I take Linda to Wal-Marts. I drop her off at the southernmost door and go park the car close to the northernmost door. I then enter the store and head in the direction that Linda is shopping. I take my time walking the lenght of the store. I hope that we will meet somewhere in the middle. I find her around 30 minutes later. She has only made it 20 feet into the store and she is looking at garden hoses. We do not need a garden hose. She knows this, but she still has to look at the wide variety of garden hoses available just in case we have to replace one of ours. She imagines our current hose could become victim to the notorious "North American Garden Hose Thief." You know, the guy who replaced Bin Laden on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted. So I leave her to her own devices after we agree to meet up by Subways, a place in front of the registers where I can sit and be easily found. To kill time until then I go perusing the store.
First I head to the book department. I read a bit of a book called "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." The author claims to have found a lost Abraham Lincoln diary that tells about how his mother was murdered by a vampire and ever since he has spent all his free time hunting down the blood suckers. This is a top selling book in the horror section of nearly every book store throughout America. Give it a gander next time you are in a B. Daltons or other book merchant shop. Also by the same author: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Next I go to the computer department. I price their laptops. They appear cheap both in price and quality. People get what they pay for. Do not purchase a computer from Wal-Mart. There are some low priced ones that may be worth the bucks. But you will want more than a basic system, and the one that you really want is overpriced. Trust me on this. If you are looking for a deal on a new computer, find a weekend computer show where a variety of venders set up stands to sell their products. Never buy a computer from Wal-Marts or Best Buy or Sears. You are better off buying at a trade show or on-line.
Finished looking at PC's I go over to the DVD's. I haven't bought a DVD in over two years. The last one I bought I paid $18.95 and now I see that same one for $2.95. Makes me happy to know that my DVD collection has depreciated at the same rate as my home. I play no favorites in my world. Blu Ray discs are the current trend. Blu Ray is to DVD as CDs are to 8 tracks.
I have wasted almost an hour and a half. I decide to work my way over to Subways In the middle of the store I spot Linda. She is in the pharmaceutical section looking at bottles of vitamin C. I approach her and ask what she's doing. Linda says she wants to buy a jar of chewable C. The orange flavor C sells for two dollars more than the multiple flavor C. She hates the taste of most of the multiple flavors. But does she hate it enough to make up two dollars worth? I leave her to her conundrum. Any input I could offer would be immediately ignored (I know this all too well) so I offer none. As I walk away, I notice Linda's cart. The only item in it is dog food, two twelve packs. She has spent over two hours shopping, getting her halfway through the store, and all she has selected for purchase is dog food.
Not knowing where I am headed, I seriously consider seeing a movie at the Multiplex Theater a mile away. The only problem is, if by some miracle, Linda finishes shopping before I get back. It is fine for her to keep me waiting for hours, but if I kept her waiting for two minutes, I would never hear the end of it. She still brings up the time I bought the wrong brand coffee creamer. That was in 1994.
I enter the Home & Garden department and plop into a cushioned lawn chair. It is so good to be off my feet. I close my eyes and try to relax to the max. I am on verge of sleep when I hear a child ask, "Mommy, is that man dead?" I open my eyes and look at the tyke. His mouth drops open in shock. This must be the first time for the little boy to see a corpse come back to life. His mother is embarrassed by her son's remark and apologizes to me. I give my shoulders a "what-can-you-do" shrug. Mother and child hurry away from me. I shut my eyes again and manage to fall asleep for a few minutes. The overhead florescent lights are intrusive and will not allow full slumber. The all too brief nap does not refresh. It has the opposite effect and I feel more drawn out.
From where I sat, I could see the Women's Clothes department with Linda unfolding blouse after blouse. After examining twenty or so unfurled garments, she refolds all she has undone. Before we had left the house, Linda promised me she would not be shopping for clothes. I know if I were to confront her, she would claim she is not shopping but only browsing. I don't see the difference. That does not matter to Linda. She will argue to her dying day that browsing has nothing to do with shopping.
I watch Linda for fifteen minutes before she moves on. Hopefully over to the Food section. I do not want to follow her to see where she goes next. If she ended up anywhere other than Food, I would be screaming with frustration. I will not risk a public breakdown. I mosey over to Subway. I plan on staying in the sandwich shop until Linda completes her purchases and is ready to leave.
At Subway I buy a bag of chips and a soft drink. I take up residence in a corner booth where I can see a good portion of the checkout registers. I play a game with my chips. I eat only one every time I can think of a Beach Boy song. This should occupy my mind with something other than Linda's marathon shopping spree. "Help Me, Rhonda" and chip one is eaten. "Fun, Fun, Fun" for chip two. "Sloop John B" and I am rewarded another chip. "California Girls." "In My Room." "Good Vibrations." Chomp, chomp, chomp. I get the surfing songs, "Surfing Safari," "Surfin' USA," "Surf City," "Surfer Girl." Next I recall the car songs: "Little Deuce Coupe," "409," "Shut Down," "Little Honda." I finish off the bag with "Be True To Your School." Still no Linda at any of the checkouts.
Doing another mental exercise, I try to remember the words to "Be True To Your School." Under my breath I start singing... "When some *da*da*da* fellow tries to put me down by saying his school is great. I say now wait a minute... Whats a matter buddy aint you heard of my school? It's number one in the state. Be true to your school. Like *da*da*da* colors fly..." I wonder how close I got to the actual lyrics.
An older women in the booth behind me taps my shoulder. I turn around to hear her tell me, "I think it starts out "When some loud mouth braggart tries to put me down..."" She is pleased to give me this information. She smiles proudly.
Her husband ( I assume this. He is a man around her same age sharing her booth.) starts tapping his plastic fork to keep beat with his humming of the tune. I accompany him by whistling along. She waits until the appropriate stanza and sings softly, "When some loud mouth braggart tries to put me down by saying his school is great..."
Across the aisle at another booth sits a thin man in his late forties. He sings a little louder, "Now wait a minute buddy aint you heard of my school?"
The thin man, the older lady, and two more people in the order line sing together, "It's number one in the state!"
Now everyone in Subway sings out the chorus: "BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL..."
The older lady: "Like you would to your girl."
Everyone again: "BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL..."
Just the men sing: "Let your colors fly..."
Everyone: "BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL-ooh-OOL
Now the rest of the shoppers in the Wal-Mart's checkout lanes shout. "DO IT AGAIN, DO IT AGAIN, WE LIKE IT, WE LIKE IT!!!"
Suddenly someone is grabbing my ear and yanking me to my feet. Linda pulls me through the crowd of singing customers. Wouldn't you know it, just when I was starting to have fun. She says to me as she leads me out of the store, "I can't take you anywhere!" After loading the car with groceries and such, we drive off while the people inside the store continue singing. Linda says, "You always got to start something, don't you?"
Looks like I'll be hearing this one over and over again for the next twenty years.