Today, I learned how much my time is worth. And apparently, it is not much. I just spent over an hour waiting at the local Walmart as they installed my new car battery. I did this because the service was free and had I chosen to install it myself, I would have to pay an extra five dollar battery recycling fee. Because obviously I love the environment and was not going to recycle the battery, I decided that my time was worth about five dollars. Plus labor.
That decision resulted in me not buying the battery and taking it home. Which I could have done. It resulted in me not installing the battery by myself. Which I am more than capable of. It resulted in me sitting in front of a TV near the auto care center listening to my iPod as a Roseanne Arnold movie was playing. Which I struggled with.
Luckily, I enjoy Walmart. It makes me feel good about myself. Mostly because I walk around with an air of superiority. It’s hard not to considering the overrepresentation of cut off jean shorts, jorts if you will, at Walmart. Everyone knows that the number of jorts you own has an inverse relationship with your intelligence.
But despite my need for constant self-assurance, an hour at Walmart is a long time. There are only so many low priced goods and services to go around. Of course, there are plenty of entertaining people to go around. And I was fortunate enough to end up right next to one. A kindly looking old lady in a wheelchair.
Most days, kindly old ladies in wheelchairs don’t catch my attention. But this was Walmart. Always remember to inspect everyone closely for anything that might entertain you. And I did. And this kindly old lady was actually pushing herself around in her wheelchair. With her legs. Obviously. Now, I know that there are a wide variety of possibilities as to why her legs worked but she felt the need to be in a wheelchair. But come on.
I watched, transfixed, as her legs, riddled with varicose veins, motored the wheelchair around. At one point she even got stuck on a little carpeting. Her powerful legs though just backed up and tried again. Successfully, I might add.
It’s not nice to make fun of people in wheelchairs.
Moving on. This same lady was asked to sign her name before handing her car over for an oil change. That it was her car is important. Because her next words were frightening. I don’t see well. Where do I sign? She had her glasses on. She could not see where to sign her name. Yet she had just brought HER car to have the oil changed.
Again, I know there are reasons she may have struggled to see where to sign her name. Perhaps she was farsighted. Or perhaps she really was blind as a bat. Over the course of that one glorious hour, she told two different mechanics that she didn’t see well. She also told me that she didn’t see well.
She told me this because she had ordered me to move her shopping cart over to the checkout counter. I stood there confused, not realizing she was talking to me until she began apologizing. You see, she doesn’t see well. She went on to explain that she thought I was her grandson. She couldn’t see the details, only that we were both tall. Just a few minutes later, she was swiping her credit card, having just paid to have the oil in her car changed. As in, she owns a car which I assume she drives.
So we have here a woman, with seemingly full functioning legs, sitting in a wheelchair, unable to distinguish between her grandson, who we assume she loves and knows quite well, and me, having some routine maintenance done on a car she owns. Awesome. I can only hope that her grandson was driving today. I made sure to get into my car and leave before I could find out how well her eyes worked on the road.
Welcome to Swedish-America. And Walmart.
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