First: Have you ever been to a flea market? You know, the kind held in some large building that usually houses old sewage trucks or mangled carnival equipment and smells faintly of horse manure and rotting flesh? The kind where booths are jam-packed with with a jumble of dusty, useless knick-knacks that someone, somewhere, during a meth high or after a skull fracture caused by a cement bar floor, decided to put a price tag on? The kind where you can’t get past the booth filled with “buy-2-get-1-free”VCRs, in their original packaging because a woman in a scooter chair is trying to decide whether she should move on to the next booth or to the restroom to change her colostomy bag? The kind of flea market that sells toys and kiddie trinkets so full of lead that the steel display table is sagging in the middle? Where they sell solar-powered light up pictures of The Last Supper, or Elvis, or Elvis at The Last Supper?
Second: Have you ever been in a bus depot? Not the city mass transit (or mass transient) shelters, but a real bus depot, the kind with busses with dogs or arrows painted on the side? The kind that can take you to any other bus depot in the country? You know those depots. They’re the ones with globs of phlegm, crushed cigarette butts, and dried blood drops on the floor…and that’s just in the entry. The kind of bus depot that is filled with hard plastic benches, scratched with gang signs, profanity, and an occasional “John 3:16”. Benches filled with slouching, sleeping, obviously homeward or homeless bound people smelling like they just left a flea market? Depots with people standing outside by the newspaper racks, smoking a cigarette butt they found on the ground or blowing snot rockets into the paths of passers-by who just want to get the hell away from being seen at a bus depot?
Against my better judgement (wait, I don’t even have good judgement; how dare I assume I have something better than something I haven’t?) I went shopping at Wally-world with my husband yesterday. On a Saturday afternoon. Maybe it was because I was over-tired (on-line job searching will do that to a middle-aged woman) or because I had taken a prescription drug that keeps me from having a panic attack every time I think of having to go online searching for a new job, but the moment we entered Wally-world, I felt that I had entered a building where the flea market and bus depot had converged. For some odd reason, I found it mildly amusing. That is, until the aisle blocked by the same woman at the flea market. She never did get her colostomy bag changed.