Yesterday I had to go grocery shopping. Not my favorite chore. But the family had been adamantly complaining there was nothing to eat in the house (translation: there’s no junk food), so it was off to buy sustenance for the masses.
I went to the Walmart Neighborhood Market to do my shopping. I DETEST Super Walmart and try to stay out of there if humanly possible, but the nearest Walmart Neighborhood Market is actually clean, uncrowded, and mostly free of those characters traditionally seen on People of Walmart (you know exactly who I’m talking about).
When I walked in the door but to what did my wandering eyes appear but PEEPS! Yes, those blobs of marshmallow goodness covered in colored sugar and shaped into semi-recognizable images of chicks and bunnies. Peeps are one of those things that you either love or hate. I happen to love them so a few packages of discounted Peeps happened to jump in my cart. Nirvana.
Since I knew I was going to engage in a sugar frenzy the moment I made it out of the store, I knew I needed to counterbalance the sugar overload with something healthy otherwise someone would be calling 9-1-1 to drag my Peep-induced comatose body out of the parking lot. I made my way over to the produce section. As I was perusing the strawberries, I saw out of the corner of my eye a little old man walking down the aisle with a cane. He was moving at a speedy pace for a cane-using individual and as he got closer it appeared that he was coming straight for me. He didn’t look familiar, so I continued with my foray through the fruit.
A moment later this octogenarian stopped right in front of me and said, “Hi, I come here daily to walk around the store. I do it for exercise.”
I glanced around to see if he could possibly be speaking to someone else that I hadn’t noticed. Nope. I responded politely (as my mom taught me to do), “That’s great! Good for you.”
Cute little old man, “What I like to do is tell other people about my life and then they can ask me questions. Would you like to do that?”
Huh? My mind started flipping through the possible scenarios, including the one where I spend hours standing in the produce department of Walmart eating my way through the avocados and mangoes while listening to a play-by-play of Cute Old Man’s life from birth until the present. Now, don’t get me wrong–I love the older generation. I have grandparents that have passed away that I miss greatly. I also have parents that could be considered the older generation (no offense Mom and Dad!). Some of these older people are lonely because they don’t have others readily available to talk to and share memories. However, I was in a time crunch (truly!) and I just didn’t have the time needed to devote to this gentleman.
I gently let him down and promised him that although I didn’t have time on this day to swap life stories, the next time I was in the store and he was there also, I would take a few minutes to talk with him.
He responded, “Well, my name is Bob. And sorry, I don’t remember other people’s names.” And sure enough, Bob was actually wearing a button on his shirt that said, “I don’t remember other people’s names.” No lie. I couldn’t make this stuff up.
So as I wheeled my cart around the store, I made sure to go extra-speedy so that if Bob was watching me, he could see that I was not lying to him and I was truly in a rush.
Only in Walmart. Seriously.
Please do me a favor. If you happen to be in a Walmart Neighborhood Market and a man named Bob asked you to be an audience to his life story, I hope you can spare a few moments of your time because I’m sure he has some interesting tales to tell. Just break open those Peeps and enjoy the converation.
P.S. You might want to wear a name tag.