Monday, January 29, 2007

A Bad Day Gone Good

As strange as it may sound, I don't particularly care for shopping. Yes, I know, women are supposed to love that stuff, but I don't. When I can't shop online; I'm a "make a list, check it off as I pick it up, and then get out the door", kind of gal. So when HWDDD emailed me a shopping list this morning, I was none too thrilled.

In addition to dreading the shopping, I was sad to leave my dad's house. He was up this morning and none too happy to see me go. We hugged for a long time and when I finally left, I was in tears. I looked back at the house as I pulled out of the driveway and both Shasta and dad were standing at the window looking sad. (I know, I know, how can you tell a dog is sad--I just can, and it's my darned story)

I really wish I could help dad and Mike out more.

Anyway, my plan was to go to Walmart first (which I hate) and then Pet Smart (which I love) on the way out of town. I like to do the worst chore first, and save the fun for last.

I parked my car at the far edge of the Walmart parking lot. I sit on my tush too much at work, so I try to get in as much walking as possible, even if it is only from the car to the store. I also find that I get fewer door dings out in the nose bleed section.

I took a cart from the incredibly kind greeter and went into the store. This was going to be easy, I thought to myself. The store was hardly crowded at all, so I set about my task. Milk, cat litter, cat box deoderizer, more cat litter and deoderizer, onions--red and white, green pepper, roma tomatoes, progresso soups, candles for the warmer (some really yummy smelling ones this time) and a few impulse items I won't mention here.

By this time, it was a somewhat busier in the store. There were lines in front of most of the registers, so I prepared to wait. I looked around and there was an older gentleman in line behind me. He was leaning heavily on his cart and was carrying an oxygen bottle. I smiled at him and asked if he would like to go in front of me as I was next in line. He smiled, said "yes", and then looked straight at me and said "You are beautiful".

My first reaction (my usual response when someone hints that I am the slightest bit attractive) was to ask him how long he'd been legally blind. I DID NOT say that because he was such a sweet guy and I think that in his myopic, catarac ridden eyes, I probably was.

So I blushed. A deep, red, I could crawl under the counter kind of blush that could probably be seen from the Hubble Space Telescope. That seemed to tickle him and he grinned even more, saying "she blushes like a school girl, isn't she adorable". By then I was glancing about desperately looking for somewhere to hide. Fortunately the check out person was quick and efficient and after just a few more minutes he was on his way, chuckling to himself.

I couldn't even look the salesperson in the eye. He was smiling broadly, inviting conversation, but I wrote my check and walked quickly to the parking lot to put my purchases away. After I unloaded my cart, I saw an older woman struggling to put her groceries in the trunk of her car. It looked like she was about spent, so I offered to take her cart to the rack. She told me "that is undoubtedly the nicest thing that will happen to me today." I smiled and told her that I thought the day would bring much better things for her than that and put the cart away.

I was pretty happy, despite the complete and utter embarrassment I had suffered in Walmart and headed for Pet Smart where I was greeted by not one, but two adorable border collies. Their owners were kind enough to let me dote on them for quite awhile, so my doggie fix was taken care of. I walked right over to the glucosamine chondroitin doggy treats I buy by the gross for the neighbor dog and the Science Diet cat food my cats love was on sale! The stars were certainly with me in Pet Smart.

As I drove out of town, it occurred to me that my shopping expedition wasn't nearly as unpleasant as I had expected it to be. I guess you never really know how a day will turn out.


threecollie said...

What nice post and what a nice person you are. I hate shopping too, but sounds like you had a good time.

Anvilcloud said...

I'd say that it almost a howling success.

Ur-spo said...

I won't set foot in a Walmart, so I thankyou for an inside narrative.
All that cheer therein; it sounds almost stepford wives like.

Laurie said...

Threecollie, I always dread Walmart, but try to go in with a decent attitude. Emphasis on "try to".

AC, cute! I love Pet Smart, especially when there are dogs there I can pet. I really miss having one, but fortunately I have neighbor dog to dote on.

Ur-spo, I'm not a Walmart fan by any means. We just don't have any other store that carries a variety of goods. Unless I want to buy groceries on one end of Billings and everything else at the other end of town...I'm stuck with Walmart.

Anonymous said...

You wrote a check? Who writes checks anymore? I'm kidding ya, my Mom does too. I give her grief about it to be funny. Hubby and I live off the MAC.

Anyway, I hate Wal-Mart too. It is nice that the man made it all worth while though!

We love the petstore around here. Obvious reasons, huh?

Have a great day, beautiful!

Cuppa said...

Ah, you found the silver lining. Isn't it nice when that happens?

Laurie said...

Butterfly, I usually use a debit card, but it was in my coat in the car. Drat!

Cuppa, it sure is. It didn't hurt that the sun was shining and the sky was blue instead of grey. I find my attitude is somewhat regulated by the amount of sunlight I receive. Maybe I should move to the islands?

bonita said...

I know that poignant mix of feelings as one drives away from an aged parent's home. Even the dog has that wistfulness, beautifully captured here, sitting by the window.

Laurie said...

Bonita, I cry my eyes out every time I leave. If there were a way I could stay all the time, I would.

JustJock said...

lord, I'm living in the wrong part of the country. walmart is an experience from hell down here...and though I hate the place, I'm there every week, fighting the nasty crowds, rude employees and the greeter who spends the entire day on the cell phone, never even looking up to do her damned job. bitch.

Laurie said...

Jock, the Walmart I go to in Billings isn't usually too hellish. Their workforce seems to be mostly nice, retirement-age folks.

The customers, on the other hand, leave a lot to be desired about half of the time.

Cathy said...

You inspire me, Laurie. I didn't think anyone hated shopping more than I. But if you can find opportunity to do good and exchange smiles and pet dogs - Well . . . I'm in!

The pup picture is so sweet. How long a drive is it to your dad's? How beautiful that you share that special bond. Just beautiful.

Laurie said...

Cathy, it's about 175 miles to my dad's. Most of that is interstate, although the last 14 miles is a two-lane road that is "under construction". My poor brother has to drive it every day to get to work. It will be great when it's done though, very scenic.

And by the way, you can come shopping with me anytime. I bet we'd have a great time, especially at Pet Smart!

Carol said...

I loathe shopping, too! Laurie, you should just accept those compliments and allow them to make you feel good. I'm glad your day turned out so well. Maybe it will help you approach your next shopping expedition with less trepidation.

Laurie said...

Carol, I haven't ever been able to accept a compliment. Must be part of my genetic make-up. Mom was the same way.

I will probably still avoid shopping like the plague, but at least I'll have my fond memories. :)

Reverend Sumangali Tania Pink said...

This week, I've been finding that you never know what life is going to send your way. It can be a total doozy which can be both good and bad. I'm glad you saw the good toda, Laurie.


Laurie said...

I just read your most recent post, WOW.

MsLittlePea said...

Wow! Being told you're beautiful AND adorable in one day! Sounds like a good outing to me!

Laurie said...

Littlepea, I just hope the dear man wasn't driving! I'd hate to see someone with his eyesight behind the wheel of a car.

Squirl said...

Of course dogs look sad. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, so to speak. Sorry it's so hard to leave there.

It just lifts your day so much when you do little nice things for others. It's even better when they appreciate it so. Too bad you were embarrassed by what the older gentleman said. The Europeans think that we Americans just don't know how to take a compliment. :)

KC said...

I love days like this. We are all humans and the ability to have a meaningful exchange with a total stranger is empowering. You get what you put in.

Mary said...

Laurie, your posts always make me laugh or smile but I got a knot in my throat on leaving your Dad, and the nice compliment you received from the older man in Walmart. Why can't everyone give sincere compliments like he did - every day? Even to a stranger? Are we all too shy for that?

Laurie said...

Squirl, they really do. I'm kind of like that as well. Maybe I was a dog in a previous life?

It's true, doing for others, even the tiny things, are so uplifting.

KC, I've learned that over the years. I remember when my son and I were going Christmas shopping a very long time ago. I had just finished four 12 hour night shifts and was tired and crabby.

When we got to Billings it seemed like everyone was in the same mood as me. My son picked up a Santa hat and reindeer antlers and put them in the cart. When I asked what he was doing he said we needed to be the most cheerful people in town to spread Christmas cheer.

He was absolutely right. We bought the hats, put them on and proceeded to be the most cheerful people in the city. It was so much fun. We had people giggling and laughing all over town. It was the best shopping expedition ever.

We still do it once in awhile. When one or the other of us is not in the mood to shop, we decide to be the most cheerful people in town. And it works!

Mary, it is so hard to leave him. It gets harder every time. It's the same with phone calls. We talk most nights and the calls have been getting longer and longer. Neither of us want to hang up.

somewhere joe said...

"A Bad Day Gone Good" Wonderful. That goes on my fridge as a daily reminder.

Shopping is a love/hate experience to me, dependinding on the quest in question.

steve'swhirlyworld said...

I'm with you on shopping. Gay men have the same, bad reputation as women as far as shopping goes. But, like you, I'm NOT a shopper. I could find everything that I need in 10 minutes - an entire summer wardrobe :)

Laurie said...

Joe, I agree. Some things are fun to shop for, others not so much. I am honored that my post is going on your fridge! Thank you.

Steve, My son (also gay) hates to shop as well. Though he doesn't seem to mind shopping for Christmas gifts! :)

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I could always tell when my dog, Muffin, was sad. I can't tell you how I could, but I could.

Your shopping trip sounds as if it was OK to me, especially the compliment from the "sweet guy" and the greeting from the collies.

My own last shopping trip was to get Alex cat food. It was cold outside and I'd not worn gloves or a hat. The only thing that made the trip worthwhile was Alex's excitement when I showed his a packet of Friskies!

Laurie said...

Nick, it was not a bad trip at all. I absolutely believe that Muffin had good and bad days. My cats do too. In fact tonight when I came home, I couldn't find one of them. How do you lose a big cat in a small house? We finally found her in the bed. IN the bed, not on it or under it. She had managed to make a hole in the bottom lining of the box springs and was nesting in there. I think she wanted to be alone.