For a while I was reading Overheard in New York, a blog that asks people to send in the inane, amusing and scary conversations they overhear as they go about their own business in the New York City area. Although the novelty of it has worn off and I listen to Rob read it to me more than I read it myself now.
On our recent holiday in B.C. we had to stop at the Wal-mart in Kelowna. We’d left Katy’s swimsuit at her Grandmother’s in Penticton and because the resort we were heading to was literally in the mountains with not much for retail around, and had a pool, traveling on without replacing the suit was not an option. If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel or resort that possessed a pool with your kids, you know why.
Kelowna is a boom town built mainly on tourism. I have been through it only once and really could avoid it for the rest of my life without trouble, but we needed to use the TransCanada to get to Three Valley Gap, and it took us right through it.
Rob waited with Katy in the truck while I ran in to grab a suit (and blister stick that Band-aid makes that I swear by when running or hiking). It was a good thing. Rob is a non-shopper and Wal-mart on a Sunday afternoon is like mecca for the consumer-set.
Back in the States, I would cruise the Target on a Sunday morning after reading the flyer. It was a ritual born of my pre-widowed days when a dying husband and toddler prevented me from having much contact with the world at large. Aside from the grocery, my only real outings every week was to Target and occasionally taking my daughter to the indoor play area at the mall. I have noticed that shopping seems to have replaced church for many people on Sundays or is their post-church, pre-lunch ritual. I always knew the church goers. They were the ones all dressed up as if they were going to a wedding. The boys in collared shirts and the girls in skirts or dresses. Conversely I always appeared to be on my way to the gym and Katy looked as if I would be dropping her off at a costume party along the way. This was in her “Halloween costumes as every day clothing phase”.
While this Sunday mass consumption thing has enriched the Walmart family, I am not sure it has been an enriching thing for people in general.
As I wound my way through the women’s clothing section in search of the girl’s section, I made a pass of the dressing rooms, scooting around a tall man who was standing directly outside the entrance to the women’s changing room.
As I passed I heard him say to someone who was in the change area,
“The suit looks great, honey, just gotta get on that diet now.”
Not certain I heard that correctly, I actually stopped and looked back at the fellow. He was beaming and nodding – encouragement? – at someone unseen. His arms were folded at his chest and he was clutching a couple of hangers with swim attire dangling. He was not one to give diet either. Obviously athletic at some point in his youth, or at the vary least involved in manual labor of some kind, he had that early thirtyish look of someone not quite unfit but definitely going to seed. Faint traces of a jowly future and the start of what will likely be sturdy love handles.
With praise of the kind this man offered his significant other, should low self-esteem, distorted body image and the eating disorder rise among middle aged women really come as a surprise?