The other day, I noticed a 14-inch snake-like strip of rubber in my driveway. It's been there since late January and I have noticed it several times before, always when I am in a rush on my way to or from somewhere, which at least partly explains why I haven't picked it up.
It's a strip off my driver's side windshield wiper blade. It peeled away a few days prior to ending up in the driveway. It spent the interim period wedged in an awkward way under the bug deflector on the hood of my van. I have no idea exactly when or how it fell off, but fall it did and there it has been ever since.
Spotting that strip again reminded me of how long I went with a compromised wiper blade. I knew that it needed replaced and am perfectly capable of replacing it on my own, but the only time I ever thought about it needing replaced was when it was actively raining and it was easy enough to convince myself to wait to buy the replacement until it was sunny again. "I'll remember to grab one the next time I'm in Kmart," I'd lie to myself.
Anyway, the breaking point came one day during a deluge about a month ago, when I was nearly blinded while out doing errands. I was lecturing myself about how ridiculous and unsafe it was that I had not replaced the wiper blade already. I was weighing whether to go to AutoZone or Kmart. Kmart might be cheaper, but their auto parts section is often poorly stocked. AutoZone has a history of irritating me because the staff there apparently finds it novel that a woman knows how to buy and install a headlight bulb or windshield wiper blade. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, right?
While doing all this deliberating, I pulled into the teeny (three store) strip mall where Dollar General is since there were items I was absolutely sure I needed there. As I was sitting there, still berating myself about not getting blades sooner and nagging myself to make sure I did it this very day, I realized that there is a Carquest auto parts store right there.
This store has been in town for years, but used to be just off of Main Street. I had never gone into it in either location and just kind of don't see it at all. I am a creature of habit and also, still, shy at times about going into a new place--even though I am chronologically, allegedly a grown up. This shyness was exacerbated by the fact that this is not only a new place, but a new place where, by virtue of my gender, I might call extra attention to myself.
But still, the store was right there and I desperately needed a windshield wiper blade. Going into this store, unfamiliar though it was, would save me an additional stop, not to mention a long, wet walk across the parking lot of either AutoZone or Kmart. It was absurd that I was even considering not going in.
So I insisted to myself, in no uncertain terms, that I was going to get a grip and go into Carquest right then and get myself a pair of wiper blades, damn it.
I am happy to report that I did just that, but not until I had spent another ten minutes working the nerve up to do it.
I could've filed this under "P" for procrastination or "S" for social anxiety or even "S" for sexism, actual and/or anticipated, but instead, let's file it under:
W is for Windshield Wiper