There are times when we need to take stock of ourselves and look at things that might be some of our strengths to build on and things that might be some of our weaknesses to work on in our lives.
I look at some things in my life and have to admit to a couple of things, some who know me know, I'm not very good at doing.
One of these things is being a passenger in a car. I'm not a good, nor do I like being, a car passenger. There are times I know I'm too tired to drive, or that it's not my turn to drive, or someone else knows the way better than I do. Those instances put me in the passenger seat, but if I had my druthers, I'd choose driving over riding. It's funny, though, I have no problem being a passenger on a bus or plane. I've been on a number of school bus trips, coach bus trips, and have flown often, and have enjoyed those travel experiences, but I'm not a good car passenger.
J. Paul Lombardo
Another of my weaknesses that I'll elaborate upon in this piece comes in most instances of shopping. I'm not a good shopper. I don't mean I spend too much when I shop ... I mean I don't like to shop.
There are times when Sally is working and I'm not, and she'll ask me to run to the grocery store and pick up some things. I go into grocery stores on occasion, but when Sally is doing the shopping and I'm the driver (remember I'm a lousy passenger), I don't pay too much attention to where certain canned goods, dry goods or sundry products are located, so when she asks me to go by myself to get some things, I can be described as the greatest zig-zag shopper in Western New York.
I'm always handed a list of items to buy, but never a map so I can plan out my trip first and attack the aisles when entering the store. I know there are signs at the ends of aisles, but if I had the map of the store first, I could strategize and cut my time considerably. That, plus not knowing which size to buy if they don't have the listed one, or what to substitute for items out of stock, become situations which have me calling Sally from the store more than one (or two, or three) times, thus further extending my experience in the store, making me appreciate times spent in the dentist's chair. (No disrespect to my dentist.)
My idea of shopping is to enter a store, go directly to the department where items I need/want are located, grab them (quickly trying on clothing if shopping in that department) head to the checkout and leave the store. Ideally, 30 minutes should be ample time to accomplish my mission.
Sally and I used to spend a day (that's one day) in early November doing most of our Christmas Shopping. We had a prepared list, we went into the store, headed toward the departments which carried those items, filled the cart, checked out and headed for the car. I admit those days were fun as I always made it a challenge to accomplish at least 85-90 percent of our shopping in that one day. Often times, Sally had most of the gifts wrapped before we had the tree up (which always goes up Thanksgiving Friday.) We enjoyed a nice lunch together and, again, it was kind of fun ... but for that day only. As Christmas got closer, I didn't want to be anywhere near a store. There were a couple of times we did the Black Friday thing, but that was only a couple of times, and I won't do it again. (I've become a huge fan of gift cards. And why is it still called Black Friday, when it now starts on a Thursday?)
A recent shopping experience with Sally had us in a Chautauqua Mall store where Sally was shopping for a new coat, other clothes and some items offered in a discount coupon booklet she had purchased as part of a fundraiser. As we walked through the store, and specifically, the ladies' department, I observed a number of men who accompanied their spouses/girlfriends, and I noticed that none of those men had smiles on their faces. Many were leaning on clothes' racks, occasionally glancing at their watches, or somberly waiting outside the dressing room, probably dreading when she came out and uttered one of the "can't win" questions so many husbands/boyfriends dread, such as, "How do I look in this?" (I've always thought ladies' departments should include cushioned benches and televisions showing sports outside ladies' fitting rooms.)
Another dreaded situation happened to me (not the first time) when Sally remembered something she left in the fitting room and asked me to watch the cart, so there I stood hanging on to a cart with items of women's clothing (including several undergarments on top), and a purse, which, by the way, didn't match a thing I was wearing. I feared looking up at people who passed me by, wondering what they might be thinking.
So, as with being a passenger in a car on a long trip, shopping is not on my top 10 "Favorite Things to Do," list, but for all the sporting events with which Sally has accompanied me, and all the ball games on television she's unselfishly sat through, and just for putting up with me, I know my going shopping for (and with) her doesn't come anywhere near to leveling it off, so I guess ... no ... I know, it's worth it.