As I sat in a Walmart parking lot waiting for someone several months ago — perhaps even a year or more ago — I scribbled on the back of a window envelope in which some kind of bill had been delivered some notes on what I saw.
If I had gone completely paperless at the point, I might have had nothing on which to write these observations. Then again, they might not be very important anyway.
I’ve finally gotten around to typing up these comments as a part of my project in December 2011 to clear the little pieces of paper off my desk. Of course, the observations here are skewed because they only represent what I could see in my rearview mirror.
Here they are:
- We’re always on the phone. And it seems from what I can see that walking while celling is a dangerous thing to do in a Walmart parking lot.
- We’re disconnected from the present moment and situation. People who were almost walking beside each other or who passed within inches never acknowledged the other person as fellow participants in life. I wouldn’t have either.
- We’re sometimes mindless automatons. Since buying from Walmart doesn’t require all of our minds’ skills, we turn off most of them.
- We’re consumers even when we can’t afford to be. People who can’t afford to wash themselves or their cars or repair the things that have gone wrong with their current possessions would perhaps do best not to buy more.
- We’re fat.
- We don’t like our jobs, and we’re still stewing about them when we get to Walmart after work. If we work at Walmart retrieving carts, we stew while we’re outside.
- We’re segregated when we want to be. I didn’t see anyone who was black and very few of the shoppers at this location were Hispanic. At other Walmarts, few of the shoppers are white, I suspect.
- We think bigger is better and we express that through our cars. If we’re tiny men, we are especially likely to drive big cars. An SUV with a single occupant doesn’t make sense in any way, but I saw lots of them.
- We’re all going to be just fine. It’s all just silliness that I see in the Walmart parking lot. My life is still hopeful, and I hope others have hope too.
In fact, I wrote on the back of that envelope that my life and the world in general is getting better in many ways despite what I saw.
My life is better today than it was then, and it’s still getting better.