This is the time of year where everyone I meet is either really happy and full of hope for spring, or really miserable and waiting for the winter season to be over. It is a real eye opener to take a trip to the local Walmart.
I had to make a trip to the post office the other day, Friday, with my Mother. This is the way Mom does things; We’re drinking coffee, watching the morning news, I’m going through all of my overnight emails and posting/printing what I need, Mom stands up and says, “Well, we better get going.”
“Um…” I say.
Mom just looks at me like I’m an idiot. I’m pretty sure that I am part idiot on my Father’s side of course, but I don’t like acknowledging it.
“Uh,” I try.
“Well,” Mom says as she turns away and heads for the coat rack with her purse. “If we’re going to the post office we better get going.”
Two things here: When Mom picks up her purse, she’s going somewhere. Two; she never tells me before hand although she believes she does, or more disturbing to me, I believe she doesn’t.
“Well. You have to mail that thing to your brother and I have to get stamps,” Mom says. She actually stops and turns around to look at me.
The thing to my brother is not even packaged yet. It isn’t packaged yet because she told me to wait as she had packages to send with it. “Uh, I thought you said to wait?”
I looked down at my laptop and the emails. Obviously I wasn’t going to be reading that stuff right now. I got up and got the thing boxed up as quick as I could, went back on-line for a few moments and printed a shipping label, grabbed two other packages that needed to go, and headed for the door…
The post office was no big deal. You might ask what this has to do with Jolly moods and Walmart: Well, after we left the Post Office Mom announced that she needed to make a quick trip to Walmart.
There is no such thing as a quick trip to Walmart not with Mom and I don’t even need to say it, but if I did it would make no difference… “I thought we were only going to the post office!”
First there was finding parking at Walmart on a Friday. The parking lot was jam packed with jolly shoppers shaking fists and dropping F bombs all over the place.
“Don’t listen, Mom,“: I told her.
“If that $#@& thinks he’s taking that $#%@*&# spot, he’s got another think coming,” Mom said as she accelerated and swung into a just vacated spot.
“Uh,” I said. The guy in the truck she had slammed the parking door on blew his horn. “Hey!” I said. I waved one hand, was tempted to pop up one finger and didn’t. I just smiled and waved like we were best friends or something.
“?$#@%^,” Mom said. She opened the door and leaned out but the guy looked away and then drove off. Frightened away by a little old lady.
The store was a treat. I have agreed to always be on my best behavior in Walmart… The supermarket… Sears… Well, pretty much everywhere I don’t want to be, but that is not an easy task, especially at this time of year with all the happy couples and shoppers, or Halloween with all the kids, or Valentines day with all the In Love people, or Christmas with all… Okay, at anytime at all. Mom just throws her purse into one of those electric carts and she’s gone. Pity the fool that steps in font of her.
A year or so ago I went with my aunt and my Mom to the same store. My aunt recently passed, but that day she was heading for the produce aisle and you can believe she got there fast. Never mind the little kid she almost ran down or the man she actually drove into, and that was just inside the doorway. I looked for Mom, but she was gone already. Off to the other end of the store no less.
I opened my mouth that day and these words fell out: “Um… Do you need help?”
“Yes,” she said. What fun that had been, but I truly believe I saved a few lives that day.
Since then I have learned not to hang around. Make sure all the small children are out of the way and then head in another direction. And, don’t look back unless there is screaming… Loud screaming…
So Friday Mom twisted the throttle and rocketed away. She sideswiped a pallet of spring planting stuff, an old man with a cane watched her carefully, I was sure he intended to club her if she got too close, but they passed each other with nothing but dirty looks.
Meanwhile I’m standing in the aisle watching. On Friday… With Walmart shoppers everywhere.
“What the #$@%!” A jolly shopper said as he went around me, glaring at me
“Oh, Ed,” his wife said. “Don’t be so…” He dragged her away.
“Excuse me,” I said. I turned and nearly walked into a mother and her forty two children she was dragging through the store.
“Eeeek,” she said. Or, it sounded like Eeeek to me. I turned back around and one of her kids darted around me and stuck his tongue out as he went.
“Make yer #$%^@#$ mind up,” a young guy said as he darted to the right and shot around me. His girlfriend, wife, obviously in love with him, shot me a pitying look as he dragged her by me.
“And a jolly #$%@^&% spring to you too,” I muttered. I spied a partly empty aisle and slipped into it. Why was the aisle pretty much deserted? Feminine hygiene products. And no, I don’t own a vagina of my own.
Apparently they don’t have any spring editions of those things, and I can not imagine they are very often given as spring or gardening gifts…
“You know, Bob. I was thinking of getting Alice one of those fancy whatchamacallits in the feminine hygiene aisle for spring cleaning.”
“Fred, Alice will kill you.”
“But, they’re supposed to be…”
“She’ll kill you, Fred. Kill you.”
Hence the aisle was empty. I glanced around briefly, some old guy passing the mouth of the aisle shot me a look that said he was shocked I was in that aisle, like I was doing something bad. That reminded me, as I looked around once more, that there was nothing there for me. I did not possess the necessary equipment to be in that aisle so I left.
I made my way through the crowd of shoppers, happy couples and wild children, picked up a few more swear word combinations that even I hadn’t known and I’m an ex-sailor, and then I found the home office section.
The home office section, the electronics section and the automotive section are pretty much my go to places. I can always find something there to look at and usually buy too. Of course it’s spring shopping mania time, so you really can’t stop to look, you sort of have to look far ahead, judge the crowd speed, and then snatch up what you wanted as you pass it by. Don’t get it on the first go around? Tough $%#@. Get back in line and try again.
I left there with my padded mailers I had needed and headed for the grocery part of the store. 6000 shoppers looking for food. Salads, tofu, who the hell knows what, un-winter like stuff.
It was easy to find Mom, I just looked for ripples in the crowd, and listened for the occasional scream or shout. It led me right to her.
As a man here is how I shopped when I was single: Wait for payday… (Why is it I made just as much money single as I did married, yet when I was single I was always broke waiting for payday?)So, while waiting for payday I wrote down all the things I needed. I mean an exhaustive list. Should I pick up some feminine hygiene products in case a female friend comes over and needs them? Better just to be safe. Cereal? Meat? I made nice lists. Meanwhile I never ate at home. I stopped at fast food places all of the time because I was young enough to eat what ever I wished and get away with it. About the time payday came around I realized that and took another look at my lists:
Mustard? Absolutely. What else can you put on a Bologna sandwich?
Tampons? Did I really write that down? Cereal? What?
Uh… Oh yeah, Bologna… And Beer… and bread, the other loaf from two months ago is moldy
That was it. So I would go to the store, directly to the three places I needed to go, and in under a minute I was at the checkout, elbowing a little old lady out of the way, ready to go. Not so with Mom. Mom has to make the entire circuit. Not only did she not tell me when we left home that we would also be going to Walmart after the post office, but now that we’re there she has jumped right into the spend, spend, spend attitude, no doubt bought on by all the cussing.
Do we have to go to every aisle? Yes. We do.
I trailed along listening to bitching and griping from all the other men and women that also didn’t want to be there.
“Listen, Barb. I don’t give a $#$% if we buy a %^$%$#@ rake or a %$^&# pruner as long as we get beer…”
“No… I didn’t run over your foot… Yeah? Well %^$# you and your old lady too.”
“What did you say?”
A nearby mother grabs her kid and protectively drags him away. “Mommy, Mommy, I think that one guy is gonna $%#@ up that other guy… Mommy … Mommy…”
Mom just drove right through the middle of them.
“Sorry,” I said as I followed behind Mom. I’ll tell you the truth, it defused the argument, and that was probably good news for the one guy as the other guys wife looked like she could have kicked his @#$ in a minute and was about to. We finished Mom’s circuit, purchased six hundred things we really didn’t need and headed for home.
Back home, I wondered over all of that holiday drama. So much love from the couples and family members I saw in the store. Spring fever? Am I missing the closeness and togetherness of being married? Being in a relationship? Is spring better for those folks? Then I remembered just how it was in those relationships I had, and that every one of them ended, was over. And that there was a reason for that. Are you #$%^&$@ crazy? I asked myself.
Probably, I agreed.
No. Going to Walmart just reminded me that some married folks are just looking for opportunities to kill each other, or any one else. They are miserable and spring, or the holidays only makes it worse. Hey, when you are single you only get lonely. And you don’t have to go to Walmart! … Unless your Mom tricks you into it… I don’t think I’m going to Walmart for a while…
One last word on ex-wives: A person actually said this to me the other day.
“Oh yeah. I’m friends with my ex, aren’t you?”
“Um, no… None of them,” I said.
“Huh. My ex likes me.”
“Yeah… Mine doesn’t.” The uncomfortable silence fell right about then. “So… what about those Jolly %#@&*^$ shoppers at Walmart,” I asked?
“Oh… Those $#@^@&%,” he said.
Okay. That was my Wednesday morning. I hope you are all having a great week. Check out my Earth’s Survivors Series on iTunes! I’ll be back Friday…
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