I just came back from Wal-Mart.
It is 11:41EST. I am a changed woman.

I normally shop at one of the many Hannafords in our area. I appreciate their plentiful organics section and the generally consistent peculiarities of their staff. I can scan the check outs and know which people will ignore, which will whiz me through, and which will dance on my last nerve and have me contemplating a life of solitude, willing to sacrifice coffee and peanut butter to just get the hell away. I don’t have this security with Wal-Mart and frankly the ability of a place to have a parking lot filled to capacity every single time I have ever driven by just weirds me out. Two kids in diapers and going through wipes with dizzying speed, coupled with a boarder who does nefarious things with our toilet paper, clogging our pipes (Sorry Nutmeg) and leaving pitiful little cardboard rolls in place of the fluffy white rolls I set out nearly every day forced my hand.

I had naively thought that somehow shopping at such a late hour would lighten the congestion in the parking lot, perhaps even make the aisles passable with the absence of milling masses. Oh, but I was so, so wrong. I realize that as the more I write, the more of a snob I will sound, but tonight, dear readers, if what I write distances me from the wandering souls that I saw tonight, well than it is just fine. Because oh-my-freaking-god, they had to be trying awfully hard to be that odd. And the cleavage, for the love of sagging and copious cleavage. Walt, the gentle, coke bottle lens wearing greeter who asked me how I was, he should have flashed a sign of some sort, anything to let me know that I was entering an NC-17 zone.

Can you say deep crevasses of panty line and wedgie that simply must have torn flesh? In white shorts? With waves of ass cheek-overflow spilling out like whipping cream from one of those offensive sandwichy-desserty moonpie atrocities…

There was one woman from whom I simply could not tear my eyes, I was grateful for the $1.19 Princess tissues in the top of my cart, for had they not been there I might have slipped in my own drool. My mouth agape, my eyes glazed ever so slightly and my head cocked to hear better, I was riveted as this creature spoke to a fidgety Asian teenager.
Please note that what follows is written as I heard it, these folks did not have chaperones and were as far as I could interpret living independently:

“My huhband and I are gunna git murried and you are gunna be a maiden. Those sequins are what will be on the cake. We didn’t have the marital ceremonies that I wanted so we are re-anewing our vows and YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND TO BELIEVE WHAT THIS WEDDING WILL BE.”

At this point she cackled and adjusted the mightily straining straps of her tank top and bra. The three men, two women who I believe were related to her, and the fidgeter all watched as the swell of her ample chest was hiked up with the straps and then, as she dropped the straps, hurtled toward her belly, falling many, many inches before bouncing off of her belly, dramatically and magnificently out of synch.

“Then we are going to have the wedding I want, and my huhband’ll get the night he wanted. You know I don’t mean like your night. Your night is with a “k”, “knight”, did you know that?”

The teenager fidgeted some more and then scream-giggled that she did.

“I mean the night, what comes after the wedding. I’ll be in sequins like the cake. You want to see my pretty sequins for the night? I don’t have them here but I can show you since you are my maiden.”

When I finally manage to steer my cart I was numb, I had to grab the list and read it several times to ground myself back in reality. I grabbed the last few things on my list and picked a line, three check outs were open, 2 were for 10 items or less, I had significantly more than 10 so I picked the only option I had, knowing with all of my being that the checker was the kind who would make me long for the hills of far off lands.

Standing reading the latest In Touch magazine I tried not to get a hangover from what I imagined as I watched the 50 cans of frozen limeade and raspberry lemonade, a 30 gallon tub, and two large wooden spoons that the girls ahead of me were purchasing with singles and fives from a tattered envelope. They were almost through when I heard Chesty von Wedding Happy yammering on.

“What we need to do is buy us some cigarettes. The ones they have at the place are stale and I don’t like to kiss after stale cigarettes.”

I tried to lose myself in the magazine, but it wasn’t working, I looked around, it was all just too much. More cleavage had rolled up, and a young woman was standing in line, one row over. She was maybe 25, so were the girls behind her, but they were a different 25, the first already looked life weary, the two behind her were rosy cheeked and in athletic mesh shorts. I wanted to melt into the floor as the first girl tried to justify her life, each sentence more preposterous than the last as she explaining away a trip to Wal Mart with stories of $500 fish tank tables and plans to flip her house, though she didn’t yet own it. She talked about having $7K to put down and then she’d rent it, then maybe flip it and buy something nice. She talked about a fiance passing away a month before, about her son who looked just like her. The two girls eyes had started to glaze over as they saw through her story. Then she desperately thrust something at the girls, her phone. “See, he looks just like me, can you see it?” I silently willed her to stop, to just smile and go on her way. Go home to your kids and your life I thought. I didn’t want to ache for this woman, didn’t want to mock anyone.

I don’t know that I can go back, don’t know that I can keep myself from absorbing the stories and eccentricities of the other people there. I wonder if they thought me strange as well, what with my densely stacked items, meticulously arranged and organized to facilitate logical bagging and easier unloading at home. Yes, I suppose they watched me, the girl in the tennis shoes and t-shirt, the lonely woman without a wedding ring on buying diapers and organic snacks. Poor pathetic, granola loving nutball.