after a while of not being able to write anything on the blog, my head is now swimming with ideas.
some of these are admittedly, as some of *h’s british friends would say, absolute shite, but i still feel compelled to bang them out on the keyboard.
i realized today that any time i think of an off-the-wall happening that doesn’t have a defined place, the perfect setting for it is always walmart.
i know that walmart has its share of detractors because they are taking over the world or don’t pay for employee healthcare or whatever, but that is a much loftier discussion than i am about to have.
because i want to talk about the wack-jobs who go to walmart.
seriously, why is it that regardless of the neighborhood or ethnic make-up or anything else any walmart you walk into will be a living breathing metaphor for the armpit of the universe?
i have gone to thrift stores and discount stores and hardware stores and lots of other types of stores, but none of them compare to walmart for the variety of characters you will find on any given day.
frankly i have been to prisons that have more mainstream and well-adjusted people than the local walmart.
but nowhere will you get a big fat juicy slice of americana like you will at walmart.
when they say it takes all kinds of people to make a world, i think “they” had walmart in mind…
maybe walmart should embroider that on the blue aprons…
it literally would not surprise me to walk in one day and see an aisle devoted to domestic violence. or an end-cap promo for gifts to send loved ones in jail. crack pipes in the jewelry case. and then some loud employee screaming into the paging system (why do they always scream? do they really not understand how the paging thing works? that it magnifies your voice???), “SOMEONE NEEDED IN JURY!”
did you ever try asking a walmart employee for something really normal? often they will give you the crazy eye. like, “WTF? did you just ask me for tomato soup? do you think we carry tomato soup? does this look like a place that would have TOMATO SOUP?!?!?!?!?!?!”
and then they walk you down like 75 aisles. places you know darn well don’t have what you are looking for- not only because you have been down those very aisles before, but because they have absolutely no relationship to the item in question.
so even in somalia or puerto rico or on jupiter or wherever this employee came from, tomato soup is probably not an auto part and is most likely not an office supply either.
so then you have a whole moral dilemma about whether or not you could ditch this unhelpful helper and just serve the kids vegetarian vegetable soup, which is really a tomato-based soup, and anyway has noodles in the shape of alphabet letters which are not only delicious but also educational, but this employee is still wandering around like the biblical jews in the desert and you just hope this won’t take 40 years…
ok. you stop the cart and guiltily mumble some lame thing like, “oh, you know what? i have to do carpool soon. it’s okay. i didn’t really need the soup. it’s fine…” and you can barely meet his eyes because you have just wasted like half of his shift touring remote areas of the store where he probably isn’t even allowed to be and now you are breaking up with him and he is looking at you like he makes commission on soup and he has 19 kids to feed.
but then he keeps looking at the shelves! and you don’t know if he got it or not that you have just released him from servitude or not and you kind of slunk away one foot at a time and as soon as you are out of the aisle you make a run for it…
except that you need other items.
and what if he sees that you are still shopping?
that you are doing it without him?
so you hide behind the bearded woman and the guy with the facial tattoos and the 7 year olds with nasty stuff written on the behinds of their hip-hugger pants.
you grab 99 products whose first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup and that is just in the paper goods aisle.
you get another 274 things you don’t need, but it’s okay because each thing costs only 83 cents.
you continue the duck-and-weave evasive maneuvers, but luckily nobody notices your erratic behaviour because they are either too high or too involved in their own personal dramas.
the parole officer in aisle 12 is hot on the trail of someone in aisle 18, but someone else’s loud girlfriend is so busy making a scene about her nail salon that everyone in aisles 15, 16, and 17 are enraptured and blocking foot traffic.
several motherless children skulk around with vacant expressions, looking suspiciously like refugees from a war-torn country, until some random woman shows up and starts issuing threats and directives about what they should be doing. she will inevitably spew some classic crazy line, like, “i’ll leave you here. you want to stay up in this walmart? i’ll do it too!” and there will always be that one mother standing on the sidelines nodding her head in agreement and you feel like you’ve truly landed in the twilight zone.
if you make it to the line, it will be 61 people long, and each of them will have overflowing baskets (just like you do) (okay- except for that one asian person who has three items and gets just exactly what they need and never more and always just enough. what is that???). each and every person who gets in line behind you will glare and glower at you after they appraise the number of items in your basket and then they will stand in stony silence for the interminable wait until it is your turn at the cashier. if you try to crack a joke or break the ice- because after all this is your traveling companion on the journey to hell- they will often look as if you have physically assaulted them. they are quite shocked that you have broken protocol and invaded their personal space bubble and you will be equally shocked that you dared to attempt such questionable behavior right there out in the open.
you decide that you are having a definite blood sugar issue and it is probably related to the fact that you have now been in walmart through one complete change of seasons. you think back to your younger more innocent days when you quested after tomato soup and long for the simple times…
you contemplate becoming amish, because in addition to making their own soup, they probably don’t shop at walmart. you notice on the cover of one of the trashy magazines by the cashier that some big movie star has also become amish and you debate picking up the magazine, but you want to hang on to the last shred of dignity you have left. you reason that if you can see the magazines, it means you are in the home stretch to pay and leave. you can hang in there for just a little longer.
although there are many beauty products near the cashier, there are no mirrors. that is so you can’t watch yourself aging as you wait to pay.
but you can feel your bones crumbling and turning to dust.
you can feel your soul fading away as you watch people smack their kids for minor infractions and you picture yourself beating that parent to a pulp in the parking lot. revenge fantasies keep you alive. you promise yourself you will dial 9-1-1 if they whack that kid again.
but the next whack come from a different line and you wonder again why you shop at walmart. you wonder why you thought people in walmart were funny and not pathetic.
and then a 350 pound guy walks in wearing a rainbow tutu.
and you remember.
because his girlfriend is wearing a belly shirt to show off her piercings.
which would be neat if she didn’t outweigh her boyfriend by 35 pounds.
and she had showered recently.
and she wasn’t wearing a thong.
and then i also remember why we don’t have cable TV.
same show, different channel.