Tuesday, July 14, 2015

14 days, then 49: Haunting Walmart (July 13, 2015)

Back when I worked the 4pm to 12 am shift at the Department of Public Safety, I would leave work and drive around town until I got sleepy. Gas price were pretty good then, so I didn't worry about that. However, my burnt orange Volvo did not have air conditioning and some nights the breeze wasn't enough to keep me comfortable. One night, I drove to the only place (besides Denny's--shudder) that I knew was open all night--Wal-Mart. I was hooked and began making regular after work visits there.

I rarely bought anything during these early morning excursions. Mostly, I just walked and people watched. Not the kind of Wal-Mart people watching that produces those awful shaming pictures on social media. No, it was the same kind of examinations I did during city bus rides--minus the conversations; I loved talking, mostly listening, to people on the bus. I never really talked to anyone at Wal-Mart. I mostly made up stories as to why other people were shopping at 1 a.m. 

The husband and wife with the two carts, one holding food and clothing, the other carrying their sleepy kids, were enjoying the only kind of date night parents of small children can get.

The girls dressed to the hilt, running through the store were on a bridesmaid scavenger hunt--"Find a honey bun, a package of condoms, and a rain bonnet," the imaginary list read.

Man wandering the store with no basket and his hands in his pockets, he worked the late shift and couldn't sleep so he decides to wander Wal-Mart...people watching.

I don't work late nights anymore, but sometimes when I can't sleep or I need to get out of the house, I go to Wal-Mart again. I still don't buy anything during these mind-cleansing trips (except for one night when it was close to Christmas and I was in a panic). I window shop my two favorite things first--cleaning products and office supplies.

If you were to look under my sinks in the both bathrooms and the kitchen, and in the hallway closet, you would think that I ran a custodial service on the side. Floor cleaners, kitchen cleaners, window washes, and my favorite, bathtub cleaners. Good stuff.

So I peruse the cleaning product aisle first. Lingering over the newest scrubs and sponges. Caressing the beautiful steam mops. Sniffing the toilet deodorizers. Heaven.

When I tear myself away from the cleaners, I head for the pens. Gel pens. Felt tips. Rollerballs. Even the cheap Bic or Papermate stick pens. Perfect for students who forget their pencils. 

My favorite are Sharpies. They have to be the fine point, not the ultra fine point. Oh, and now they have an 80's Glam product with limited edition pastel colors. Combine that with the metallic collection and there's a "write a story based on Mrs. Diomande's high school days complete with pictures" project just waiting to be assigned. Makes me want to go out and buy poster board so I can get started.

But I don't buy anything because the point is to ease my mind for sleep. That would be impossible if I spent the night testing cleaning devices and writing stories with my new pens, and drawing and coloring pictures, which I would have to laminate because who doesn't love to laminate things--and I own a laminator. I bought it from Target.