Kleenex, toilet paper, and the shopping cart
A few days ago I stopped in at Walmart for a box of glazed donuts and a fall jacket.
After fiddling with three carts stuck together with an errant strap tangled up in the mesh I moved to the next rack of baskets and chose one that came apart from the others. Backing out, my new one rolled smoothly, but I immediately noticed a whole Kleenex stuck to a front wheel.
At once I lifted both legs and shook my feet to see if anything was stuck to me.
Paper free. Lucky me. But now I had a cart with a perfectly engineered hunk of Kleenex performing a perfect, flopping rotation every few inches.
Not brave enough to reach down and pull the foot-long flopping nuisance from the wheel and with legs too short to reach the edge of the front wheel to pin down a piece of the tissue to unstick it, somewhat embarrassed I pressed on toward the donut shelves.
At the pie section, before the donuts, I had a sudden flashback. A memory from almost 70 years ago when my family had recently moved to a small Vermont town where my mother introduced herself to our new neighbors as Madeline MacKenzie. Unfortunately, she was misunderstood as calling herself Madame MacKenzie. People talked. Word got around that we were a strange family, possibly royalty but most likely just a family putting on airs.
During that time my mother had a few neighbors visit. Suddenly, as they all exchanged pleasantries in the living room, my three-year-old brother, stark naked, rampaged through the room with a six foot long strip of toilet paper firmly wedged in his butt and flapping behind like the tail of a unicorn being chased by wolves, shouting and giggling that he was a horse. It was only a small sliver of memory, but it made me chuckle as I approached the glazed beauties that would be my snack on the drive home.
On the way to find a jacket I became more and more aware of my wheel bound Kleenex slapping happily against the polished floor. I wondered if anybody else was noticing.
Thinking a picture would be nice I reached for my camera, but then thought it over. No, I thought, this will require a video.
I started planning. Maybe a fellow shopper would push the cart toward me as I squatted in the aisle recording the whole sordid event.
Then I heard an imaginary voice boom over the public address speaker, “Manager, come to aisle 6!”
Picturing the ridiculous situation, I chose common sense and pushed my way through the men’s clothing section and checked out with my box of glazed donuts.
Dropping off my crippled cart at the front door, marveling at the tenacity of that Kleenex, picturing my little brother prancing through a living room full of ladies with his toilet paper tail, I thought to myself, “How wonderful to get to the city once in a while and enjoy a shopping trip to Walmart.”