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  • It isn't that my life is filled with uncomfortable moments, it's that my life is one very long, uncomfortable moment.

    I exit the grocery store overpaying for a list of ingredients to a baking experiment I would later fail. (A cost, it must be said, that would not only have equalled three professionally made cakes, but one that would have resulted in pastries that didn't look like they were baked by a three year old with a strong case of restless hands syndrome.) Nonetheless, I am proud of the mild achievement in not giving in to the store bought variety and decide I will browse the neighborhood stores for fun. Browsing is not in my nature, but neither is baking. So today, I am a new woman.

    I enter the store and immediately find a major fault in my decision: it's a pet food store, and you can't exactly browse this place without actually owning a pet. The owner and his wife smile from behind the counter. They're young and hispanic and I only assume they are a couple because they fit so well together. I give them a nod I usually do when I'm nervous, a bad habit of mine that often times makes me look like a chola extra from the movie 'Stand and Deliver.' As I begin my exit strategy it happens.

    "You're our first customer!"

    Yes, of course I am. I smile, sigh and make my way toward an aisle of kibble. Because now I'm forced to buy something, after all no one wants to be the jerk that curses their financial success. I pick up the first thing I see: a small bag of organic cat food I've never heard of, and cheer up on the way to the counter. I mean when are you ever a store's first customer? I even think about what I'll sign on the dollar they'll be sure to tack on the wall, 'Good luck! Hope business doesn't get too Ruff!!! Smiley face with cat ears. Ani M.' And I imagine the people that will come in after, how they'll assume Ani M. must have been an incredibly witty lady coming up with such an appropriate pun for the occasion. And yes, they would be right. The owner begins to ring me up.

    "So you have cats?" says his wife smiling.

    "No," I say too quickly, then immediately catch myself. Their eyes look up at me for a moment and there's a second or two of silence. "I mean, I'm cat sitting." I lie, "My roommates are on vacation," another lie, " they will be gone for a week and a half." A very specific lie.

    The owners respond with the careful, thin-lipped smile of someone that knows you're lying, but doesn't want to call you on your bullshit.

    "That'll be twenty-five dollars," says the owner.

    That's right, twenty-five dollars for a small bag of cat food. I hand them the two bills. They don't ask me to sign it. They don't tape it to the wall or ask for a cheesy picture of me handing them the bill.

    "Thanks a lot," I say with a thin lipped smile.
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