It was bad enough that I had to make a trip to the local Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon–not exactly how I wanted to spend my day off. Even worse, it was the first Saturday of the month, which would increase the crowds drastically. And worst of all, there was a chance of snow in the forecast, which would send people around here into a grocery-shopping panic. (Oh my! We can’t risk being snowed in without bread, milk, Ding Dongs and Cheetos!)
So I spent over an hour in purgatory Saturday afternoon along with 50,000 other frantic people who thought the weatherman might actually be right this time. Not a single aisle was empty, and not a single person seemed to be in a hurry to get out of my way. “Patience is a virtue,” I reminded myself repeatedly (but with very little calming effect).
By the time I made it to the check-outs and spent another ten minutes waiting in a line that wasn’t moving (why do I always pick the line that requires a price check?), I was dazed, tired, and miserable. I just wanted to go home.
I shuffled outside with my overloaded cart and was immediately slapped in the face by a 40-mile-an-hour wind gust. My first thought: “Geez, it’s cold!” My second thought: “Where in the heck did I park my car?”
After wandering aimlessly for several minutes in the bitter wind, I finally spotted my car two rows over, hit the unlock button on the key ring, and threw my bags in the backseat (to be exact, six bags along with two cases of sodas and one very large bag of cat food). Shivering, I ran my cart to the cart return, ran back, plopped into the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition. Or, at least, I attempted to put the key in the ignition; it didn’t fit right. Weird. I tried again–no luck. Puzzled, I inspected my key; it looked to be okay. Hmm. I tried again–nothing.
It was only then I noticed the blue plaid coat in the front floorboard and the Mardi Gras beads hanging from the rear-view mirror.
This was not my car.
Mine (identical except much dirtier) was parked directly across from the one I was sitting in.
Hopefully no one noticed the crazy lady who jumped out of one car, ran to the cart return, ran back to the same car, threw six bags, two cases of sodas, and a very large bag of cat food into the cart, and then ran to another car and very quickly loaded all of the items into that other car. And luckily, no one got in the way of said crazy lady as she sped out of the parking lot (they were all still inside clogging up the aisles).
But I have never been to Wal-Mart when I haven’t seen several people (usually men) waiting in their cars in the parking lot, and so I am convinced that SOMEBODY (or several somebodies, probably all of them men) witnessed my embarrassment. Did they realize the comedy that was unfolding before their eyes–and were they laughing hysterically as they texted Bubba, “Man, you’re not gonna believe what I just saw!”? Or did they suspect I was stealing items from the first car, and were they dialing 911 and trying to read my license plate as I was racing away? I expected flashing lights and blaring sirens at any moment, and I didn’t breathe easier until I crossed the state line.
It was several hours later before I had the courage to tell my husband what I had done. I knew he would get a good chuckle out of my story, but I was not prepared for the magnitude of his pleasure at my expense. He laughed until he had tears streaming down his face; he laughed until his back hurt, his stomach hurt, and he thought he was going to throw up. And when I thought he had finally stopped his hysterical laughing, he thought about sharing the story with his buddies at work on Monday, and he started laughing all over again.
Not only was he convinced that, yes, somebody had surely witnessed my shenanigans, but he was also certain that my actions had been captured on Wal-Mart’s many security cameras. Somewhere, deep in the bowels of the Super Center, some tech guy monitoring the cameras had already hit re-wind repeatedly, was laughing uncontrollably, and had emailed the segment to all 500 of his closest friends.
This may have been the stunt that finally lands me on peopleofwalmart.com.
(Just a crazy ol’ lady bringing a little laughter and sunshine into the world–yep, that’s me.)