Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gandhi in Wal-Mart

recently I was in Wal-Mart for a handful of things
for some strange reason I keep thinking that if I refuse to take a huge cart
or hand carrying basket that I will buy less
it sort of works but not really

I had the less than 10 or 12 items in the basket (gave in at one point)
that I "needed"
going in for 2 or 3
so I headed for one of the speedy counters

standing in line looking forward I was not in any great rush at all
for a change

and glanced back

I thought I was having a spiritual experience on the spot in a Wal-Mart
of all places on this crazy holy earth!
a little Indian man was standing right behind me
white hair, glasses (ok not the roundy kind)
holding three small bananas
so I asked him to please go ahead of me
I had more things than he did
and he said that he appreciated my offer
but he was fine and not in any hurry
I wanted him to keep talking because he sounded just like Gandhi
(as if I personally know right?)
I swear this is the truth

ok, so I started putting my items on the conveyor belt of a counter
and he noticed the two cans of tennis balls that I had
and asked if I played tennis
well, I did a thousand years ago or so, my sons do, but
interestingly enough
these tennis balls were to use in our Holistic Healing group
on Reflexology - we were going to put them on the floor
for foot massage! (I had volunteered to bring them for the class
and decided that we needed to have new ones instead of recycling
the dozens we have around)
we laughed about that and then he asked where my sons played tennis
at Hickman High School and Mizzou at the Green Tennis Center

well, it just so happened that his son played at Hickman many years ago
and was part of the team when they were very highly ranked
in the state
I asked him about those days
and it was fun listening to him talk tennis
when it seemed more fitting for him to be saying my
favorite Gandhi quotes...

I remember being a bit self-conscious at one point about my purchases
I was buying nail polish or something that seemed so uncool
in front of Gandhi!
I laughed at myself in myself and enjoyed just chatting
right then and there
so focused and a bit oblivious to the extended reality
that included being in a store

my order was suddenly in plastic bags, paid for, and
I was supposed to be on my way
in the ways of grocery store manner & ethics
but I decided to wait at the end of the counter
for Gandhi to purchase his fruit

I expressed to him that I was most certainly grateful to him
for not taking me up on my offer to go ahead of me
he laughed and said it was a good decision on his part
he said that actually whatever it was that he had originally
come into Wal-Mart to purchase was not there
(amongst the zillions of stuffs)
and he thought that he would not leave without doing his part
to help the struggling economy
and those three perfect little bananas would be his contribution

he was happy that he did
since we had such a nice conversation
and how rare such an encounter is
in a world in such a hurry
that we pass by such lovely interesting people all the time

but we both chose to enjoy the moment
in line
a sliver of time
passing into the next
with a story in the pocket of my memory

waving goodbye
I smiled carrying two plastic bags
looking at many many faces as I walked out
wondering about their stories

did I regret not "mentioning" the fact that he stunned
the living daylights out of me, being Gandhi in Wal-Mart
and all that?
in a way

will I ever meet him again?
I only know that when a trip to Wal-Mart is on my radar
I know which one out of five or so I will head to!

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