Saturday, November 8, 2008

Privacy, Paranoia, and Puddin' Cake

Last Friday I happened to go to WalMart
just about the time that every other
human being, their brothers and sisters,
cousins, aunts, uncles, their spouses, their children,
and their grandchildren, and even
their ugly stepmothers
all decided to go.

I wish someone had told me
what day it was.
I had no clue.

Not only was it Park Your Car In The South 40 Day,
but it was also
Stand In Line Till You Want To Scream Day.

Funny how I get so lucky.

Why couldn't I choose a day
like All The Free Ice Cream Samples You Can Eat Day?
Or Every Checkout Lane is Open and Empty and Has A Smiling Checker Day?

So, while I stood in line-
(hoping last night's snack of healthy prunes
didn't decide to backfire (no pun intended)-
and while I crossed my fingers
that my dog wouldn't poop the carpet
before I got home)-
I simply
observed people.

I looked at an elderly gentleman
in front of me and then studied
the contents of his cart.
A twin size mattress pad,
ten microwave dinners,
a liter of Coke, coffee, bread, and
a few little cheap toys.

I suddenly felt sorry for him.

I deduced from his cart
that he was probably a widower
who is still trying to cope with
being alone
and also attempting to keep ties
with the grand kids.

...Then I started to sweat and my bowels growled,
I ignored the discomfort...

My eyes drifted to another person.
A lady in the left lane
with an overflowing cart
that she could barely navigate.

It contained sacks of flour, sugar, pie filling,
milk, eggs- that kind of stuff.
I figured she was going to spend some
time cooking for the holidays.
I looked at her face and thought
that she seemed like a person
that could probably bake some
pretty good cookies.

I even thought seriously about
following her home-
especially once I realized that
she was buying all the ingredients
for a super-dooper cheesecake.

...Right then I had a hot flash,
a tad of heartburn,
and my boob needed scratched.
But, I persevered...

On my right was a young girl
with a few items that I examined critically.
Poor thing- she was dieting.
And having a hard time at it, apparently.

How did I know that?
Well, other than the fact that
she obviously had squeezed into
her jeans that morning
and bought her top at
Susie's Stout Shop-
she was purchasing lo-fat and lo-cal
instant dinners,
lean turkey burgers,
whole wheat bread products,
and diet soda.

But the true thing that really
gave her away
was the chocolate pudding cake
hidden under the dog food
and bird seed.

And I think I almost saw her drool a little
when the customer in front of her
grabbed a hand full of Milky Ways.
( I must admit, I salivated a little myself).

...As the minutes passed, I felt like my feet were filling up with ankle
and my shoulders hung down to my waistline.
How much longer must I endure?...

Behind me stood an old man
with two twelve-packs of toilet paper
and a few cleaning products.
My reasoning is that he must
have had the same
healthy snack of prunes
that I had the night before.

I was hoping that he could
survive the long line.

I then spied a pretty woman
in the far lane
with rings on her fingers-
(and bells on her toes?)
expensive clothing,
and a body straight from
the pages of
Victoria's Secret catalog.

She didn't have a cart-
just a basket hanging from
her tiny little wrist.
In it there was a pack of sugarless gum,
tofu bacon,
what must have been a dozen hummingbird eggs,
natural spring water,
and an apple.

I saw right then that she
wasn't in her right mind.

There are a lot of them out there, you know.

...Was this freakin' line ever gonna move?
I was turning into a hellcat.
(Webster defines that as:
a violently temperamental person ;
: an ill-tempered woman.)
Yes, that was me...

Then I glanced down.
I suddenly wondered
what people were thinking
when they looked in my cart...

...But then I said to myself- Back off a minute, will ya?
This is my private stuff here-
it's none of your business what I buy!...

I started becoming paranoid!
Everyone seemed to be inspecting my loot,
criticizing my choices,
formulating what kind of cook,
or wife or pet owner I was.

Then, when I had all I could take,
I stared at them all
with my tired but vengeful eyes.

I saw them shift nervously...
whisper behind their jacket collars...
quickly lowering their eyes as I zeroed in on them...
pretending they were looking at something else...
acting as though they hadn't seen me...

But they were stuck in line-just like me!
They couldn't run
and they couldn't hide.
Because I sensed their uneasiness-
I smelled their fear.

No one had to tell them, but
I think they knew.
Yes, every blasted one of them
suddenly knew
without a single doubt
just what day it was!!

It was
Don't Even Look At That Lady Wrong
Or You'll Be Sorry You Were Ever Born Day