One day at work, I discovered a small spot on my finger that concerned me, because I hadn’t noticed it before.
The spot turned out to be nothing, but before I knew it was nothing, every day I would put ointment on it and then stick a band-aid on my finger.
I bought the ointment at an independent health food store on the corner near my apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The owner of the health food store didn’t like me for some reason. He fumed whenever I came in. He was a young, serious-looking guy with a goatee.
I bought a lot of organic vegetables there. I’d been having anxiety attacks at work and was striving to improve my overall health. So my boyfriend, who later became my husband, and I made salads together every day using the organic vegetables.
The serious-looking guy never said what his deal was with me, but whenever he rang up my vegetables, he’d launch into an explanation of where the organic produce came from and then shake his head and scowl like he didn’t approve of me, presumably about something I had done. I was a good customer, so I didn’t understand. Okay, maybe I did understand—he was a dick. But he sold excellent organic produce.
It turns out that the health food store got their organic vegetables from a local farm and he wanted to make sure all his customers got a chance to buy them—not just me. I guess I bought too many organic vegetables—broccoli and lettuce and tomatoes and cucumbers, et cetera—and I was supposed to feel ashamed that I was buying too much. He was food-shaming me, even though it looked like there was plenty to go around. Surely, there were other people in the neighborhood making salads every day.
I had a boring job at a famous university. I was a staff assistant. I was twenty-eight years old. I did typing and filing and menial shit. That’s where the anxiety attacks came from.
One day at the job, we got a new photocopier. It came with an instruction manual and had a lot of stupid buttons, and I was so bored, I photocopied my hands.
Here it is. You can see the band-aid covering up the spot that turned out to be nothing.
© 2018 by Alice Blanchard