Monday, May 18, 2009

10 minutes at Costco, a lifetime of reflection

The Christmas before last  I was at Costco, that membership wholesale everything chain, walking through the huge airplane hanger size aisles with the towering shelves looking for a pressure washer. 

One of the things I love about Costco is that you can walk out of that place with a big, hot, freshly roasted chicken, a pressure washer, a liter bottle of Patron tequila, a computer, a 4-pack of underwear and a 52 inch LCD TV. Is this the land of the free or what?

 Anyway, I came upon two Buddhist monks—short swarthy men with shaved heads and brown robes—in one of the side aisles trying to wrestle down a HUGE and unwieldy wall clock from a shelf above them. This clock is probably five feet in diameter. I’m wishing I had a camera because well, you know, TIME is, Buddhistically speaking, an illusion. 

One of the monks, staggering backward, rolls one eye in my direction and jerks his head as if to say, c’mon, help a guy out, would ya?  

So I joined in the struggle in a take-charge sort of way, but I went in assuming the clock would be very heavy, however, it turns out it’s light, just hard to manage and the top of the clock packaging is caught on some wire on a shelf above us.  

I overcompensated and gave the whole deal a mighty, manly yank and the three of us, locked to the clock and each other, lose our balance and slowly sag to the left, collapsing in a robed heap while the clock smacks into the other side of the aisle, knocks down some aerosol cans for flat tires, and one can goes spinning out of control, ruptured and spraying and rolls between the legs of a woman of advanced age and delivers a sticky pinkish payload straight up her skirt. She’s standing there with this I’ve-been-violated-in-a-shockingly-intimate-way look that's kind of hard to forget once you've seen it.

The clock was bent in half, not unlike something Salvadore Dali might have dreamed up. As I struggle to my feet, I catch an up-toga view of one monk's really, really droopy brief-style underwear. I remember hoping that this strange sight wouldn't become a permanent Christmas memory.   

I got up and said, well, time flies, haha, but no one is listening. Someone is wiping down the old woman. A crowd has gathered.  Everyone is yammering at the same time the way people do when they are confused about who is to blame.

My work was done. I left. 

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