Speaking of Heart Palpitations

(Rather than haul all my old WordPress posts over here, I thought I’d occasionally repost them one at a time. I’m feeling a little nostalgic up in here! This particular post is from 2008.)

The new Super Walmart opened yesterday. Being the idiot that I am, I decided to mosey on over there, y’all. Big fun and excitement, thy name is Walmart. I’m not even sure what I was thinking because just driving past that behemoth of a building was enough to kick my blood pressure up a notch. The thing has three seperate entrances at the front and another at the back for the auto repair stuff. My heart rate doubled just from the act of trying to find a parking spot close enough to the door so that I wouldn’t have to hail a cab.

I managed to find a decent spot, found a cart (they have two sizes – regular and super-size) and took a deep breath to steady myself. I was half expecting the greeter to give me a map and a compass as I walked in the door. This is not simply a store. It’s a black hole. I really think they should offer ropes to each customer so we can tie one end to something in the outside world and the other end around our waist. (Just as a precaution in case the Walmart sucks us in and eats us, you understand.)

(Anyone remember that SNL Walmart skit from a few years back? It’s funny because it’s true.)

This shopping experience was one I’ll not soon forget. I have never seen so many bewildered looking people in one place before. There were throngs of people everywhere, standing awkwardly in the aisles, looking heavenward as if asking for a sign that they were going the right direction. (Ok, so they were looking up at the eight thousand aisle signs suspended from the ceiling. Same difference.) I think you could fit Disneyland inside the store. Where the old one had an aisle of books, the new one has six. The old one had a McDonalds, an optician, and a bank machine. The new one has a hair salon, a Build-a-Bear store, a souvenir shop, an indoor circus and a go-kart track. I think I blocked a lot of it out in a vain attempt to thwart the panic attack that was building up inside me.

While it may sound that way, I don’t have agoraphobia. What I’ve got is much, much worse. I have a deadly combination of unknownaphobia and lostforeveraphobia.  I often can’t find my way out of a room with only one door. I had visions of myself getting lost in that Walmart and never again seeing the light of day. I cursed myself for not bringing bread crumbs along to sprinkle as I walked and made a mental note of various landmarks along the way.

I was strung tighter than a violin the entire time and had to stop for food and water twice, but in the end, I manage to claw my way out of the black hole in one piece. And yes, my daughter made it out alive as well. I even managed to cross several Christmas gifts off my list, so yay me! I think I’ll need a month or two to calm my ever-loving nerves before I attempt to navigate that place again, though. I just can’t help it. The Super Walmart scares the crap out of me.


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