A line of exiting shoppers extending from the front door, easily ten yards ahead, to the same distance behind where I sit watching a cute young couple devour two hot dogs, one large hamburger, and two sodas. An all too familiar scene inside our local Sam’s Club as I wait, patiently and uncomfortably, on a red and white little elementary school-sized table not designed with me in mind.
Physically, I have a bony frame – specific to a certain part of my body in contact with a small, hard seat I currently occupy – that no amount of exercise will ever remedy. Emotionally, I’m not happy seeing unhappy people sloodged over their slow moving, thin-metal cages holding prisoner impulse bulk items they were unconsciously forced to buy. Spiritually, I focus on correct word choices I now type into my Samsung, praying for enlightenment as members jam extra shots of soda into their already full cups of overflowing carbonated poison at the fountain nearby. So yes, uncomfortable is the correct word choice for now.
Question: What would make me secure in my feelings right now? Well, maybe that isn’t the right question to ask. Rewind. What could I be doing right now – other than sitting on a toddler playground set in Sam’s Club, blogging about my first world problems, while anxiously slugging my knees upwards against the underside of a cheap plastic table? This the proper question! …
Answer: Absolutely NOTHING. This is where life placed me right now. For better … for worse, I am here.
A few minutes ago I was shuffling through the bread aisle sampling pizza off a small vendor cart. Before then, staring mindlessly into a self-serve kiosk that asked me, in a sexy, Angelina Jolie-ish robotic voice, if I wanted $2 off a bottle of dish detergent. I did stand there for an extra minute just to hear her ask me again … and, maybe again… before leaving without extricating a coupon from her welcoming aperture. In between, before and after pizza samples and, err… coupon moments, I wandered to and fro, in and among people-folk of all big-tall and smallness. They, as well, found themselves here – in Sam’s Club on Superbowl Sunday – pushing a cart full of expectations.
Twenty minutes ago, my good buddy Jim greeted me at the door with his usual smile and welcoming, “Hey, Doug … Nice to see you” demeanor. I pass through the doors of this gray brick building many, many times during the seasonal months of my business … February not being one of them… so, for Jim to address me in such a way wasn’t a surprise. Because we share a common interest in collecting small pieces of cardboard with athletes pictures on them (as wives understand them to be), the bond is natural and genuine. One of the few un-contractual benefits of “The Club”, I guess.
As I reflect, the faces in the never-ending line have changed. This doesn’t mean much except everyone around me looks different as well, which must mean I’m done in this place for now. My butt has the feeling of an anesthetized loaf of bread, the young couple’s food has been reduced to soggy napkins in the waste can, and I’m pretty sure there’s no more diet coke remaining in the soda machine. For now, time will not wait, but my thoughts will …
….I didn’t have any high hopes as I walked into Sam’s hours ago. My wish today was to fill time while Superbowl snacky odds and ends were being gathered. Writing wasn’t even on my mind. If any pangs of hunger poked a peek at all, I would have entertained a snack instead of observing. Eating is far better a diversion and time waster than staring at strangers while growing increasingly, posteriorly numb. Alas, I was driven to ogle. That is where life placed me and I was determined to make something out of it.
If there is a lesson, that’s it. Where we are at any moment – grocery, school, or park – is a place full of emotion, spirituality, and physical senses, etc … IF we see it that way. Observing our surroundings is filling up our lives with color that otherwise would be missed.
I was reminded of that today.
Now, when I get the chance … and soon … I must go back. I hear there’s a coupon for $2 off dish detergent.