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Gerard Butler GALS

The Lottery


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Anyone remember the Leno appearance where Gerry discusses being a "nervous" child? He recounts a few anecdotes where he bungled up when talking to sales people (the size 6 shoe incident, and the "two pints of paraffin" fiasco!). Well, that always made me laugh, because I've always been the same way. The short story below is 100% true... though explaining my thought processes does make me sound like more of a head case than I am...

Anyway, enjoy!

The Lottery

Luck was on my side. I had a good feeling about it.

Still, behind that, I felt the annoyance. Why wouldn't he just get them for me? Why did he feel compelled to make me do it myself? He didn't mind, so what was the big deal?

I sat silently in the passenger seat of the little black Honda Civic, wrestling internally. Beside me, he just waited. He was quiet too, but I could tell that with each passing second his annoyance grew. Each passing second of my inaction.

It was silly. All he had to do was walk up to the counter and ask the cashier. Just a few quick words, and then he'd be done. In and out.

I shook my head. If it was so simple, why didn't I want to do it?

I always hated putting myself in unfamiliar situations. I'd never been the best at talking to strangers. For some reason, my mind would go blank, and I'd have trouble stringing together a coherent sentence. If I didn't have everything planned out in advance, I would be at the mercy of the fates, and that hardly ever ended well. I would end up saying something ridiculous, and walking away, shaking my head, defeated.

I don't know what it was, really. It wasn't as if I was worried about the interaction on a conscious level. I never sat there and mused 'what will they think of me if I say the wrong thing?' I wasn't consciously afraid of looking stupid, because I knew that it was likely I would never see these people again.

There was no way to rationalize my fear, because it wasn't rational.

No. Fear was the wrong word. I certainly wasn't afraid to talk to the cashier in the gas station in front of me. Anxious. I was anxious.

"Are you going to go?" he asked me, finally breaking the silence. His gas tank was full. We needed to get back on the interstate. We were losing precious travel time while I sat with my stupid internal crisis.

"Just hold on a second," I snapped, returning to my thoughts.

It was so stupid. Why should I be freaking out over this? I knew that all I had to do was walk up and make my request, and in thirty seconds the whole thing would be over with. That thought didn't give me comfort though. If anything, it annoyed me more.

This was stupid! Why was I, an intelligent 22 year old woman, hesitant to do this? Why did the thought of talking to anyone face to face cause me so much anxiety?

It had happened all my life. The more I put myself out there, the easier it got, but it never completely went away. The only way I knew to lessen my anxiety and get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible was to run through the interaction in my mind. If I planned exactly what I was going to say and had considered every possible response and what I would say to that, the tension that gripped my chest tightly would ease somewhat.

Therefore, experience was essential. After I'd called and ordered a pizza once, for example, every time thereafter was that much easier. I knew what questions they would ask me. I knew how to answer them. I knew what to expect.

I didn't know what to expect here. I'd never done this before.

"So what do I say?" I turned to him, knowing how ridiculous I sounded.

He sighed, and for the fifth time, dictated the request. "Just say 'I want six quick pick mega millions.'"

I'd played the lottery before, sure. I'd bought scratch-off lotto tickets. I'd even filled out the bubble card, hand selecting my numbers for the mega millions drawing. But, I'd never asked for the "quick pick," where the computer selects the numbers at random for you.

I was out of my depth here. Ironic, considering "œquick pick" was supposed to be the easy option.

"I want six quick pick mega millions. I want six quick pick mega millions." It sounded simple enough as I recited the lines. "And then what?"

"And then she takes the money, gives you the tickets, and you leave." No sigh this time. He could tell that I'd almost gotten up the nerve.

I glanced over at him once more, hoping that he would spontaneously volunteer to go in and retrieve the lottery tickets himself. He didn't. Did he think he was teaching me a life lesson or something with this? I mean, what was this about, really?

He wasn't going to budge.

I had to get these lottery tickets. I was feeling lucky. One of these were going to be the one, I could tell.

With one last chorus of 'this is stupid; you're a grown woman' echoing in my brain, I grabbed the door handle and pulled myself out of the car. I wasn't surprised at all to hear his door open as well as he followed me into the convenience store. He had told me that he would come in with me, but that I was to do all the talking myself.

As I stepped up to the counter, I got a shot of adrenaline, and the last flutterings of the butterflies in my stomach.

'I need six quick pick mega millions. I need six quick pick mega millions. I need six quick pick mega millions. I need six quick pick mega millions. I need six quick pick mega millions.' I must have repeated the key phrase ten times in my head in the span of five seconds.

"Can I help you?" the young female attendant asked politely.

"I need sex--"

My mouth hung open as I heard the slip of my tongue.

One second passed. Two. Three. No recovery.

It was obvious from the look on her face that the cashier had no idea what I was going for. "I can't help you with that..." she mumbled hesitantly.

Luck was not on my side.

I'd done it again.


Edited by AbandonThought
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:funnyup: Great one, Steph!! You should have the added anxiety of hoping your pastor doesn't walk in the store while you're buying lottery tickets! I ease my conscience by promising to tithe 10% of any winnings to church or charity! :lmao:
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Thanks everyone! It's silly how taking 30 minutes to write a little thing like this makes me feel so good inside. Writing truly is what makes me happiest.

And Lisa, thank you for your insight on my first draft! Yes, I agree that it adds something to the story to have the reaction of the clerk. ;)


Edited by AbandonThought
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