Here in this adventure of self discovery which I embarked upon when I moved to the South, I am learning whole heaps. (aaaaaaaaaaaannd, sometimes I am absorbed in my mind processing the sheer amount of new stuff going on there that I get distractified and forget to blog about it. I suck. Sorry, siblings. Sorry parents. Sorry the two other people in the world who read this....)
One especially unexpected thing I have learned from this Carolina venture is that trips to Walmart often spark surprisingly strong emotional responses from me. I find that a whole lot of memories are wrapped up in this place. That's right. The superstore that is slowly taking over the world with minimum wage jobs and shameful amounts of planned obsolesence is now strewn about with sentimental value. Who have I become?
You know what really bothers me about this? I came here expecting everything in my life to be completely different, and I planned and hoped that the one exception to this total new slate would be the Church. It's the same gospel everywhere, right? Wherever you are, there is a ward or a branch. You move. You find your ward. You belong there. This is a unique and wonderful thing about the organization of the gospel! It will be an underlying coloration transferred from my old life to an otherwise new canvas! This is the only possible thing that could posess such magical qualities of over-arching life sameness, I told myself!
I was wrong. And I feel slightly.... what's the word? Yucked. There is exactly one other thing here in this totally new place which is exactly the same but with a new building. And that one thing is Walmart.
It was hard to feel hope for myself and humanity when I realized this. I feel torn when I go there, not only the regular feelings of tearing that come from the conflict between the fact that they are destroying the world and the fact that shampoo is super cheaper. This was the conflict that comes from my deep rooted distasteful feelings about Walmart as an institution and my feelings of sudden comfort when I find another place I can walk into and find anything, often encountering sudden memories on the way.
Did you all know that I spent a lot of time at Walmart when I lived in Logan? These days, I shop with my sister in the middle of the night, frequently. And it's this thing now. We shop, I tell stories about walking around my with my roommates playing the "Do you really need that?" game, and the time Katie and I both held one of Shane's hands around Walmart cause we had to outdo ourselves at the awkward game, or the time(s) I laid in my car in the parking lot with my music turned up way too loud as a coping mechanism for stress. I cannot suppress the nostalgia which washes over me when I walk down the juice aisle and think of Stephanie and I taking turns at choosing flavors, and I love love love the amount of endorphins that are realeased to this day when I walk past the berry colossal crunch and banana split ice cream that kept all of us in Apartment 27 alive and well. The peanut butter ice cream makes me think of Stephanie and Lance and the time we ate a lot of that stuff sitting on the floor of our living room passing the carton around with a single spoon. I love that they still have displays of ninety nine cent french bread and how it was a commandment of the gospel according to amy that you can't not buy ninety nine cent french bread. There are even reminders of stress so awful I thought I would crack and fail at school and work and life, none of which happened. And the reminder is actually uplifting. Like when I walk past the tea and think of that time I was really sick in week twelve of the semester with the nastiest part of the work week looming ahead, but instead of sleeping I was at walmart in the middle of the night on the phone with my mom asking which teas are allowed cause I wasn't coherent enough to remember. Seeing as how I survived, this has become a good memory.
Walking around Walmart is now a concentrated memory injector. So much so that last week when Daxx was here visiting and we went to Walmart to buy Mountain Dew we spent an hour and a half strolling around telling stories, and he commented on how Walmart is an oddly good place to learn about someone.
I don't know if this is good or bad. All I know is I feel like holding up some permanent awkward hands when I realize that I just made a comparison between the Church and Walmart on the internet in any small way. ("I feel like I just found out my favorite love song was written about a sandwich!")