I enter Target in search of a Red Single Serving Keurig that I had returned the prior day. I can’t be sure why I returned such a thoughtful gift, only that I couldn’t sleep after having done so. It felt wrong and that feeling had no need for permanence.
I ask an associate about the general direction of the Keurigs and she’s very patient with my confusion over the obviousness of their nearness. We both smile and share a laugh before I release eye contact. These moments aren’t lost on me, because they matter. They help me reestablish that 1 or 200 people don’t make up the entirety of my interactions.
I walk across the aisle approximately 30ft and I exhale at the sight of crayon red. Son of a bitch, I mutter. My sister never needs to know I returned her gift. I kneel down like a catcher awaiting the first strike of the game. My general mannerisms have seldom been delicate or welcoming. I am aware that the wideness of my stance signals a territory that I have claimed. A territory of mini Keurigs, charcoal filters, and K-cup pods featuring every logo except Nike.
There are 5 yellow boxes and 3 red ones. I rearrange the yellow boxes by crowding them all on the top shelf located 4ft from the ground. I then hoard the remaining 3 red boxes on a shelf only 6inches off of the ground. The two shelves create an emotional barricade against poachers. I examine each box for imperfections. One box is collapsed on a corner, so I discard it. The other 2 boxes seem identical. I pick up one box and examine each corner. I pick up the second box and examine each corner. Both boxes are like Sophie’s choice and I don’t wish to leave the wrong one behind. I ponder another form of comparison, because my actions might be the cataclysmic event that facilitates an additional trauma for which probable blame would outweigh the trauma itself. In that moment I am unaware of my underlying motivation. In that moment I am propelled by my systematic analysis that can be categorized under self-soothing behavior.