I AM THE PEOPLE OF WALMART!
If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting The People Of Walmart, take a moment to acquaint yourself by perusing the photos (or better yet, don't-do something useful with your life!) If you live near a Walmart, you know the type, right? They look like they're dressed up for a "Most Dirty and Deranged" contest or have just wandered in for some smokes after a tough night of heroin and whoring. Yeah, those people.
Well, friends, I can no longer look down my nose at The People Of Walmart (and believe me, it was a LONG way down!) Due to a confluence of circumstances that occurred a few weeks ago, I found myself in the local Walmart looking like a page torn from Homeless Monthly (Special Summer Edition). And just how did such an unthinkable situation happen to moi? Let me tell you...
It was a typical summer morning in Southern Maryland. By 8:00 a.m., the sun was burning holes in the roof shingles, and the air was moist with humidity and nuclear waste from the power plant. I went downstairs to let my dogs, a poodle and a Maltese, out in the yard. I was wearing my usual pre-shower outfit: "fat" shorts (baggy gray cotton drawstring-ooh, sexy!), yesterday's T-shirt sans bra, no make-up, matted hair, and bare feet. Yes, I'm a perennial vision of femininity and loveliness! I opened the basement door, and the dogs shot out into the yard.
After about a minute, however, I heard the unmistakable whine of a dog. I glanced out the door and saw my miniature poodle nose to nose with a large copperhead snake! If you are not familiar with copperheads, they are the only venomous snake species in Southern Maryland and look like this:
The snake was hissing and bobbing its head, and my dog was trying to sniff it. Meanwhile, the other dog was running around barking and jumping like he had placed a bet on the fight (I don't know whom he was rooting for.) I couldn't take the time to go upstairs to get my shoes, so I grabbed what was available in the basement closet: big, black snow boots, and out I ran. I grabbed my stupid poodle in one arm, the Maltese in the other and tossed them both back inside the house. The dogs, of course, were incensed that I had cut short their fun and tried to escape. That was when I made the fatal error: I slammed shut the basement door.
It took me only a second to realize that I had locked myself out of the house. "Not to worry," I naively thought to myself. "I can just use the key pad on the garage door to get into the garage, where I keep a spare house key." I breezily trotted off to open the garage door. No such luck. The key pad would not work. The battery was dead.
I assessed my situation. The dogs were safe, and I was outside with the sun blazing and the temperature quickly rising (the predicted high that day was in the upper 90s). I had nothing on me: no car keys, no money, no water. After trying to pry open a few windows on the ground floor, I also had no fingernails. What to do?
Reluctantly, I walked over to a nearby friend's house to see if she might have a battery to fit my key pad. After banging on the door several times, her teenage son answered. She was not home. So, picture me, in all my sweaty, floppy boobed, ridiculously clad glory, explaining my situation to a 19 year-old guy. Awkward, to say the least. I must give this young man credit, however. Instead of laughing and closing the door on my sorry ass, he looked for a battery, which he could not find. Then he offered to Google "How To Pick a Lock" on YouTube and try to assist me in breaking into my own home. What a guy!
Armed with bobby pins and paper clips, we went back to my house. After about an hour of trying to pick the locks on the basement and front doors to no avail, we gave up. It sure looks easier in the videos! I declared my house burglar-proof and myself up the proverbial creek. Then came the words that would forever change my life: "I can drive you to Walmart to buy a battery."
On the one hand, I was hot, thirsty, tired, and really, REALLY wanted to get back in my house. On the other hand, I had no money and was wearing my fat shorts, a dirty T-shirt, no bra, and black snow boots. I really, REALLY did not want to be seen in public. In the end, thirst and fatigue won out. I swallowed what was left of my pride and got into his car. He drove me to Walmart, where I had to borrow money from a 19 year-old to buy a battery. Yes, my life had come to this. I looked not significantly different from all the rednecks, hoochy baby mamas, and wackadoos that normally convene at Walmart. I could not judge. I had become one of "them."
So, if you happen to come across a photo of a 50ish woman with sweat soaked hair, floppy boobs, dirty T-shirt, and baggy shorts who is sporting snow boots in the middle of the summer while shopping at Walmart, please be kind. Remember, I was once a nice, normal, respectable person. Now, I am one of "The People of Walmart."