Bananas & Tortillas

Blogtember: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

And there he came, around the corner.

I’ve been known to talk about Walmart before, and the trend continues.

Last Sunday night I made my way to the superstore in hopes of a simple grocery collection for the week. I trekked through the produce only to stumble upon the banana stand…with no bananas. I guess if you count yellow and brown mushpots as bananas, then there were technically 5 or 6 bundles for my choosing.

Next came the nuts. I had a healthy dish in mind that required pine nuts. I think the biggest surprise here is the whole ‘I had a dish’ part, but moving on…Out. Walmart was out. Of pine nuts?

At least I can have a turkey wrap for lunch tomorrow. Hahaha, how could you be so naive, Katelyn? Why on earth would you think Walmart would have any tortillas for your choosing? Shelf upon shelf of empty, tortilla-less space stared back at me in cruelty.

Salad? Well yes, if I wanted to spend $5 on spinach that was set to expire the next day.

All of this after my phone somehow deleted my entire grocery list.

I think it was the tortillas that sent me into a full on temper tantrum. I began flooding Walker’s phone with pictures of empty shelves and battered fruit. I walked around sulking, and my gosh I wish it had been the quiet kind. No, I chose to speak my mind. To myself. With people around. There are some strangers out there telling someone a story about a girl who just might die without her pine nuts.

How could Walmart do this to me? Don’t the managers know I work tomorrow, and how dare I have to make a second grocery trip after a long Monday at school? I was fuming. And pitying myself.

I even ran into a co-worker. Oh, Lord.

And there he came, around the corner.

A middle-aged man also hoping for a simple grocery collection for the week. A middle-aged man with obvious signs of having suffered a stroke at some point in his life. A man pushing his shopping cart with one arm and limping with each step down the aisle. A man waiting for the traffic jam to pass, because he can’t run them over weave in an out like the rest of us.

And with his turn around the corner, my life took a turn, too.

It’s these everyday ‘drastic’ turns that seem to point me in the right direction. These moments tend to mold me and shape my life more than any one, distinct event or circumstance.

I was in Walmart, a store that literally (used in the correct sense) has anything I could ever need to sustain me, but with the absence of bananas, I broke into a full out pity rage.

I’ve travelled to Africa where the weather determines sustainability. I’ve been to the border where food of plenty is not a theme. I’v volunteered in downtown Lufkin where people wait in a long line, rain or shine, to receive groceries. But don’t deny me my spinach. Don’t do that to me.

And with his turn, I turned.

My ground returned underneath me. I no longer floated around the store like a god, thinking I deserved better. I began walking on even ground with those around me. Waiting patiently to move through the aisles, smiling at those I passed, and remembering that my inability to make a certain dish is pretty much the absolute smallest problem in the entire world.

It’s in these moments I realize how pathetic I really am. Complaining and sulking about things that others wish to be their only problems.

Oftentimes I dread going to Walmart. But most times I learn more about myself than I wish to know. The issue has more to do with my entitled self than the store itself.  I’m reminded that I’m no better than any other person in that crowd of people trying to get their groceries. That the shoppers who bought the pine nuts before me deserve them just as much as I do, probably more. And that Walmart cannot ruin my life, only my terrible attitude can.

My life right now is pretty easy in comparison. Is it not my responsibility and joy to make others’ lives easier, too? One day my life won’t be so carefree, and I hope I don’t run into someone like myself that night. If someone ever tells you a story about a raging banana-holic, tell them she’s sorry. 

He came around the corner, and he changed my life.

photoI was going to post my pictures of empty shelves that I sent Walker that night, but this seemed entirely more productive.


4 thoughts on “Bananas & Tortillas

  1. thanks Katelyn. I can always use a reminder of how fortunate I am and how entitled I often feel! Great read!

  2. You are my hero for just tackling a shopping trip to Walmart. 🙂 Not to mention the ability to find gratitude in the mist of the trip. You’re the best. 🙂

  3. This morning we sang “Count Your Blessings.”. Thanks for remembering yours and for reminding me. Life is wonderful. Gratitude or gripes. The better choice is definitely thanksgiving. Beautiful blog, Bear!

  4. I’m really glad that I stumbled upon your blog tonight. I needed to read this. It’s so easy to mope about the things I want, until I’m reminded that I have the things I really need.

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