last night on aisle 3


Six hours on a plane — two-thirds spent circling, diverting, landing, contemplating, refueling, taking off, and landing again — marked the beginning of one vacation and the end of another.

Whether due to a disruption in centrifugal force or a cavalier decision to finally stop traveling with an emergency handful of supplies, I’ve been restarted.

Like a relationship that’s been off and on for some time, I’ve got mixed feelings about discovering it’s “not over.” 

On the one hand, I’m annoyed with the inconvenience and pain cluttering my precious time on the mountain.  On the other hand, I’m lingering in earnest over an experience I know is coming to an end. 

It’s quite possible that Gloria — the Peruvian mountain worker stationed on aisle 3 last night at Walmart — picked up on some of this as she waved the prodigal box back and forth over the scanner like a checkered flag. 

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  One box.  Five beeps.

Whoopsies Gloria.  

“Gusher on aisle three,” Joe volunteers.  I’m busting a gut and — yes, well — that too.

The remarks flow freely — another ten minutes at least — while we wait for the manager to appear and remedy the situation. 

As she re-rings the sale, she gently instructs Gloria, “wave it once, put it on the other side, and keep it there.”

Now that’s a piece of advice that could apply to more than one situation in life. 

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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