It was a balmy weekday morning when I went trail running with friends in the forest. Upon my return to the car I received a critical text from my girlfriend – she needed chocolate.
A good boyfriend would stop at a Walgreens or CVS on his way home (no gas-station grade Hershey’s bar would suffice). On this particular day, to get some high-grade dark chocolate wasn’t as easy of a mission as one might think; my only pair of shoes were wet, muddy, and tainted with poison ivy.
If you have ever put sopping wet shoes on your dry feet, you know how gross that can be. I might as well pee in my pants and sit through a Wimbledon tournament. Also, there was no way for me to put my tainted running shoes on without infecting myself with poison ivy oil; I am allergic.
I headed home and the tug-of-war in my head ensued.“She has a car to go get herself some chocolate.” … “I’ll never understand what cramps are like” … “But rashes from poison ivy are hell.” … “How can I expect her to go to the store in her current state?” … “I am covered in sweat–she’ll understand.”
No. She would not understand, so I decided I should do the right thing. I pulled into the first Walgreens on my way home. In that moment I wondered – what if I just go in barefoot?
I remembered that in my youth, I would occasionally see signs at businesses that said, “No shirt, No shoes, No service.” I wondered–when was the last time I saw a sign like that?
I also questioned if I had the audacity to expose my feet to complete strangers. Appearance wise, they are about a 6 out of 10. No warts, bulging bunions, or green toenails.
Deeply concerned about the repercussions of offending someone with my foot odor, getting arrested, or worse, being denied dark chocolate, I had to make a decision. No shoes – here we go!
I moseyed up to the entrance and covertly scanned the front entrance for any signage about shoes. There were none. I entered and walked in short, quick steps thinking if I move them fast enough, nobody will be able to focus on them. Then I realized–I’m not a cartoon.
Within seconds I was elated; there weren’t many patrons. A couple women saw me make a bee-line to the chocolate aisle. Thankfully they didn’t blow my cover and jeopardize the operation.
I grabbed the High-Value Target; a Lindt 78% cacao dark chocolate bar. I proceeded to the checkout. The clerk processed the transaction.
I exited Walgreens. Mission: success.