My wife had to go the Walmart, and said she didn’t plan to be long. So instead of leaving and coming back later, I went it to wait.
Well, she was a little longer than I or she thought, so I had plenty of time to wait. I sat on one of their metal grated benches in front of the registers and engaged in one of my favorite pastimes: people watching.
It’s “move-in” weekend at Virginia Tech, and the place was packed with parents and students getting all their wares for the new semester. It was a real zoo at those registers.
The “animals” were dressed in all kind of VT garb. What a collection! They all wore the Hokie uniform in some fashion.
There were people with VT hats. Some had hats and shirt that read “VT Mom” or “Virginia Tech Dad”. Other variations were “Maroon Effect”, “Beamer Ball (Frank Beamer is the football coach) and “What’s a Hokie? I am.”
A couple people took their lives in their hands with their attire. One man walked by with an orange “Virginia” (University of Virginia) shirt. Another guy had on a Dallas Cowboy shirt in what is clearly Washington Redskins territory.
My favorite T shirt though was not related to VT. Some young man had a shirt with arrows pointing out to his left and right arms from his chest. The inscription on his shirt read, “These aren’t guns. They’re regular arms.”
The other thing I noticed other than VT wear was the plethora of cell phones. Driving by the entrance to park, some lady crossed slowly talking on her cell phone, looked straight at the door, and held her hand up to motion me to wait. Maybe they should require hands free phones for pedestrians, too!
Anothe lady stood at the register leaning her head on her shoulder. Her cell phone was clasped to her ear and she was trying to enter her pin number into the the machine and talk at the same time. I guess women are just multitaskers.
Wal Mart is a great place to meet people you know —or don’t know. One lady I recognize walked by with her husband, stopped for a second and said,”I see you a lot at the coffee shop, and now I see you at the gym!” I replied, “Well, Blacksburg is a small town.” She introduced herself, I returned the favor and she moved on.
The most memorable meeting was one I had with a couple of my former Arab students. This man and woman are adult professionals on Fulbright scholarships waiting to move on to new universities.
They stopped by to chat. I joked that I had been driving my wife around, and normally I wouldn’t be sitting in the Walmart, but hey, it’s her birthday.
We chatted some more and then said our goodbyes. Fatima returned a few minutes later and sat down and chatted some more. Than Salem came by with a dozen roses for my wife. A real class act, I’d say.
I spend a lot of time on this laptop, but it was a wake up call to me sitting there in the Walmart with my notebook and pen. Yogi Berra was right. You can observe a lot just by watching.