Writer: Beth Hallman | When you live in a small town, you best haul your behind to the store as soon as that school supply list is released. If you wait until the day before school starts (like some crazy mamas do), you’ll be standing in a ransacked Dollar General at nine o’clock at night, looking at a wasteland where crayons and markers once roamed free. You didn’t buy this crap last week when you were in the next town over. The next town over is where the streets are paved in pretty composition notebooks and pink highlighters.
In your tiny town, the Back to School displays look like they have been mauled over good and proper by a pack of wild boars. You are the scavenger hyena, rooting through overturned boxes of college ruled paper. You frantically search for one big glue stick on accounta that three pack of small ones you have just dug out from underneath a pile of cheap pens won’t do. You done up and lost your mind.
And by you, I mean me. This is all me.
After a full day of running errands, I’m tired, cranky, and on a mission, a mission to buy everything on this crap list of supplies I’ve had stuffed in my overstuffed purse for days. I argue with my daughter. She doesn’t have to have all of these things tomorrow morning, but it’s middle school and she’s on a mission, a mission to be prepared. I tell her just roll with it, be cool. She tells me cool and prepared aren’t mutually exclusive. Ughhhhhhhh! It’s a moral imperative to get to school at seven freaking thirty the next day with everything on this freaking list. And so on I go, desperately searching for school supplies.
The aisles are teeming with other crazy mothers and fathers. I’m thinking I may have to attack this Mardi Gras style. No, not by flashing my boobs. Gah. Just because I’m in a dirty Dollar General in the bowels of Georgia, doesn’t mean I’ve lost all sense of decorum. I’m talking about the old bend, elbow, grab maneuver we used to use back in Mobile, Alabama. There was an art to scooping up any beads that managed to hit the ground as the floats went by. I was prepared to employ this tactic to get the big glue stick.
Glue sticks aren’t my real problem. I can’t find a two inch binder. One and a half and three inch binders are a dime a dozen. For some jacked up reason, her teacher wants a two inch binder. I’ve decided not to like this teacher on principle. A two inch binder has been abandoned on the dog food aisle! I snatch it up right quick. Who the hell left this here? Don’t they know two inch binders are worth millions right now?
My mister strolls toward me, pushing our buggy without a care in the world. Oh my god, it’s like he doesn’t even understand we are at Defcon One here! He smiles at me and makes a kissy face when he’s about three feet away. I throw that mother flipping, Alpo scented binder at him. He catches it like Mr. Miyagi catches flies with his chopsticks. That’s when I see he already has everything on the list- the two inch binder, the composition notebooks, even the big glue stick. Dumbfounded, I ask, “Where did you find all that?”
My mister says to me,”Two aisles over on the Back to School display.”
He puts the million dollar binder back on top of the dog food and kisses me on the nose. I grab a bottle of dollar store wine on the way to the checkout. The only things keeping me grounded are this skunky wine and the promise of an empty house tomorrow. Shit a’mighty, y’all. Happy Back to School Eve!