I went through Old Town Alexandria, passed the 495 exit, the few dodgy motels near it, and then passed the Krispy Kreme. No one goes that far. It’s just not done.
First I come across another Shoppers, that was in a tiny yet newish strip mall with some smaller stores, a CVS and some other stuff. Then I found a Michaels Craft store (that I wish I knew was there a few Sundays ago when I was wandering all over Annandale on the brink of pissing myself looking for a place that sold spray paint) sharing it’s strip with nothing but a Chuck E Cheese. It was the Strip Mall that Time Forgot. The holes were still visible from where the sign for the store before it was installed (It was something with a T). There were weeds growing out of the lines in the parking lot. Lots of them. It was as if the owners of the place stopped caring about its upkeep the second 95 was completed through the area. The place looked like it hadn’t enjoyed any upkeep in twenty years. Time stops on Route 1. But the Michaels was large and well-stocked, even if it was depressing to be in the parking lot.
I ventured south, passing Hubcap Heaven, a ChiChi’s (which is another bonus since I thought they all went out of business) and some more strip malls, one of which had three buffet restaurants in it alone. Then I came upon the Wal-Mart. It shone on the hillside like a beacon of values. I was concerned that it would be as disastrous as the Target on a Sunday during Back to School time, but it wasn’t terrible. I was so delighted to find it, as the only other Wal-Mart nearby I was aware of is out in Fairfax. And dammit, I got some Wal-Mart shopping done – managing to walk out of there with a cartful of stuff, leaving only $60 behind.
After wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart for over an hour and a half, I went to check out. The guy in front of me, who with his, shaven head, bulging neck and biceps, clad in his sweatpants and T-shirt-with-the-sleeves-cut-off bore a shocking resemblance to Billy Blanks was buying a grill, charcoal and some other large box-items. He was still getting his stuff together after he was rung up, and I moved to the register where the girl had already started ringing me up. Billy turns around and demands, “Lady, can you wait just ONE SECOND?” Confused, I asked him what the problem was, and he said that I had “kept bumping into him” with my shopping cart.
I was dumbfounded. I asked him why he said that instead of saying, “excuse me” and he said that he didn’t have time. I told him I would have apologized to him had he not behaved in such a way but since he chose to be rude, he didn’t deserve it. He threw his hands up and said “I’m not going to get into this”. I said “then think about what you are saying before you say it.” He started muttering and walked off.
I felt kind of justified, since the girl gave me one of those “what was that all about” looks and rang me up. I was still pissed, and ran the event over in my head again and again, of course coming up with the perfect comeback (“I thought steroids shrank your balls, not your manners”) while I was loading my stuff in my car. I need writers.