Dear Lady Who Almost Ran Me Down with Her Shopping Cart at Wal-Mart Last Night,
Going to Wal-Mart is like when you're putting on your makeup in the morning and your dancing perhaps a little too vigorously or you're practicing your karate chops or you have a sudden arm spasm and you accidentally knock your mascara that's sitting on the edge of the counter into the toilet. You stand there contemplating whether or not you really need it and can you get away without wearing any, knowing that all day long at work everyone will look at you with concern and ask you if you're feeling okay because that's what happens every time you forget to put some on. Apparently you look like you have consumption without it. But you can't fathom actually putting on mascara that has been sitting in your toilet, even with the cap securely fastened so you give it up for lost and put on a little extra shadow and some shiny lip gloss, because nothing says, "I don't have TB!" like shiny lip gloss and your ready to start your day. Except that the mascara is still in the bottom of your toilet bowl and you have a feeling that it probably won't flush. Your toilet has never been the best of flushers. That's when it hits you that you're still going to have to stick your hand in the toilet and you try to remember the last time you cleaned it and you're pretty sure it was long enough ago to make you wish that you were the type of person who had a pair of industrial strength dish washing gloves on hand, but you're not because you've always thought that gloves were for sissies. Now that you are the sissy you rethink your assumption and vow to buy gloves, which doesn't solve your immediate problem but gives you a sense of resolve to never let this happen again. And besides, this is the price you have to pay for forgetting, just this one time, to put the lid down. So you stick your hand in and pray that they have an antidote for whatever it is you're about to contract.
Sometimes you have to go to Wal-Mart, even when you really, really, really don't want to.
I live right across the street from the Wal-Mart we met in but you'd never guess it by the Target to Wal-Mart plastic bag ratio under my kitchen sink. It's about 57:3. It kills my soul a little every time I walk in there. I tell myself that I should just suck it up. It's cheap and close and I'm poor and lazy. But every time I muster the strength and gird up the loins and venture across the street I come across the same people who make me want to curl up in the corner and cry. People like the large woman in a tank top and no bra who yells at her kids for no reason or the screaming child on the floor with the mother who won't do anything about it or the person who parks his cart perpendicular to the aisle so you can't get around it or the kids in those roller skate shoes who are always running into me. And there's always at least one item that your desperately need that they don't have. Last summer I was dying of a vicious throat infection and all I wanted was a Popsicle and instead of going to the drive-thru dairy on the corner for a box I went to Wal-Mart because I also needed tissue and cold medicine and a really sharp knife to cut my tonsils out (Inter-Letter Letter: Dear Dr. Lawson, Please take my tonsils. Please! PLEASE! I'm begging you to take them. They've brought nothing but pain and misery my whole life. Please. Love, Rachel). I think I may have been slightly delusional from the fever because I never would have gone in a saner state of mind. Anyway, I went and suffered through countless braless mothers and their screaming children and a whole gang of kids on rolly shoes and there were shopping carts everywhere and I got my tissue and cold medicine. Guess what they didn't have. Popsicles. That broke me. I went home and cried for an hour and didn't go back for 6 months. Curse you, Wal-Mart! Curse you to Nebraska!
What I'm trying to say is that I don't like to go to Wal-Mart because it always ends up being a bad idea.
But last night I was working on a new bird and realized that if I didn't get more light on my work space I would go blind and have to get one of those magnifying glasses that the brilliant, blind, albino Filipino kid in my high school had to use to read (True story. He's now a nude performance artist. He was beat out for valedictorian by the partially deaf figure skater. Chino High School was nothing if not progressive. I'm not going to tell you his name because you will be curious and will want to Google it and I'm trying to save your from having to see those pictures. I think that's pretty generous considering that you tried to kill me last night.)
When I realized that I would need more light I started to have an internal conversation with myself...
Practical Rachel: You need a light.
Sensitive Rachel: I know.
PR: It's late and you want to work on this bird.
SR: I know!
PR: You won't be able to make it to Target before it closes which means that Wal-Mart is your only option.
SR: I KNOW! Leave me alone!
And that's how I ended up on the serious side of your shopping cart. I parked in the gardening section because I knew that the lamps were in the back of the store and I like bypassing all of those people up near the check out lanes. I lingered there for awhile looking for mulch (I was in a fit of gardening the other night because while I was house sitting at the Duke's I left my plants in the care of...nope still can't talk about it...still very bitter...moving on.) and of course they didn't have any so I made my way to the lamp section. You probably noticed that they changed things around inside. I haven't been in the place for months and got completely lost. I have a feeling that you were lost too because why else would you run into me with your shopping cart? You were obviously disoriented. I was walking down one of the main aisle and you were coming out of one the side aisles, which I believe gave me the right of way, but you pulled right out and bumped me with your cart! I was standing right in front of you! You were looking right at me! I know I'm short but my butt is certainly big enough for it to be seen at quite a distance. I stopped and gave you my standard Wal-Mart Look, (the one of shock, dismay and resignation) as you turned right in front of me without even saying a word. You know when you're on the freeway and someone almost runs you off the road by cutting you off and then drives 20 miles below the speed limit so you switch lanes to get away from them but they keep switch lanes with you? That was totally you last night. You were moving so slowly up the aisle and every time I tried to turn into a side aisle you turned first. I couldn't shake you! I finally had to duck down some random automotive aisle to give you the slip. Wherein I found two scream children on the floor with their mom just staring at them.
P.S. The only thing that saved you from a solid thumping was that before I left I picked up the mail and my order from the Soap Kitchen was there. Neatly wrapped soap = joy.