These days, the least embarrassing thing we can admit about ourselves is that we have a therapist. Hell, most of us have a couple of them! We’ve unravelled the mind over hundreds of years and thousands of traumas. It’s your job as a citizen of the future to exploit that research. If you don’t already have a therapist, in preparation for Trump’s America, I’m formally recommending you get one. If only for the Xanax prescription you’ll need this holiday season.
“Portland’s the biggest small town there is!” -Everyone ever
Hypothetically, you may run into your therapist in public. I just want you to be prepared, you know, in case it happens. Maybe you’re aimlessly contemplating grander next steps. Maybe it’s your fourth grocery store of the day because you can’t get your ingredients for the week right and it makes you doubt your ability to do anything right. Maybe you’re killing time until you feel it’s acceptable to down a whole bottle of rosé on your couch.
That’s when you see him. You’re midway down the aisle, staring at the different kinds of soup and wondering why they discontinued that brand of curry you liked. He rounds the corner in his hipster glasses by this week’s end cap boasting a sale on organic peanut butter. You freeze. Spin around with your back to him. Shuffle away. What do you do? Well here’s for damn sure: The answer isn’t skirt the edges of the fucking Whole Foods to the bathroom. The answer isn’t proceeding to hide there for 20 minutes until you feel like he’s gone. Hypothetically, if that was something you did or were thinking of doing, here are four things you could have done instead.
1. Say Hello
This is by far the most obvious. Most people have reasons to go into Whole Foods. Even if you’re at it again with the casual eating disorder, you could be there for bubble bath or wine or t-shirts or dog food. He signed off on your anxiety dog. He’d be glad to know you’re still feeding it. “Hey Dr.Blah Blah. Good to see you eat. Yeah so does my dog! Well bye!” That’s all you needed to do. Instead, you’re sitting in the bathroom, wondering if his basket is full. He didn’t even have a cart! It cannot possibly take much time to fill a basket.
2. Wave and Walk Directly to the Cashier
Slightly weirder, but you’re not reaching completely ludicrous territory here. Just toss a waive, pick a soup, toss it in the basket, and head for the guy whose wife has the same birthday as you. Yeah, you come to this Whole Foods a lot. Maybe grab some La Croix before you leave. You’ll be pretty pissed in the morning if you don’t get that.
3. Ignore Him and Collect the Rest of Your Groceries
Sometimes people just don’t see each other. You get over it. If you still want to pick up a few things, but not engage in conversation, then proceed. Sniff citrus, analyze squash, and compare cheeses. All up to you. Keep your eyes solely on inanimate objects. The next person you make eye contact with will be the cashier. You can’t risk accidently bumping into him in front of the orange juice, right?
4. Drop All Your Shit and Bail
Alright nutzo, this is just one level below hiding in the bathroom, but it’s still better. The second your hands start to sweat and panic rises in your stomach, drop the basket where you stand and book it for the car. I mean, in a casual nonchalant way. You shop here all the time and you don’t want the employees to see you get weird about it. When you’re in the car, listen to Hit the Switch by Bright Eyes because you’re nothing if not a cliché. Repeat “No one saw anything” until you get home and just pop that damn rosé.
So, a zombie apocalypse, a surprise pregnancy, and seeing your therapist in public: always have a plan. Avoid sitting in the Whole Foods bathroom for twenty minutes or honestly any public bathroom. Not that I know from experience, but the reception is terrible and you’re most likely locked in a concrete cell with your own depreciative thoughts until the world seems safe. Is that what hell is?