Bless Your Heart of the Week: Bed, Bath, and Bless

Many days late and several dollars short… especially after I just dropped $16.00 at Whole Foods for a lunch consisting of Carrot Ginger Soup and a tiny kale salad (which I still can’t ENTIRELY get behind by the way… my cousin Rachel has an incredible farm in Southeast Texas and she made a kale salad for Thanksgiving last year that I ate like it was my JOB, but nothing else has come close to that). But here it is... and it's extra long since I'm so late.

This week I made the EPIC mistake of braving Bed Bath and Beyond during back to school season. What was so important for me to acquire that I made this silly decision you ask? A scale. The kind you stand on and it tells you whether or not you are allowed to eat frozen yogurt that day. At least that’s what mine has been telling me lately with the official countdown to Pageant Week being 3 weeks, but more on that later. Getting back on topic, regardless of how depressing that may be, the scale department in the Bath section of this domestic behemoth of a store is where our journey begins.

I had been standing there petrified by my options for about 5 minutes debating whether to go with your normal run of the mill model, or to splurge on something more high tech. I could get a scale that hooks up to wi-fi and sends every reading directly to your phone and records it in an app that also monitors your daily activity. But that seemed a little excessive. It was about this time that a woman, mid-60’s, arrived on the scene. She was petite, and had hair teased up to the heavens. You might could mistake her for a Southern lady, especially with the turquoise top and Capri pants she was sporting, but her gigantic hoop earrings, heavy black eye make up, and telling accent led me to believe the furthest south she had been was South Jersey. She took one of the sample scales off the shelf, put in on the ground, and stepped on it. Then she turns to me:

“144.8.. you see that? 144.8. That’s not my REAL weight of course. I always take off 5 pounds. You know, because I’m wearing my shoes… and these clothes oh my god. I mean, don’t you think?”

I quickly thought to myself “What would my mamma do?” and through a smile replied, “Absolutely. And you don’t forget about those earrings! Those definitely add to it too."

She smiled a smile that looked like I had made her week and said, “You’re so right! You’ve made me so happy today thank you!”

Bless her heart.

I finally decided on a scale that not only tells you how much frozen yogurt you’re allowed to eat, but also uses a new technology that sends currents up through your feet to estimate what percentage of your body is water, what percentage is fat, and what percentage is bone mass (I had a 20% off coupon so why not) and was on my way to check out. Our journey continues in the home cleaning department, which I passed through on my way to the back of the line.

Two girls, roommates, I’m guessing early 20s, were standing amongst the products perplexed by all their options. I guessed early 20s because they didn’t have quite the bright eyed but simultaneously terrified look of your normal entering college freshman… but they did have the look of 2 girls who are moving into their first real New York apartment together but had insisted that their mothers not accompany them on their inaugural Bed Bath and Beyond trip. Rookie mistake… especially since they didn’t even know the difference between glass cleaner and bathroom cleaner.

Bless their hearts.

I make it to the end of the line, and for the love of god I might as well be waiting in line to ride The Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. LONGEST LINE EVER. This picture was taken from halfway back. Craziness. But this gave me ample time to bless the many hearts in need of blessing. For example, a mother and daughter (definitely an entering freshman) in line behind me. This was meant to be “the trip”… you know… THE TRIP. The trip where you get those twin-XL sheets and EVERYTHING else you could possibly need to survive 8 months of living in 114 square feet of space, in addition to those unnecessary decorative throw pillows that you just couldn’t imagine living without (not that I'm speaking from experience of course). But for some reason, all the daughter had deemed necessary to purchase were a few cute storage bins and a shower caddy. The mother was using the long line situation to keep suggesting things she might need as we passed them, to which the daughter would snarkily disagree. The mother was getting frustrated… which just caused the daughter to become more snarky. It seemed that only I knew what was really going on here:

Daughter: Your mother is being pushy because this is the last thing she gets to help you with as her child. Once you go to college you will be an adult, and she will have to sit and wait for you to ASK for her help which, judging by your behavior, is something you won’t actually become wise enough to do till your mid-twenties. Give her this last.

Mom: Your daughter is being so wishy washy in her decision making and refuses to make any big purchases because she is scared. She knows that “the trip” will be the last thing she does before becoming a “college student”, so she wants to put it off as long as possible. I know it would be a lot easier if she would just have a good cry in your arms about it, telling you how she doesn’t feel ready to fly the coop yet, but I’m sorry to tell you that not all daughters are me. I needed my mother EVERY MOMENT of my pre-college prep. Your daughter, on the other hand, is doing that “17 year old thing” where she wants to seem very self sufficient when in reality she’s clinging to her final days as a dependent. Don’t get frustrated. Let her cling. You know you want to.

Perhaps I should have been a therapist. Though I think my patients might ultimately tire of me constantly saying bless your heart in our sessions.

Finally… I reach the front of the line. I look into the eyes of my cashier and ask how she is doing. She looked up at me with dead eyes that suddenly came to life. “You are the first person all day to ask me that”, she said. All I could think was, let’s say it together:

Bless her heart.

Sincerely. Bless. I can't imagine the hell she and her coworkers go through every day during Back to School.

She told me she was doing okay and rang up my scale. A scale that I have since decided to return because when I stepped on it for the first time to weigh myself I almost had an anxiety attack reading all the different numbers and percentages it was throwing at me. Weighing in the morning is stressful enough… I don’t need to have PTSD flashbacks to Pre-Calculus on top of that. But needless to say I’ll be waiting till AFTER the back to school craze dies down. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

In closing, a man has just been arrested and put in hand cuffs right outside of the Midtown Starbucks I am currently sitting in. The only thing separating me from his struggle to get away is a piece of glass. Bless his heart too. Only in New York.

With Grace and Good Humor,

My name is Mary Lane Haskell and my two "claims to fame" are that I have Dolly Parton's fax number and that Reese Witherspoon once liked a post on my Instagram.  I am an actor, a writer, and a profound Chipotle enthusiast making my way in Los Angeles while trying to stay true to my family's southern roots, all with grace and a touch a good humor.  I'm so glad you're here!

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