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Something Strange Is Going On Here....


Today I did something very strange. I went to Sam's Club and bought a single pair of jeans. Is that weird or what? When the time comes, I don't think I'll need to renew my card.

I'm a good shopper, in a sense. Really. Once I know what I want, I can usually get it wholesale. If you ever need a cheap transfusion, call me. I can make a turnip bleed.

Just give me the type and Rh factor, and I'll get on it.

But I just hate being in a store. I always have. I hate being sold stuff. I hate being told I need something when I know I don't. I hate the omnipresent advertising con.

So I always bought in quantity, just to put off having to go back down there, into Gomorrah. Not all that long ago, I even bought half a calf at a time, and froze it. It made me feel smugly virtuous, secure, and provident.

Like one of the Secret Elect. The Shopper Who Prepared for the Worst. Let the Grasshopper fiddle away the day. I was the Eternal Ant.

That's why Sam's Club suited me for so long. Want laundry soap? Here's a box big enough to move into when it's empty. Which won't happen this year. Dog food? Here's 50 pounds. The little furrball doesn't weigh but 15, so with any luck you may never have to buy this stuff again. Lookit, there's 72 Bic pens, and 24 highlighters - your academic career is all set. Stacks and stacks of jeans and shirts - buy'em by the dozen.

Get the picture? The great thing for me about Sam's Club was that I didn't have to go shopping but once every month or so. Or longer. For a long time I bought clothes only once a year, usually at the outlet mall in San Marcos. 'Course I had to have the suburban equivalent of a barn to keep all that stuff in.

No more. A couple of months ago I moved into this stick and fiberglass chrysalis, and strange things are happening. I'm unlikely to become a butterfly, but I am changing into something other than I was.

I'm evolving, but into what?

I am sensitive to small things that never bothered me before. Take the grocery store. Have you tried to buy a single bar of soap lately? Or a single roll of toilet paper? Half a dozen eggs? A stick of butter?

It may still be possible, but not easily, and not everywhere.

Living in the trailer is giving me the shopping habits of the elderly urban poor, long before I am any of those things. Or even close.

This is the way everyone used to shop before refrigeration. Every day you went to the store and bought for a meal or two or three. More than that wouldn't keep. Ice boxes were tiny.

Well, they still are, in my trailer.

And, oddly, that's okay with me. I just wish I could walk to the HEB. There's less need these days to carry much, either in my wallet or in my arms. It'd be a good excuse to stretch my legs.

I'm evolving, all right. I'm slowly turning into a full time RV'er.

Like any birth, it isn't exactly easy, but there is an inevitability to the process. One day you'll just look up, and I'll be gone.

Even if you see me go, you won't know me.

I'll hardly know myself.


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