Yesterday, I went to Walmart.
Does that sentence appear ominous? I want it to appear ominous.
I don’t know about you, but this lockdown has given Walmart a much different feel. It hasn’t done that with other stores. I don’t feel like I’m taking my life into my own hands when I go to BiLo. When I go to CVC I don’t feel like I’m entering Thunderdome.
But going to Walmart yesterday made me feel like I was entering the Roman Coliseum. When I left Jaimie almost cried. Like I was going off to war. Like I was taking my life into my own hands. Like I was about to do hand to hand combat with people openly flaunting the threat of this disease.
What drove me to go to Walmart? I was out of printer ink. I thought about going to Target. For some reason that seemed like a slightly safer option. But it didn’t seem fair to Jaimie. I know for a fact that she would love nothing more than to wander around Target, my stimulus money burning a hole in her pocket. But she has been so committed to social distancing. She’s been so committed to making me masks and plying me with hand sanitizer, that me going to Target, her happy place, felt like a slap in the face. So out of husbandry solidarity, I went…to…Walmart.
The drama started the second I pulled into the parking lot. Apparently people have forgotten how to read stop signs. The second I pulled in, two cars just darted in front of me.
I took a deep breath to calm myself, but these rogue cars threw me off my game. When the coast was clear I wound up going the wrong way down a one way parking aisle. Luckily no one was coming. They had all run the stop sign. I quickly turned left and pulled into the first spot I saw. A spot at the VERY end of the massive parking lot. If I was going to be six feet away from people, my Ford Escape was going to be a thousand. I turned off the engine, put on my mask, and headed for the arena.
There was a woman in a yellow vest by the entrance. I think they used to be called “Greeters.” Now they feel more like “Guardians.”
I asked if they had any baskets, but this was a buggy only situation. I turned around and there was a mask-less woman with her baby right beside the buggy aisle. I scooched by her as quickly as I could. I thanked the woman wearing the yellow vest and all she said, “Help me.”
I’m sure she can talk to her therapist about all that.
Since I was at the store, I decided to grab a few things other than the printer ink. A bag of spinach. Some apples and bananas. I was performing a blog reading later that night and after shows I like to have a little dessert, so I grabbed a pack of brownies and some ice cream. And strawberries. Don’t worry, we already had the whipped cream and chocolate sauce from Jaimie’s Easter Day Peanut Butter Pie so I didn’t need to get those.
I’m also starting to run low on paper products. I checked in on the toilet paper situation and there was none to be found. I’m ok for the next few days, assuming I don’t keep eating these “after show brownie sundaes” but next week will have to include a toilet paper mission.
I’m sure I’ll be blogging about that.
I quickly procured the rest of the my list. Benadryl for Jaimie. Envelopes for gifts we’re sending the nurses who did our wedding. The printer ink.
Of all the people I encountered at Walmart, maybe 8 of them had masks.
The rest were just living their best life. Spitting in the face of danger. Getting off on flouting the rules. People were hugging for goodness sake. Just openly hugging each other. Saying things like, “Screw social distancing.” And, “I love you so much I hope I give it to you!”
The last thing on my list was a book of stamps, which one purchases from the customer service line. I walked over and there were about nine people, standing on the blue circles, six feet apart. I debated on whether or not to go, but we’ve started to receive some wedding gifts and it is time for those people to receive our thanks.
People who go to the customer service line during a pandemic are an interesting lot. That means they bought something, hated it so much, that they are willing to take it back Walmart, despite the fact that there is a virus out there, floating in the air, for which there is no cure. Man you have got to REALLY hate that blouse.
Luckily for me, the line moved quickly. I asked the woman behind the register if I could check out there, but she couldn’t weigh my bananas. Since no one else had come into the Customer Service line, she offered to go and check me out on aisle 12.
Aisle 12 was empty, and the two of us entered from the back by the bags. As I entered, another dude came from the front of the aisle. He was annoyed at me, unaware that I was being led by the woman working at Customer Service, and as she was checking me out, he got really close to me. He didn’t realize that the blue circles weren’t suggestions. It’s where he was supposed to stand. He was standing DIRECTLY in front of the credit card machine. If this dude was Jaimie I would have told her to back up. And the thing was, he had on a mask. He was clearly aware of what was happening.
I went to take my credit card out of the machine and I almost touched him.
Like my body almost came into contact with his!
I looked back, indicating I needed space, to which he said, “You don’t need to look back at me. You don’t got anything I want on that card.”
He thought I was worried that he was stealing from me!? My body filled with rage. I thought about responding to him, I thought about going off on how close he was, but quickly reconsidered. This was Thunderdome. He was clearly unpredictable. I just needed to survive and advance. To get back to Jaimie. I thanked the woman from Customer Service. I passed the guardian in the yellow vest, and walked the length of the parking lot back to my Ford Escape.
I said a prayer for the guy. I said a prayer for the customer service worker and all the people without masks. I cranked up my car, safe in the knowledge that I had my blog for today.
Safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be going to Walmart…for a very…very…long time…