I know there are those who love WalMart, but I really try to avoid the place whenever possible. There is this "Kill or Be Killed" mentality that seems to permeate the place. Today, I was getting the oil changed in my swagga wagon with Oldest Daughter and discussing the gifts we had yet to buy.
ME: "I need things like gift cards, socks, a curtain rod, the Twilight movies, playing cards, Hershey's kisses, Apples to Apples, a quart of paint, and popcorn bowls."
OD: "I also want to get something for H, and I need some posterboard for a school project."
ME: "We only have an hour. We're going to have to go to WalMart."
OD: "Oh no. You are always mad when we leave that place."
ME: "The gods have spoken. We're going in."
First mistake - we get the van washed BEFORE we go to WalMart. Because you know there is always some D-Bag in a Ford F-250 with sticker of Calvin on the back pissing on a Chevy who thinks he's in a truck rally and drives 40 mph in the parking lot spraying slush all over everyone. And there is ALWAYS a foot of slush in the MW parking lot. If it's dry out, I swear they truck it in.
We circle the parking lot for 30 minutes and finally get a spot two miles away from the front door. We get inside, 5000 irritated people are in the front door. The whole gang is here:
- Crying babies? Check.
- Probable domestic abuser? Check.
- Disoriented older person? Check.
- Family of six stocking up their food bunker in the basement? Check.
- Potential shooter? Check and check.
First, we pick up a few groceries. Amazingly, the vegetable section is relatively empty, but try to get a box of Toaster Strudel and someone will cut you, most likely with the 14" knives on sale in Sporting Goods.
We give up on food. We go to the electronics section to find Twilight movies as a gift for someone (because you KNOW we already have all of them! Play Clare de Lune for me again, Edward...) and there are 8 people crowded around a $5 movie bin, throwing movies all over the place. Someone is loudly bitching at the one cashier in electronics about how they don't have enough XBox killing games, and another woman is loudly giving her reviews on every movie on the shelf. I start repeating a thought over and over in my head:
Must leave. Make it stop.
There are no sticky rhinestones for bedazzling something, only iron-on. No pre-tinted paint, only white base paint. No Twilight, only New Moon and Eclipse. No regular Hershey's kisses, just the holiday flavored ones. No Apples to Apples, just the Travel one. I decide to cut my losses and bolt. The "20 items or less" lane has about 10 carts lined up with 6 of them having at least 30 items in them. We get in what appears to be the shortest line, and I tell OD to get us a Reese's to split, but of course, she can only find the crunchy kind. The cashier and the woman in front of us are talking.
#1: "Girl, I don't think this gingerbread house is going to go up."
#2: "Girlfriend, you just put it together with the frosting."
#1: "I knows you use frosting, I'm tellin' you I don't think it will happen."
#2: "You just use a butter knife - here, give me the box and I'll show you."
Oh dear God. Don't give me the butter knife because I am about to get all stabby on your asses.
I wish I had been blessed with more patience, truly I do. But I backed my cart with 11 items in it the hell out of that lane and made OD jog behind me while I trotted to the next shortest lane, muttering expletives under my breath. No regular Reese's in this aisle either. I look up, and the little old lady in front of me is taking out a stack of coupons. Please, let her be donating them to WalMart. No. No she is not. And so, she slowly goes through her stack of coupons to see what she can use that day, and what can I do? She's a little old lady, probably on a fixed income with 10 stray cats at her house that she feeds every day, with ungrateful children who never call and grandkids who throw temper tantrums every time they are told they have to visit because they'd rather be on facebook and a bird feeder out back that she can't fill because it is too icy outside and 6 monthly prescriptions that are sucking away all of her income and a bowl of Werther's Originals on her desk that have been there for 4 years. I lean over the handlebar of my cart and settle in. This is going to take a while.
I finally get to check out, and it comes to $108 because I somehow always mysteriously go into three digits every damn time I'm in WM, Target or Sam's Club. I could buy Trident gum and it would come to $102.98. OD and I try to get our cart out of WM, but somehow we are again going upstream from the other carts, and people are swearing and getting up in each other's grilles. We break out the front door and dodge the racing F-250s and unmarked Econovans through the slush to our van, manage to back out and get the hell out of Dodge. OD looks and me and says, "Please don't ever make me go back there." I feel you, OD. It isn't necessarily about WALMART per se, it's just that there always seems to be a thinly veiled cloud of despair hanging in the dimly lit rafters of WalMart. And people look like they will cut you.
We drive home, and we're all indignant about our ill-fated trip, and I check my e-mail. There, in my inbox, is an e-mail from Jenny "The Bloggess" Lawson, and she has matched me up with someone in need for Christmas. If you missed it, The Bloggess decided she was going to give $20 to the first 20 people who e-mailed her that they were going to have a bad Christmas this year because they had no money. As in, "We're going to have to tell our child there is no Santa so he doesn't think Santa just forgot him." Hand to God, even typing that makes my heart constrict and my eyes burn. (Julie pauses, says a little prayer of thanks.) So Jenny says in her blog that she hit the 20 people so fast, and the requests kept on coming, but every time she got another request, a donor would pop up in her comments, saying "I want to help too!" I e-mailed Jenny yesterday and said, "Let me help!" and there she was.
The Bloggess is the Queen of the Island of Misfit Toys.
I feel like the whole community of thousands who read her blog are the Misfit Toys. We are the sort of wacky people who are a little off kilter but have a lot of love to give if someone would just adopt us, and Jenny the Bloggess has adopted us all. She's crazy funny all year, but every few months she posts something that touches you deeply, and not in a "creepy uncle by marriage" sort of way. She tries to use her power for good, and the force is strong with her. Her blog jokingly says, "Like Mother Teresa, Only Better", and no disrespect to Mo Te, who was awesome, but there is a special place in heaven for Jenny too.
"Point please, Julie? You're losing me."
My point is this. I can go into Walmart and bitch and moan about how people are pissing me off and I want to shoot someone, but then I get a kick in the pants like an e-mail that says "Chelsey needs your help, here is her address" and all I have to do is go to amazon.com and purchase a gift card and have it e-mailed to Chelsey, BECAUSE I CAN. It's called Perspective, people, and today I got a little.
I am not rich. Not in the numbers sense. But I am rich beyond measure in the love of my family, the health and happiness of my children, the support and laughter from my friends. I have everything I need, and can manage to give when someone needs it, and that doesn't make the recipient lucky. It makes ME lucky.
Are you ready for EVEN MORE CHEESE? I'm also lucky because I have you, gentle reader. This crazy blog, full of nothing but the trivial details of my relatively uneventful life and weekly soft-core porn, manages to get over 5000 views a month. I'm aware that my mom clicks on about 1500 times, and CH maybe 500 or so checking to see if he's been slandered, and maybe 1000 robo-bots from the internet looking for Spam outlets, and 500 Taliban recruits, but that still leaves around 1500 views a month. Thanks for caring people. I'm giving you all a big, virtual, personal-space invading and slightly uncomfortable hug. Now, those of you who can, go to http://www.thebloggess.com/ and leave a comment for Jenny that you can help too. And if you don't hear from her, stick money in a kettle or find a Santa Tree. It will feel good, I promise.
UPDATE, Sat, 8 p.m. - I sent my Bloggess Secret Santa match a $40 amazon gift card about two hours ago. I felt a little silly sending such a small amount, but I've participated in a couple of local Secret Santa things, so I'm a little tapped out. My Bloggess person sent me a wonderful e-mail thank you for the little gift card I sent, and told me what a difference it will make in their Christmas. This is what it's all about, people. I'm a little verkempt. If anyone wants to add to the gift card I sent, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.