We went seeking contact lenses.
But the other pilgrims had carts, so we procured a cart. And the others' carts were bountiful, overflowing with goods, so we, too, began to fill our cart.
First there were the pillows, two for $19.99, and another for $30.00. And why not? We deserve pillows, have earned a soft place to rest our heads at night. After the pillows came the toaster oven, but it had not convection, so we moved on. To the books. And though I have vowed to forsake Amazon and Borders, to instead support my nonexistent local bookstore, there was Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You, so lonely and literary among the piles of romance novels and mysteries and many copies of The Audacity of Hope. So it, too, at $6.99, went in the cart, followed by the bottles of wine, the 500 Ziploc sandwich bags, the jug of Kirkland-brand ibuprofen.
And then the lethargy set in, the catatonic trudging from aisle to aisle, confused about our wants and needs. We contemplated a plastic tray of 16 Fuji apples that could not possibly have been grown on trees. We passed by an old man wearing a hairnet and hawking Mentos. "Everyone loves Mentos," he called, and this is true. We do love Mentos, we love Mentos so very much. But should the Mentos go in the cart?
We looked again to the others, but now their carts were not bountiful but gluttonous. For whom did these pilgrims shop? Had they entire villages living in their McMansion basements? Did they send these foodstuffs to starving children in Africa? And what would the African children do with their five-pound tub of Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough? Their 49-pack of frozen beef taquitos?
"Let's go," I hissed.
"What?" he asked.
"Let's just get out of here."
"Did you see they have croissants?" He veered the cart toward the bakery.
"No, where?" I followed, mouth watering. Croissants. The cacophony of pilgrims and 52" flat-screen televisions. The lights shining fluorescently overhead.
Overhead. There were birds! Birds flying high above us, nesting in the corners of the cavernous ceiling.
"Wait! Stop!" I gestured toward what I thought was the front of the store, the huge warehouse doors that empty into the massive parking lot.
"But..." He looked longingly at our carefully selected, much-needed items, the bounty we would leave behind. "What about the cart?"
"Just leave it," I whispered. I grabbed his hand. "Leave the cart."
And so we went.