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I wonder if Descartes would have thought it a worthy enterprise to prove the existence of God had Costco existed in the 1600’s.
Amelia came home the other day after completing her third year. We had a busy day ahead of us in preparation for sneaking away for the weekend. I dropped Suzanne off at her mother’s home, and then picked up Amelia at the airport. From there the two of us headed to Suzanne’s mother’s apartment to clean. Gloria has recently moved into a home and we were tasked with the final cleanup at the old place.
Afterward we picked up Suzanne, headed to Westboro for a bit of shopping then a couple of stops in the Market and over the bridge to Quebec. On the way home we had to do our monthly penance and stop at COSTCO for a run of “the staples”.
I don’t know what exactly it was that I perpetrated in my previous life that makes my penance in this one so devious, but it must have been something egregiously horrible.
It was Friday at about 3:30pm in a government town. Awesome timing right? I can usually pre-judge my COSTCO experience by the number of carts remaining in the cart queue. Once again, I am fully aware of how this defeats the power of positive thinking but remember, I am but a few meager steps into this journey of enlightenment.
At first blush it appears they have enough carts for the whole metropolitan area of Ottawa/Hull to go joy riding through the aisles of this archaic behemoth. I would estimate the parking area for shopping carts to be somewhere around 5,000 square feet. When we walked in the remaining carts couldn’t have taken up more than 500 square feet. I knew immediately I needed to start breathing deeply.
I’ve been to a lot of suspect places on this planet and I have yet to discover a place where I am more ill suited. There is a long list of things that make this so. Simple things, like the endless chaotic wave of unruly people blindly pushing engorged carts ignorantly about. If not running up the back of my ankles with their four wheeled weapons, then in a fog of unawareness leaving them in the middle of the aisle to impede my egress.
Nowhere is the sheer scope of the obscenity of first-world consumerism better exemplified than at COSTCO. Skids piled to ceiling height with product packaging on steroids, aggressively held together with reams of plastic shrink-wrap and industrial cardboard are everywhere. Aisle upon aisle of pre-packaged process food designed to uncomplicated the lives of the masses while keeping them on a dizzying chemical slide toward obesity. And oh, those poor individuals draped in latex gloves, hats and body suits - distributing the ubiquitous free sample and innocently causing my ankles to bear the brunt of yet another stainless steel bear cage on wheels being deftly diverted toward the sickening wafting scent of Chef Boyardee mac and cheese.
As you can see, I am an intimidated fish out of water in this place and have a history of succumbing to the emotional aspects of the experience.
I attempt to achieve some peace by entering into my own special kind of Costco meditation. Unfortunately for all concerned, this usually ends all too abruptly and long before we can hit the exit doors, my patience diminishes.
To quote Robert Plant, “it’s nobody’s fault but mine”! I walk in bearing an optimistic attitude of positivity, ready and willing to sustain this throughout all facets of the adventure. Almost without exception though, I lose focus coming down the home stretch and am abruptly jarred out of the meditation. Then, my old patterns return and my impatience, if we are lucky, cause only a few uncomfortable moments for all of us, as I dictate a diversion toward the chaos that is the cash area.
By this time I am often figuratively curled into a fetal ball of cynicism. This was indeed the case the other day when Amelia and I found ourselves left alone in cart cue hell, as Suzanne ran one last short distance sortie. In the head-spinning dizziness of the moment, I scanned the area, glanced at the singular result of my procreation and in an exasperatingly meek tone, muttered… “Humanity is fucked”!
Later however, as the cold light of day reinvigorated some perspective, I once again realized that while COSTCO proves to me the razors edge we, as a race, walk toward an imminently finite existence, that somehow we can rise together as a collective consciousness and persevere.
Failing this, thank God COSTCO in Quebec sells those sixty packs of beer for sixty bucks!