My step-dad had me take us over to the closest Cabela’s, with me driving his white Ford pickup. Now, my step-dad has a habit of giving driving directions–quite loudly–to anybody, regardless of their driving experience. It was no different for me, and I had the pleasure of hearing his two cents all the way to the store.
I opened the double-doors and stepped inside, my step-dad leading the way with a “no shenanagins” look on his face. He was apparently in his element here. Me? Less so…As soon as I made it past the entrance, nearly every customer and employee–all decked out in so much camo you’d think we’d visited the national park–lifted their head to see who came in, like rows and rows of prairie dogs. I was sure that they could smell my inexperience from the parking lot. Middle-aged men wielding fishing poles and hunting bows fixed their gaze on us, sizing us up before turning back to their conversations.
With me being me, I have a strong tendency to “fake it ’til I make it” in any unfamiliar situation, and that’s exactly what I did in Cabela’s. I’m not a complete noob–I have shot rifles dozens of times, and I’ve gone with friends on their family hunting trips. Still, I didn’t know a whole lot. My step-dad had brought in the bow that a friend had gifted him, hoping to get repairs for the frayed string-part (is there a name for that?) along with purchase some arrows for target practice in our backyard. I wandered beside him like a lost puppy, casting my glance at the rows of fancy arrow attachments and packages of other nifty hunting trinkets. I even picked up a few of the packages, furrowing my brow as I pretended to scrutinize the details and price tags. Oh yeah, I looked like an absolute pro.
My step-dad wandered off with a salesperson to discuss the details of the bow, so I was left to my own devices. I walked through the aisles, still keeping close to where my step-dad had gone, scrutinizing some more, even nodding my head and mumbling quietly to myself to really convince any customers who happened to look over at the crazy woman talking to herself and getting touchy-feeling with price tags.
After about twenty minutes of standing and pretending to look like I know what I’m doing, another family comes in and gets in the waiting line near me, ready to purchase a bow for their eight-year-old daughter that was with them. I keep my eyes averted so the family won’t notice the inexperience shining in them. Alas, the woman in the line turned to me and said, “Oh, is bow-hunting a favorite of yours, too?”
Of course, I completely blew my own cover and replied with, “Oh no, this is my step-dad’s hobby. I’m not much of a bow-wielder.” Along with a nervous smile, I felt my cheeks go crimson as the woman gave me an understanding nod and a grin, then turned back to her family.
“I’m not much of a bow-wielder”… That will haunt my dreams forever.
After my step-dad has his fun in the shooting-range with his spiffy, fixed-up bow, we head to the checkout counter. He grabs a box of shotgun shells along the way, as well as a few t-shirts from the clothing section. I grab two shirts for myself, and we make our purchases. I feel the eyes of customers still boring into the back of my head as we head back out to the parking lot. We drive back home, and our shopping trip is done.
My step-dad asked me as we were going inside the house, ” So what were you doing while I was busy?”
“Oh, nothing. Just shopping around. By the way, can you tell me some stuff about that bow you have? Maybe teach me to use it? Oh, and where’s my camo hat and Guy Harvey shirt? The next time we go there, I’m going in prepared!”