I swear to God if you want to become a writer or a storyteller of any kind all you have to do is go to Wal-Mart and observe.
Wal-Mart is full of fodder. It is fecund.
Every time I go there I find myself surrounded by a random and diverse set of subjects, inspiration for character sketches that I make mentally, trying to commit descriptive details to memory so that I can write them down later, or else I am so struck that I take out a scrap of paper and write it down then and there, hoping that someone doesn't see what I am writing because when I am forced to quickly describe a stranger, forgive me, but I am not kind, not even politically correct. At all. There is no time for euphemism or hyphenation, for example, mentally-challenged. I wrote retard. Laugh, until you realize that the woman was quite literally retarded in the former fashion of the word, before it was abused too much and became faux-pas.
Today I was standing in line at customer service to return a tension rod. (It was too long; I couldn't be bothered to measure.) The tension rod isn't the point. The point is that there was an older woman with a poodle perm and benjamin franklin glasses, wearing a brightly colored, flower-print (of course, what other print is there for moo-moo's?) moo-moo. She was returning piles of fabric along with some other decorative items: two magnolia-themed topiaries and some rather garish, pink bedazzlesque adornments. There were also some other beads and who knows what all else she was unhappy with. She had several receipts, and the customer service helper couldn't find one of the items in particular on any of the receipts and I have no idea how long she had been there, the moo-moo lady, but it took several more minutes before the woman was refunded, in cash, an amount exceeding ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS for her spoils and sent on her moo-moo way.
Waiting in front of me was a younger girl with dark skin and sparkly, pink toenails. I noticed the toenail polish first. She had on black flip-flops with sparkly adornments in the shape of hearts, and she was wearing tight jeans and a tight pink top through which you could see her bra. I think it was purple. She had writing on her hand that had been rubbed or washed at least once. She had her hair in a ponytail, pulled over to the side, plus a headband to hold back stray hairs except for the ones she had purposefully pulled forward. She had fine, dark hair all over her upper back and arms. She was impatient. She kept looking behind her, not at me, but as if looking for another worker to come up and save us from the horrible waiting-for-moo-moo-lady. Eventually she took out her phone and punched in something with her thumb, letters or numbers I don't know, held it up to her ear for a brief second, then put it back in her pocket.
These were just two people. At Wal-Mart.
Later, on my way to the grocery section of the Super Wal-Mart (do any of us really believe that Wal-Mart is super, in any respect?) (I mean, really. Even if it had a cape.) I spotted Moo-Moo lady in the craft section at the back of the store, eyeing some wreaths or river rocks or something. She needs an intervention.
I just want to note that I love the moo-moo lady.