In my daily swim through the morass of marketing e-newsletters that are available, I accidentally found an obscure and unexpectedly useful one recently. It lets me know about artichoke sales in my area.
As I visited the Eastern perimeter of the city yesterday, I realized that I was within striking distance of a big-box store that this e-newsletter alleged to be brimming with artichokes. So I went. And it was. Yay.
But you can’t go to such a place just for artichokes. So I bobbed and weaved through it, filling my cart with a variety of staples.
My mother requested diet soda, which I found in Bunyanesque 2-for-1 packages. Just as I wrestled with one and realized that I was going to have to move to the other end of my cart to heave it underneath, a cavalcade of shopping carts weaved toward and past me. I propped the diet pop on the cart handle and waited.
A man with a bandana-wrapped head, zero sleeves and lite Hulk Hogan facial hair stopped in front of me.
“Let me help you, there, little lady!” He said. I handed him the soda box. He heaved it under my cart for me. I thanked him. He gave me a manly nod and moved upstream.
This can only mean three things:
1) My quest for artichokes brought me to a mythical encounter with the legendary John Wayne of Meijer, and I should write a trucking song about him, a la Red Sovine’s Phantom 309.
2) Since I’m not particularly little, this was qualitative evidence that my fitness regimen is working (i.e. the wall squats I did Friday – and subsequent literal pain in the ass I’ve experienced all weekend – were worthwhile).
3) The underlying reason that we go to big box stores is to recognize our relative insignificance in the universe. As we meander through huge, galactic clusters of Easter candy, swarms of garden hoses and fields of snack food, we unconsciously see ourselves as Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot, a mere, subatomic speck of a little lady “in the great enveloping cosmic dark.”