or whatever other guy-vice we might have.
“So, want to get a cup of coffee?” I asked. This was a nice dodge if I do say so myself. I’ve been married since 1982. I’ve learned well.
“Sure,” she said, so we walked over to the coffee shop where I ordered two cups of coffee and a cookie. We both sat at a small bistro table near the window and enjoyed our mid-afternoon break while watching the eclectic mix of students, residents and the usual assortment of downtown oddballs as they came and went. I felt right at home here, given my own oddball tendencies.
After finishing our coffee and bussing the table of our cups and saucers, we walked back to the car, she swinging her handled bag full of hair products and me snapping pictures. All in all, a much better outing than returning deposit bottles.
When we got home, I dumped the bottle of eighty-nine cent shampoo into the empty one-quart pump bottle I had been saving from my all-purpose shower soap. Pump bottles absolutely rule in a shower situation. I highly recommend them.
Two days later, Mrs. G. and I went out to a garden store and bought a few things in anticipation of warmer spring weather being right around the corner. We also spent a solid ten minutes trying on various straw hats and taking selfies, which I texted to our daughter so she could be even more convinced that we were going senile. The moment we got home, my wife took off on her own to “pick up a few things” from Bed Bath and Beyond.
I don’t expect to see her for days.