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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In which I discover I really I am a fool

In every person's life, situations and circumstances come along that reveal the truth and depth of character that person possesses. Sometimes these situations and circumstances are big. Life-changing. Other times, it's an utterly ordinary scene that exposes the ugly hiding beneath the pretty.

A crucible, if you will.

There are few places on this planet that turn up the heat on my own personal crucible as hot as the open-twenty-four-hours-a-day-seven-days-a-week flame that is WalMart. And I'll tell you where I get singed every time . . . Not when I am walking the three point eight miles from one end of the store to the other because I forgot that now they stock the watercolors in the back by the toys and not in the front by the office supplies like they used to. It's not the snarly employees or the crying babies or the skanky bathrooms or even the mealy produce of questionable freshness. It's the check-out line. Every stinkin' time.

And so the last time I was there, I had AJ strapped on in the mei tai carrier and D riding shotgun in the cart which was filled to the brim with our weekly groceries. And wouldn't you know it? Wouldn't you just know it? At the Not-So-Okay Corral of check-out lanes, there were exactly two regular lanes open, two express lanes, and then the self check-out lanes. All of those were open, you bet.

Now I might not be the smartest mama on the block, but I do know better than to purposefully station myself in an already painfully long line near the check-out counters with a toddler in tow. A toddler who to this point had been amazingly patient and gracious while her mother zoomed her up and down the aisles, but a toddler, nonetheless, who was also known to go a little nutso upon spying the deliberately placed goodies next to the counters. After all, who can resist the glittery packs of gum? And what of the light-up pens? And the plethora of Dora playing cards? And the siren's song of just one more sippy cup?

So the two (and I am really not exaggerating for effect here, ladies, there were two) regular lanes were out. Express lane? Sure. Yeah, that's out. And what does that leave us with? Those darn self check-out lines.

Deep breath. Don't curse. She's talking now, remember?

No lines at the self check. So that's good. I start throwing things on the mini conveyor belt, muttering to myself about how this the last time, the last time I tell ya!, I will be shopping at WalMart and I am gonna go home and write me a letter, that's what I'm gonna do, and on and on. Meanwhile, a sort of (how shall I say this?) scruffy looking middle-age man gets in line behind me and starts chatting me up. I glared glanced at him and sorta half-heartedly responded to his attempts to chit-chat, but what I really wanted to do was bring about violent retribution on the check-out machine because every single time I tried to swipe an item, it would wait about five seconds and then instruct me to place the item in the bag and if I didn't do this on it's time frame, it froze up and I had to start all over.

Must. Not. Hurt. Anyone.

So I think you get the picture. By the time I endured that ordeal, I was exhausted. And annoyed. Annoyed with Chatty McSmall Talk, annoyed with WalMart, annoyed with the world.

Well, not at all coincidentally, the next day I was looking up a word in my Bible's concordance, and as I glanced through the listings, a word jumped out at me. Annoyance. I sorta chuckled and thought, "I don't remember annoyance showing up in Scripture." Curious, I turned to the lone verse listed under annoyance.

A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult. Proverbs 12:16, NIV

Well, hello Conviction. Good to see you.