Out of my Element

With two weeks left until my trip to Haiti, I had a couple of very important things to buy prior to taking off. One was a mosquito net. After doing some online searches, I found that I could purchase one at my local REI store. Sunday afternoon my daughter and I headed out in the balmy 100 degree weather of Arizona set out for REI. I consider myself a seasoned shopper; I can find anything on my own whether it be in Ann Taylor or Lowe’s. I rarely ask for help. I get some crazy sense of accomplishment when I can find anything in any store.

We walked in to REI, I think I made it about 10 feet inside the front door, and immediately froze. This was a foreign land. And there were a lot of people! People that looked like they belonged, you know the type. They were all so healthy and natural looking, like they eat granola for all 3 meals. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I decided I should pull out my critical thinking skills. If I were a mosquito net, where would I be? To the left I noticed a wall of sleeping bags. Literally, a WALL. Sleeping bags. Mosquito nets are used for sleeping…Aha! I began to weave my way through the throngs of Teva and Keen wearing camping types. After spending about 10 minutes (maybe it was an hour!) going up and down the aisles near the sleeping bags I didn’t see a single mosquito net. Realizing that I didn’t really know what a mosquito net looks like (Would it be in a box, bag, plastic? Would there be a big picture of a mosquito net on the front?) I wanted to make sure that I looked at everything, much to the dismay of my daughter who asked on more than one occasion  “Why don’t you just ask someone?”. Silly girl.

Feeling a bit deflated I decided I would need to venture out into the heart of the store. I looked up and saw a sign suspended from the ceiling that read “Camping”. Like a beacon in a storm I knew I was headed in the right direction. After circling the full size tent erected in the “Camping” area for a few minutes I finally found the mosquito nets! Hallelujah! After spending the next 10 minutes agonizing over which one to buy, we made the decision and my confidence was restored. So much so that I decided I would find and purchase some super duper DEET product and afterbite. I decided on the 30% DEET, as I was afraid the 90% would repel humans as well, and made my way to the cash register. I proudly put my mosquito net, afterbite, and bug repellant on the counter feeling a rush of accomplishment. I left the store with my little bag of goodies, head held high,and with my new REI lifetime membership card tucked in my wallet.


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