I think I wandered into a weird pocket dimension earlier today.
I had to get specific things from Walmart for something my wife was planning on making. I never go to Walmart; I never actually even go to this town as I live equidistant between this town and one about 10x the size. But I happened to be coming from that direction today and was passing by anyway so can I please stop in for a few things? Thanks.
First off, I had this super weird vibe about people and their masks. 90% of masked people were elderly and the other 10% were employees. No one my age or younger were wearing masks. None. Everyone was also perfectly aware of what kind of statement that made. So, the tension between the generations was disturbing.
(Truth be told it’s probably been 9 months since I walked inside a grocery store. Curbside pickup is so much easier. Just build a distribution hub already. I’ll drive into a slot and get the car washed and my hair cut while groceries are loaded into the back.)
Uhh… I’m still in Walmart, right. So, I tried to do my best to fill my wife’s list, guys. I really did. Every section that was supposed to have what I needed looked like a demon ransacked it 5 minutes before and stripped it of everything I needed. The whole store was not like this; only my stuff. After the 4th unavailable item, well, I cheesed it…
…Straight across town to the Piggly Wiggly, which is clearly where the Liminality wanted me to end up. Because today at the Piggly Wiggly, the lights were half off, everyone was dead inside, and the place smelled like 1985. They had everything I needed, which meant I had to spend time getting to know the layout of ancient, mouldering display shelves that you can almost hear them groaning in rusty pain under the weight of too many products. The Products are crammed tightly, haphazardly, desperately, under off-brand signage that was made for fewer products.
This store is old. This store is angry. Built for a time when you could (should) smoke in the isles and people paid with food stamps that were literally stamps – this store had seen things. And this store had been neglected. Denied the luxury of renovation and modernization. It knows it’s glory has passed. It knows the town’s glory has passed. Patronized now only by die hard loyalists and desperate shoppers who are running late, this store is angry.
None of the people in the store had masks, except for me. I was the tear in the fabric of reality today. Because it was 1985 and you didn’t need masks. Everyone were already sick looking in the weird florescent, brown-tiled twilight. Something on the intercom was crackling and it took me a minute to recognize that management was being paged to the front for a mysterious numbered code.
Even the vegetable section was in shadow, y’all! You ever seen un-misted vegetables obfuscated under the cover of florescent dusk?!
Anyway. That’s my story. I’m going back down to the Piggly Wiggly now. It calls to me.