I don’t mind shopping. I know, it’s weird for a guy, but if my wife wants to go shopping, I don’t have a problem going with her (until I don’t want to be their anymore, but that’s a different issue for a different day). I do a lot of the grocery shopping too. I go to the local supermarkets, Wal**Mart, Target, etc. What I dread doing at the store is checking out.
Living with depression involves hiding it, acting normal, acting as though there aren’t any problems at all, that everything is just swell. Deep down inside, I know it isn’t. When you go to check out, the cashier asks one of two things.
- Did you find everything you were looking for?
- How are you?
I don’t mind answering question 1. It’s a fair question. Maybe I couldn’t find what I was looking for and had just decided not to bother looking for it. Even at that stage, I am sure that the cashier would either direct me to where I can quickly get it, or get somebody to get it for me. Which has happened. Most of the time, it’s just “Found everything I needed” and we proceed through the transaction.
But question 2, I don’t like question 2. First off, they really aren’t that interested in the answer. They’re just trying to be friendly. I don’t know them, they don’t know me. They could say something in dothraki since all they’re doing is filling the void. It’s an “um”, but only longer and more intrusive. Secondly, if I really did feel like answering, they don’t want to hear my answer.
As I said before, living with depression is acting as though everything is OK. I’m not going to stand their and tell this stranger that I hate myself, that life sucks, that most probably I have thought about what it would if I were dead. These poor, minimum wage workers truly have no interest in hearing it. If it were all sunshine and lollipops, well, great, isn’t life just wonderful and grand, and it feeds right into their sunny dispositions. If I say how I truly feel, they would make it their personal mission to try and cheer me up. I don’t want to hear it.
And I don’t like to lie. I’m not saying I’m the most morally upright person to walk the earth since Jesus Christ himself, but lying always makes me uncomfortable. It’s too easy to tell little lies, and little lies become big lies. Even though it’s meaningless to this poor cashier, I don’t want to lie about how things really are.
What do I do? I end up ignoring the question and act as though I didn’t hear it. And the cashier will have moved on and started ringing up the items, no longer having the need to fill those five seconds with inane banter.