I’m getting better at this, still undisciplined, but writing more frequently. My first attempt at discipline started this morning as I was paying bills. I pay everything online, I rarely buy anything online, but I do pay what I owe from this very keyboard.
I go through my e-mail folders one by one and write on a blank sheet of paper the amount, date due. I start with my bank balances, then put in my anticipated deposits for the next thirty days. If car sales are good, everybody gets paid at the first of the month, if they aren’t, well they get paid when they are due.
My home work station is on my Mom’s solid cherry dining room table and it’s in remarkably good shape, maybe not by her standards. She talked my Dad into buying it for her in 1964 a few months after buying their last home across the street from the church we attended. The table is squeezed into my apartment and even without the two extensions, it still accommodates the six original solid cherry chairs.
The table is where I pay bills, write this non-sense and serve very simple meals for my daughters on holidays. I have a set menu for the most part and its neither healthy or cheap. But it is based on favorites that my daughters remember from earlier times in their lives. Comfort food for cold weather, sausage balls, oven baked macaroni and cheese, low country boil and banana pudding to name a few.
But this table has a history. It was only used on special occasions and was always covered by a table cloth with a pad underneath it and plates were set on place mats. None of that now, although when I dust, the table gets treated to a massage of either Lemon Pledge or Orange scented Murphy’s oil soap.
My Dad paid bills as he sat at his desk which pre-dated the dining room table. That desk which I sold years ago was originally mahogany finish until my Mom painted it sometime in the late 60’s and then wiped stain on it during a period of time in our family’s life that was known as “Mom’s antiquing phase”. Nothing was safe.
Accent tables, their old bedroom set including the dresser and chest of drawers, her Lane cedar chest from the late 1940’s and the aforementioned desk and it’s Windsor backed chair, which I still have. They were either painted off white or green and then wiped with stain and in those days that was called antiquing. I’m not sure what my Dad thought about it at the time, but he never said a word.
Back to my present day use of the solid cherry dining table. While I was paying bills this morning, I started writing down ideas on topics that I might want to explore. By the time I finished and was ready to embark on my voyage to Wal-Mart, I had a modest list of two topics. I was impressed with my efforts.
I usually make a list on the back of a business card before I go to the store. There’s not much room, it keeps me on budget and gives me time to wander around observing life at Wal-Mart. It’s been three weeks since my last visit to the Super Wal-Mart about six miles up the road. I wrote about that trip when I came home as Irma approached, the topic was hoarding among other things.
Today I had a short list. When I pulled into my personal parking space, yes, I have one. It’s on the next to the last row away from the main door, but across from the cart corral. It’s the third one from the end and it’s always there waiting for me. As I walked to the entrance I noticed that it is a clear day with very few clouds and I could see the mountains in the distance and the wind was blowing in my ears with a slight roar.
Inside, it looked like a normal Sunday afternoon. The last time I visited this Wal-Mart Supercenter, Irmageddon was bearing down and folks were buying like The Rapture was headed their way. Not today. Couples with children that had obviously been to church this morning, college students clogging the Ramen noodle aisle, and single women. Not necessarily single, but alone and without their spouses.
No, this isn’t why I go, but hey, its an added benefit. These women obviously work and have enormous responsibility at home, but on Sunday afternoon, they are out searching the aisles for family meals to be prepared in the coming week. My guess is that their husbands are home watching NASCAR or the NFL and complaining about who is and who is not standing for the national anthem.
Since I had a short list, and today I had discipline and bought only what was on the back of a business card from a job I no longer have. My trip around the store lasted less than 30 minutes. Back to the front of the store I began my search, as we all do, for the perfect check out line. Wal-Mart has changed it’s stripes again and I was forced to accommodate a new option for checking out.
Apparently, the 20 items or less lanes are history. They have been replaced by something called “Express Check” or whatever the signs said. The “Self Check Out” lines are still there but are supplemented by the next great thing. There is a new supervisor lurking in the checkout area. The sign says “Lay-Aways accepted for all departments here.” No need to walk to the back of the store just to pay on your kids Christmas list.
I selected basically the first attended line that I saw because I like to talk to the cashiers. In my opinion, there is no more mundane job in America than running a scanner in a retail environment. If I had to do that, I just think I would as soon lay in the middle of the interstate wearing a T shirt that says “DO NOT RESUSCITATE”. My mission is to organize my shopping cart contents they way I want to carry them into my apartment, half-way keep an eye on the video read out as my items are scanned and to try and bring a smile to the face of the person whose job I wouldn’t take on a dare.
The line I selected today wasn’t the shortest one but I like to read the covers of The National Enquirer and the rest to find out if Princess Diana has been found alive in Myanmar or if Robert Wagner has finally confessed to murdering Natalie Wood. I didn’t pay attention to the person and the cart in front of me when I selected that line, but I thought the lady running the scanner would appreciate my humor, small talk and buggy with only a few items.
After I had read the magazine covers and decided that UFO’s had not really occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue I turned around to observe those behind me. I encountered a brief smile from a young lady in her late 20’s, about the age of my oldest daughter, whose shopping cart was full of healthy looking foods. She immediately pulled her phone from her back pocket and disappeared into Facebook, her shopping list or somewhere.
I turned around and began to focus on the progress of the line and it seemed that while the line was shorter, my position had not advanced. It was then that I noticed the lady in front of me was leaning over her cart and was also glued to the screen of her phone oblivious to the gap between her cart and the gentleman now being checked out.
As a courtesy, I sort of loudly cleared my throat in attempt to alert this lady the changing environment, but she didn’t look up. Upon observation, it appeared that this lady was not a millennial based on her shape. A few extra pounds but not many, but the jeans she was wearing dated her as someone of my generation. She obviously was near my age based solely on hair color, and no, it wasn’t grey or white, but not a natural color.
Soon, she looked up and realized that she would soon be next to be scanned and escape the boredom of the check out line and moved to the front of her cart to unload. As she turned to face me, my guesses were confirmed. She was near my age, her hair was colored and to my surprise, she had been a candidate for elective surgery.
This was evidenced by the low neck top which gave way every time she leaned over the front of her shopping cart. It wasn’t just that she was leaning over to remove items from her cart, she was getting the items from the cart that were near the back of the cart, you know the side we push from.
I wasn’t purposely trying to look, but she seemed intent on displaying her saline enhancements. Now, this isn’t why I go to Wal-Mart specifically, but it is part of the overall experience. The lady, as I said, was about my age and obviously has not read about the damage that tanning beds do to human skin. But those are her choices and I’m sure that the gentleman that put that ring on her left hand agrees with her choices.
So, this week, there was no sense of panic or urgency brought on by the impending arrival of Irmageddon. It was just another day at my local Super Wal Mart. This trip was slightly more memorable than the last one, for a couple of reasons, but not that much.
Oh, and by the way, my list of topics I’d like to write about has grown to six. Three of them were from my trip to the Super Wal-Mart, just slightly less memorable. So much for discipline.
FOOTNOTE: When I started writing this, I wasn’t sure how it would conclude. Many other things came to mind on the drive home namely the three things I put on my list as soon as I got home. If I’ve offended anyone, I hope you can accept my apologies. As I say in my header, these are my observations about life.