I ran to Walmart on my lunch break recently to get a few things that I needed for Iftaar. As always, there is no absence of craziness in that place. The actual shopping adventure was uneventful, but the parking lot was another realm of foolishness. Before I got even 5 feet out the door, I was approached by a guy in a yellow T-shirt with some sort of logo on the front. “Ma’am?” he asked as he approached. I am NOT old enough to be anybody’s ma’am. So that was strike one. “Would you like to buy a cheesecake to benefit…?” I didn’t even hear the name of the organization he was representing. All I heard was cheesecake. On any other day, that might have been very appealing. However, I am pretty sure it was a hundred degrees outside. What on earth would make anyone think that selling cheesecakes that have been paraded through the Walmart parking lot on a 100 degree day (for God knows how long) would be a good idea? I didn’t lean in for close inspection of his wares, but I would not have been surprised if the texture was more like that of cottage cheese than cheese cake. Sure, $5 is a sweet deal for a whole cheesecake, but not if I am going to be on my knees worshipping the toilet a few hours later. I declined his foil pie pan and headed towards my car.
Before reaching it, I spotted a woman walking up and down the aisles wearing an orange vest with reflector stickers on it. Around her waist she sported a utility belt, which held probably six bottles of water. “Get your ice cold water here!” she shouted to anyone who was listening. And oddly enough, the water did look cold. I have no idea how that was possible but sure enough, condensation turned into droplets of water and ran down the sides of each bottle. How on earth did she keep it cold? The intense heat of the day was combined with humidity so thick that my lungs have now been conditioned for breathing under water. Despite almost losing my fingers to frostbite from the air-conditioning in the store, I was now thawed and poaching in my own sweat. Yet those bottles of water maintained their seemingly cool temperature. People began flocking around the woman like mosquitoes to a porch light.
I looked back at the guy holding his cheesecakes with pity. He appeared defeated and deflated. It was hard not to feel sorry for him. Not so sorry that I bought one of those hot cheesecakes, though.