It’ll be a while before I link this blog to my website and use it for posts related to my attempt at becoming an author, but I suppose I should post something in the meantime.  I’m in a mood, and what follows will most probably be tasteless at best, but I’ll likely delete it once my site is up and running so I can maintain some semblance of professionalism. Here it is:

I walked into Wal-Mart, and as soon as those lights hit me, those damn mind numbing fluorescents that sap your will to live, my stomach staged a coup. The sensation was paralyzing; it felt more like cancer than your average indigestion. I’m no more of a fan of public facilities than anyone else, but I had one choice.

I found the restroom sign anchored to the dingy acoustic tiles in the ceiling and went straight for it, and that’s when shit got strange. Passing by the in-store nail place, I noticed that every seat in the pedicure station was occupied by a man. There were four or five of them, of differing ages and races, all sitting shoulder to shoulder and trying really hard to pretend that their Wranglers weren’t rolled up to the knee while their feet soaked in suds. I was reminded of the uncomfortable feeling one gets at the urinal when someone occupies the porcelain right next to you. But the embarrassment these gentlemen were sharing was blatantly public and lit by neon signs. I had to laugh out-loud between stomach cramps.

I made it to the bathroom but all the stalls were occupied. The large and preferable handicapped stall had someone in it that was puking quite vocally. I waited a few minutes and played poker on my Blackberry before saying “fuck it”. My wife was probably almost done with the shopping and with luck, my intestinal revolt would subside until I made it home. She wasn’t. She was stuck at the deli stand behind a woman who insisted on trying some of that “fancy Swiss stuff” before buying it. I groaned and went back to play more poker and wait.

This time, of the three stalls, the only occupied one was the handicapped stall housing the still puking man (all I could see of him were some dirty work boots).  I swallowed my reservations and went into the first one. This is where this essay gets crass. The toilet seat was completely smeared with something that should’ve made it to the water. And I mean completely; it was like a disturbed finger painting. I walked out and chose door number two. This toilet seat was covered in blood. And that’s not exaggeration; it looked like someone had skinned a raccoon or some other small woodland creature right above the toilet. I knew I had at least an hour before my wife was done so I did the only thing I could. I went back to poker and patiently waiting for the puking man to make more room for Bud Light.

It took him five minutes or so, but once he was done, I shuffled past him in the bathroom fastidiously avoiding eye contact and into the handicapped stall. I felt a little guilty for taking the only stall designed to accommodate the disabled, but that passed quickly once I looked around. Everything was spotless. It was as if Martha Stewart was just in there as opposed to an older day-laborer with a monkey on his back. The dude had even put the seat up before purging.  Bear with me; this is almost over.

About half way through doing my business, I realized someone was waiting for me to finish (he was wearing New Balance shoes and tapping one of them to no particular rhythm). I figured he had seen what was behind doors number 1 and 2 and made the same choice I had. When I finished and opened the door, I was confronted by a very angry man with Down’s syndrome. He gave me a comically angry frown with fists on hips and then pushed past me into the handicapped stall. I wanted to explain to him why I had no other choice. I wanted to explain that he had the wrong type of disability to lay a claim on that particular stall; it was designed for people with wheel chairs, not for people with extra chromosomes, and I had just as much right as he did, but I didn’t say anything. I simply walked over to the sinks and washed my hands like a doctor with OCD and then left Wal-Mart for good. I haven’t been back since.

I’m a wanna-be author that has only published one book, Trailer Park Juggernauts, and I’ll eventually use this platform for related discussions, or maybe not, but until then, I’ll just write things like the above ill-conceived diatribe. I’ll probably switch to parenthood next time, so stop back by.

Cheers,

JJ

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2 thoughts on “Wal-Mart

  1. I seem to remember someone having a similar episode one morning at a local Burger King after a night of intellectual reformisisms and meandering… And the reaction from the poor lad who had to go in and clean it up.

    Except instead of finger painting and raccoon skinning, it was like a magnificent example of the perfect form of nutcrackering ever composed.

  2. This is a well-written anecdote that just itches to be transcribed to a book. I can see you altering this to fit a passage. It’s real incidences like this that can flesh out a scene just about anywhere. Save this nugget of goodness for future reference. You painted a heckuva portrait of the irate Downs’ syndrome fella…:)

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