Having postponed a much needed trip to Walmart, I set off begrudgingly today with more dread than usual. School was about to resume. This was “Meet the Teacher Day,” and parents and children would be coming in droves to gather their list of supplies. After finally finding a parking place and with much fear and trepidation, I took a deep breath and marched inside. It was soon obvious to me that this trip would be quite different from the usual blur of blah.
Please allow me to share some of my encounters there in order of occurrence! My first chat was on the vitamin/products for weight control aisle with a total stranger. After having a quite animated and in depth discussion about hot flashes, doctors (including Dr. Oz), and weight gain after forty, we bid each other good-bye having made that “woman” bond.
There were discussions with friends who had kids in tow, and grocery baskets full of Kleenex, folders, markers, hand sanitizer, etc. There were some happy children, and there were those who followed along with a tell-tale scowl, dreading the end of summer. There was the usual shortage of supplies precipitating frustration that accompanies the need to shop at other stores to gather all the “loot” before the big first day. I was reminiscent of those days, feeling old since my children are both grown. Nostalgic but also glad to be on this side of all that. I had done my time!
I couldn’t help but chuckle as I passed by a rubber snake that some mischievous child had positioned in a most life-like way at the end of one of the aisles. No doubt that scared some harried shopper to death. I rolled past one desperate mom of six children, one screaming at the top of his lungs for her attention, cart filled to the brim, on her way to check out, yet to face the total due for all her gatherings. A silent prayer was whispered for her at that moment.
My next destination was the grocery area. There was hope for that section to be a bit less animated. There was still adventure to come, however. When I sense that some shopper is about to give up the search for something they can’t find or they simply look lost, I feel duty-bound to help them. I know our store like the back of my hand. Sad, isn’t it! Today presented that opportunity for me when I spotted two ladies with that “lost” look on their faces, and I waded in to offer help. There was only one problem: They did not speak English, and I had no idea what they were looking for. They kept repeating “oh’ ba co.” Right! No idea! We all smiled and parted ways.
A few minutes later, our paths crossed again. They had located the elusive item! They approached me, all smiles, with a bottle of Tabasco in hand. How could I not have known that?!? A conversation ensued in which I learned through broken phrases of English that they hailed from Belgium and were a part of a symphony band touring the country. We discussed what they played, where they had been, and where they were going. This also explained why I had seen so many unfamiliar people in our Walmart carrying cameras. Random but fun.
Time now to go face my own tally of merchandise at the check-out. Two young Mormon men walked out of sliding doors in front of me. They, too, were a long way from home. Directly outside were two large tour buses and many of people from Belgium. I good-bye waved to my Tabasco friends. Who knew that a quick dash into Walmart would turn into an adventure? Wonder how many people that rubber snake scared? Probably should have taken it back where it belonged, but then it might have been part of someone else’s adventure!