On a bright winter Saturday, I got in my car and headed to Lowe's. I welcomed the prospect of shopping in a real store versus online. A freshly laundered mask gave me a little boost of confidence. The sun was shining and it was the weekend. Possibilities seemed endless.
I was on a mission to find a bidet and install it myself. In less than ten minutes, like the website promised. "A luxury you can afford!" the ad said. "Try the Tushy Classic" advised another consumer blurb.
I'd just celebrated a 60-something birthday and wanted to mark the occasion with a toilet accessory. I'd been mildly curious about the virtues of the bidet and now I wanted to unravel the mystery.
It was time.
Today was The Day.
What I didn't bargain for, though, was the ordeal I would have finding the doggone gadget.
Head for Plumbing, I reasoned, steering my cart like I actually knew my way around the big box store of All Things Hardware.
Finding the toilets and all the accoutrements, I felt sure I could locate the bidet section. The hunt, however, proved elusive.
I'd have to ask for help.
Before I could go searching for a red-vested associate, a red-vested associate approached me. A bearded one, with a helpful smile and a booming voice: "May I help you, ma'am?" he thundered.
I wanted to disappear.
How could I tell a man I was shopping for a bidet?
I hadn't figured in the plethora of red-vested men for my plumbing safari.
"Just browsing, thanks!" I breezily replied.
I'd need a woman for this. A woman would understand these things.
Steering my cart through the aisle with a million PVC pipes, I persevered until I saw the Customer Service Desk. I waited in line, standing dutifully on the six-feet-apart-X, rehearsing what I would say.
"Where do you keep the bidets?" I'd say. Like I was asking for cabinet knobs, or area rugs. I'd say it calmly, casually.
Finally it was my turn at the counter and thankfully, a woman greeted me behind the Covid-issue plastic.
"Where do you keep the bidets?" I asked. Only, through the cloth mask I wore, it sounded more like, "Whar do you sheep the Big A's".
"WHAT?" she said through the muffle of her mask, "The filets?"
I hadn't counted on this. My plans to casually whisper were thwarted.
WHERE DO YOU KEEP THE BIDETS? I repeated. DO YOU HAVE BIDETS? I shouted through my mask, through the plastic barrier, to the Entire Universe.
"Oh," she said.
And then, turning to another female associate, she hollered, "WHERE DO WE KEEP THE BIDETS!"
This was going downhill fast. I considered disappearing through the floor. Instead, I felt my ears turning red, burning with shame and regret.
Before I could plan my escape, I heard the female associate tap-tap-tapping her computer screen, determined to hook me up with my very own toilet seat attachment.
"Aisle 40-B, look for the end cap. We have a couple of different styles."
Pushing my cart through a ridiculous amount of light switches and dimmers, I felt my shopping savvy ebbing away. Now everybody knew why I was there.
When I finally located my quarry, it was a disappointing selection of hand-held sprayers. I wanted a button system, preferably with temperature control.
They didn't have the one I wanted.
Defeated and deflated, I pulled my mask down for a quick breath of air. Inhaling a combo of sawdust, oil, paint and testosterone, I headed for the garden department. I just wanted to leave the store with some of my dignity intact.
I selected a small succulent for my desk at the office.
At the checkout, I noticed the irony of my huge red cart with just one small plant in the child seat.
Walking to my car, I promised myself all future bidet-hunting would take place online.
Thank you very much and have a nice Bid-Day.
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