Tuesday, April 20, 2010

America shops at Sam's

While I can't take credit for that saying, I surely can write about it.  I'm an avid people watcher, and generally don't tend to miss too much.  Where we live, there are million dollar homes within two blocks of our home in one direction, and government housing two blocks the other direction.  I would love to be one of family's that lives in the 'burbs and has a grade A school, and drives the ever ubiquitous Lexus this and Mercedes that...but, I just don't seem to roll that way.  For one, I don't have the cash, or the credit.  The Oklahoma State School of Osteopathic Medicine sees to that.  But, really, I am a fan of life, high life, low life, I enjoy it all.  There cannot be appreciation of pleasure without knowledge of pain.  There can't be hope in the absence of despair.  So, I sit, fascinated at the world around me, where rich people and poor people, folks who have it all, and those who have to take it clandestinely from others, live around me.  


I'm amazed that the grocery store close to my house sells steel toed boots.  Why would that be?  They have a clothing section as well.  Whole Foods sells Tom's shoes for $45 a pair, which puts a pair of shoes on someone's feet in another country.  Steel toed boots go for $25 at the Warehouse Market, and for another $25, you can probably get your cousin a job with the second pair.  But, I'm not upset about this, I'm past that.  We live in a world that we can affect, and we live in a world that we cannot affect.  Sometimes we are actors, and sometimes, we are just in the audience.  I realize it has become important to realize which scene is being portrayed, and to understand your role.  Trying to help in the wrong situation does not help.


"Daddy, why are those people pushing those carts across the street?"  


"Because they don't have cars baby."


"Why not?"


"Because they just don't.  Some are poor, some can't drive, some are like I was once and couldn't be responsible enough hold down a job and pay for insurance and gas..."  


That ended the conversation with the seven year old. 


Sam's must be my favorite place to watch folks.  I visited a buddy in Nebraska recently, who own's a restaurant.  We went shopping at Sam's.  "America shops at Sam's", He said.  


He's right.  I swear I'm almost in tears every time I'm at Sam's.  An older couple shopping and arguing about whether or not they need 5 gallons of laundry detergent, or 144 rolls of toilet paper, can split your sides.  A family that's eating at the Sam's cafe can bring tears to your eyes for a completely different reason.  People who need to shop at Sam's alongside those that want to shop at Sam's.  Fascinating cross section of life.  Freeze it, slice it and put it under a microscope and you'll see America, right there.


We can't agree on politics, we'll fight to the death on health care, but white, black, brown, republican, poor, rich, democrats, we all stand in line at Sam's...and we're all pissed that they only have 3 checkers for all 300 of us.