Now that I am approaching 50, the possibility of becoming pregnant is a bit alarming, to say the least.  (Drop off a child for me to adopt, however, and I would willingly open my arms for another!).  Since my husband and I chose to not take ‘permanent measures,’ we still must use some protection.

Before I get too far, you need to understand my background.  In short, I am a prude.  After seven children, I am still extremely modest.  Certain things, of which others would think nothing, bring me an irrational amount of embarrassment.  Okay, so understand that I have NEVER IN MY LIFE ever purchased any form of birth control (also factoring in that I wanted God to take the lead in that area).

Fast forward: I was in Orlando over the weekend with a schedule packed full of meetings.  A global worker from Nicaragua convinced me to skip one optional meeting to run to Target with her.  We had exactly 30 minutes to race through, fill our carts, and rush back to the conference.

Since she was in a separate part of the store and I was in a huge city where I know no one except the people in our organization, I figured, Why be such a ninny?  Surely I could buy a box of condoms and no one will ever know.  Yet still being the prudish woman I am, I could not stand there and look at all the options (international panic moment!), so I grabbed one that looked good, tossed it in the cart, and quickly covered it with other items.

My only dilemma was to figure out how to quickly check out without my friend seeing my purchases.  Try as I did to jockey for position at a separate lane, it was apparent that hers was the quickest.  Because we were in a major rush, I pushed my cart in behind hers.

As I put my things on the conveyor belt, I waited until an opportune moment while she was busy with her own purchases to discreetly bury ‘the box’ under a sketch pad I was buying.

That is when, to my dismay, four or five ladies from our Canadian office (in for the same conference) came up from behind me.  I must have looked as guilty as if I had stolen ‘the box.’  Try as I might to distract them, they were fixated on discovering exactly what global workers would buy on their one quick trip to Target.

“Oh!  Chocolate chips…can you not get those where you live?” and so forth.

During my futile attempt to draw their attention away from the conveyor belt, the check-out lady accidentally got carried away and began ringing up my purchases along with my friend’s.  Oh no!  Not the…

The employee, noticing my apparent distress, realized her error and started the process in reverse, taking things out of my friend’s bag and asking me to identify which things were mine.  Yes, the first thing to be lifted high in the air and waved for all to see was ‘the box.’

To my dismay, I then discovered that it was not just any generic box I had chosen, but a big ol’ rainbow selection that said ‘TROJAN PLEASURE PACK’ in bold clear letters.

Yes, folks, that is it.  My moment.  I.  Could.  Have.  Died!  Pregnancy at this stage of life could not be any more embarrassing than that.

So, to continue: what could I do?  I thought of all sorts of clever things after the fact, but in reality all I could do was blush and act like a nut case.  I said nothing.  (Do you know how often I find myself speechless?  NEVER!)  Fumbling to recover, I dropped something, could not figure out how to sign the dumb electronic-credit-card thingy, and just continued to make a fool of myself for the eternity between the ‘event’ and my escape!

Once outside, I sheepishly asked my friend if by any chance she had noticed what I had bought, at which point she and I began to howl with embarrassed laughter.  I could not stop laughing.  I honestly wondered if wetting my pants in the parking lot would be the epilogue to this chapter.

From that moment on, I proceeded to avoid the Canadian Contingent: I never made eye contact with any of them for the next whole day, sat across the chapel from them during worship, etc.  I was thinking, Whew!  I’ll never see them again for a couple of years, and by then surely they will have forgotten! followed by optimistic thoughts of maybe they didn’t notice after all!

But no, at day’s end, as people were saying goodbye, I suddenly found myself strangely surrounded by these good ladies.  Blushing from my toes up to my ears, I stammered some idiotic remark, hoping beyond hope that it was a simple coincidence that they were all around me at the same time.  Then one of the ladies gave me a big hug and asked one simple question: “Are you enjoying your purchases from Target?”

Wide-eyed with horror, I noticed amusement in all their faces followed by a huge BURST of laughter.  Then and only then did I give in and admit my complete embarrassment.  We all shared a mutual laugh as I told the rest of the story, how I had no idea what kind I had bought, how I had never bought such a thing before, how carefully I had tried to hide it, etc. etc.  It just got funnier and funnier.  In the end, I think MANY people were in on the story of my secret purchase.  By the final day of the conference, I would automatically blush whenever I heard any laughter, assuming my story was being told AGAIN.