Last evening, led by my youthful companions, who know that my hatred of shopping is outweighed only by my love of spending time with them, I entered a never-done-before alternate world.
In this alternate world, I observed many things, such as bureaus hung on walls three stories high, giant signs which admonished us ominously to “get a cart” because we would “need one,” and an enormous escalator lifting countless passengers skyward.
Giant bins were filled with things so cheaply priced that we began to feel panicky, as if we should buy them all if only because of their absurd cheapness.
Many conversations were overheard.
Man to woman: Downstairs you can get a hot dog, chips and a soda for $2.50. They’re giving away food down there. Giving it away. And no line.
Woman: I don’t care. I want the Swedish meatballs. That’s what they’re famous for. We’re staying here.
Woman to small child pushing cart: Honey, you’ve got to stay on the path and keep moving. We’re like buffaloes in here. We have to go where they tell us to go.
Small cart-pushing child to woman: We’re like buffaloes?
Me to youthful companions as we shuffled through a labyrinthine cafeteria line: Why are all these people using walkers?
Youthful companions to me: Those aren’t walkers, Mom. They’re tray carts to hold your food.
Everything in the ordinary world, once we managed to find it again after literally getting lost in this alternate world, seemed beautifully small.