Condoms for Sale

I admit it; I still get embarrassed buying condoms. Is there anything more awkward to purchase? Probably. But I can’t think of what. I’d rather buy laxatives. Something about placing this very personal item in front of a cashier turns me into a teenager again.

In fact, I’ve employed the same approach since I first had a use for them (*wink wink*). Buy other things, too and no one will notice. I remember my first condom purchase. I bought a small box of condoms and a huge box of Mike and Ikes. Well played, nineteen-year-old Kim.



I got smarter over time, adding more and more items to my cart before paying. The last time I bought them, the total came to about $70. I went to CVS only needing birth control and I walked out with greeting cards, mascara, a seltzer, Band-Aids, Children’s Motrin, markers, and a pack of condoms.

As I stood in line, I studied the scenarios. There were two cashiers, a sixty-something-year-old woman and a teenage boy. My preference, which should go without saying, was the woman, but of course, her current customer had a cart full of stuff and a hand full of coupons. (Who uses a cart at CVS? Seriously.) The customer in front of the teenager was being handed his receipt. Dammit.

Maybe I imagined it, but the boy seemed to examine everything I was buying before placing it into a plastic bag. He didn’t open the Birthday cards, but he checked out which flavor seltzer I favored and the pattern on the Band-Aids (Toy Story, obvi). The box of condoms was strategically placed underneath my greeting cards (so other shoppers wouldn’t see them in my basket), making it one of the last items to be rang up.

I swear I saw him smirk. My face heated and I stared at the card swiping machine, willing it to process faster. It seemed to move slower than usual as it prompted me to answer a gazillion questions. Yes, the total is correct. Yes, charge everything to one card. No, I do not want cash back. Yes, I want to die right now.

I had my son in a stroller so clearly family planning is important to me. And I long since passed the age (and marital status) where being sexually active is appropriate (although I’m still buying Toy Story Band Aids). Plus, at this stage in my life, I just shouldn’t care. Maybe I do, because buying condoms can prompt so many questions: Who is this woman sleeping with? Is she cheating on her husband? How quickly is she going to go through this box? Was that baby a mistake? Is she buying these for someone else?

There’s something scandalous about it. When you buy laxatives, the simple logical conclusion is that someone doesn’t have enough fiber in her diet. Cut back on the cheese, Woman.

Maybe I’m just a prude. Either way, next time I’m going to see if Amazon sells condoms and save myself the embarrassment.

I’m Not Missing Much, Just My Mind

Many of you have heard the term “Pregnancy Brain,” meaning bouts of forgetfulness, or the feeling of being one of the duller knives in the kitchen, experienced frequently when one is expecting. Sadly, this phenomenon of having a mushy brain extends well into motherhood.

Here’s what happened.

About to park in the CVS lot to pick up my prescription, I considered the drive-thru pharmacy. I have never been one for the drive-thru, mainly because I enjoy any opportunity to move around and get some exercise. Yet, being a mother has opened my eyes to the glory that is a human behind a window, who will hand me desired items without having to park, pop the trunk, fling open a stroller, unclip a car seat, and wheel a semi-asleep child into a store for a two-minute errand.

And so, I rolled up to the CVS pharmacy for the first time and waited for assistance. When an employee came to the window, I excitedly asked, “I’ve never used this before. Can I pick up my prescription here?”

“Of course. Last name?”

“Crow. C-R-O-W. Like the bird.”

“Mm, I don’t see anything. What are you picking up?”

At my 6 week post-partum doctor’s appointment, my nurse practitioner objectively asked what form of birth control I was considering taking from this point forward. Since we’re happy with two children, my husband and I have discussed scheduling him a vasectomy, but who has time to coordinate that? I opted for the pill, knowing full well I was making a commitment to take an eraser-sized tablet daily during the same hour for a, at best, twice-a-month activity. She filled my prescription.

“Um, it’s birth control. I have no idea what it’s called. Nore-something-a-thine? It should be my only prescription.”

“The computer says the next time you can fill that is on May tenth.”

“That’s impossible. My last pack ran out on Sunday. I was supposed to take my first pill yesterday.” Would you like to know more about my cycle, CVS Lady? Because apparently I’m all about sharing this information.

“Well, last pick up was April twenty-third.”

“That was Saturday. I didn’t pick it up this weekend–”


I’m an idiot. I was totally at this very CVS three days ago.

“Oh, uh, never mind. I’m sorry. I’m all set.”

This episode came days before I told my husband we needed that “round, flat bread” to make our daughter a quesadilla, because I couldn’t for the life of me remember the word tortilla. Forgetting common words, more than anything, seems to be the most problematic and frequent hurdle of parental absent-mindedness. It’s also the most annoying, because it comes out of nowhere, when you’re midsentence, and about to make a point.

When it happens in public, I want to reaffirm that I’m not an imbecile, my mind is just deteriorating from the constant negotiations with my toddler and the mental juggling act that is keeping track of a baby’s always-changing eating and sleeping schedule (and by schedule, I mean habits).

Sometimes I forget when I last fed my son, or how long his morning nap was. Did he nurse both breasts before he fell asleep? I don’t know, because I was checking Facebook. Sometimes I need a break. If I don’t take breaks, I may begin to forget more things, like what errands I ran a few days ago.

I’m already crossing my fingers that employee at CVS isn’t working on May 10th!