It’s bad enough that I have to go to Walmart once or twice a week, but throw in some smelly people, a guy talking on an obviously pretend cell phone, and children who need slapped, and I am beat. But, yesterday was a day like no other. Because, yesterday in Walmart, among the mystery smells and nose pickers, there was also…….a whistler.
I really don’t know how the general population views whistling. I have never asked anyone. Some whistling is great. For example, the opening song to the Andy Griffith show is a whistle. I used to like that. Didn’t bother me a bit. I used to sit down on the floor, in front of the tv, whistling along to the opening and closing credits. But, nowadays, many many years later, it grates on me to the point where I lose my mind. I mean, I lose my mind.
Years ago, when my children were quite small, we would go to Hills Department Store. I could always hear ”The Bird Lady,” even if she was on the other side of the store. It was that loud. She was like a damn mockingbird. I am not kidding. One bird call after another after another. There was no break. The first time I heard it, I had to search the person out. I thought it might be a guy. I was surprised to see an older lady with short hair and dirt under her fingernails. She was a farmer. I was sure of it. The second time I heard her, I smiled, and went on my way. She seemed to be there whenever I was. By the 6th time or so, I was ready to say, “Enough already.”
I think the whistling that sends me over the edge is what I call, “Jesus whistling.” I was in an antique shop several months ago, and the owner was whistling while I was walking through the rooms. The shop was on the first floor of an older home, so her whistling was right on top of me. She was at first attempting (notice I said “attempting”) to whistle, Bringing in the Sheaves, and then followed that successful tune with What a Friend We Have in Jesus. But, she was multi-talented, as she could switch from whistling to humming and back again. It was easier to know what the hell song she was trying to butcher. By the time I found my way out of her maze, I wanted to slap her and say,
“Jesus is not your friend.” I actually thought that shoplifting may have been justified that day just to get me the hell out of there.
“Hey, look what I stole out of an antique shop today because the owner was whistling.”
So, when I heard the whistling, I had to find out who was doing it. I thought it was a woman since the music was in the makeup aisle. Maybe the elderly bird lady was still alive, whistling her bird calls. Like Odysseus rowing toward the Sirens, I had to search this person out. But, no, it was an older man, clad in jeans, a jean jacket, sporting a beard and some stupid ass hat I can’t even describe. He wasn’t whistling a song or even bird chirps. He was whistling….nothing. Why would you waste your time inhaling and exhaling to exert sounds that sound like a monkey on crack was making them? Or a owl on crack. Something on crack. It pissed me off. It wasn’t even a song. So, I decided to get the hell away from him.
He followed me.
I went in the cat food aisle. I could hear him coming. I grabbed the wrong bag of cat food and left the area.
I then went over to pick up some wide ruled notebook paper for my classroom. Dammit, I could hear his off-key whistling. I felt like I was playing Marco Polo with a whistler.
Nah, would never have worked.
No, I must note that I was in a SUPER Walmart. That means it is bigger than a BIG Walmart or in some towns, a SMALL Walmart. This is super big. Tall ceilings. I should be able to get away from Willie. Yeah, I already named him. Willie the freak of a Whistler.
Well, I did have a moment or two of peace while picking up my strawberry whipped yogurt in the dairy aisle. But, then I heard him. He somehow was in front of me in the aisle. Shit. He was hesitating by the juice. Hesitation means a break in whistling. This guy could not multi-task. That was good. I needed my mango juice. I had to open the door right in front of him. I reached for the juice, and was almost out of there, when he started again. Right in my ear. Freakin Dr. Seuss nonsense. If Dr. Seuss whistled, that is what it would sound like. What a goober. I put my mango juice in my buggy and looked right at him.
“Sure like whistling, don’t you?” I smiled.
“Can you whistle?” He sounded normal. He should just maybe talk more often.
I shook my head and immediately thought of Lauren Bacall.
He continued. “It’s real easy. I think I learned how to whistle before I learned to talk.”
I wanted to say, “And that’s all ya got?” But, I was nice. I smiled and just strolled away, until I was in the next aisle and then took off. I had to get the hell out of Walmart. I could not take it any longer.
I went to the furthest check-out aisle, fearing if he would be behind me in a long line and I would be stuck. That would be like a claustrophobic moment for me. And then I would surely lose my my mind. I even leave my classroom door open because I’m just not fond of closed in places. I do well on a plane…and in a public restroom. I just must be retarded. But, to be STUCK behind Willie the freak of a whistler would not bode well for me. I could hear the person over the loudspeaker now.
“Code DeltaDawn in checkout aisle 22.” That means, “older lady by herself just lost her mind.” Yeah, I’m well aware of Walmart’s codes. The main one is Code Adam.
I wish I would have had some backup with me. I wish Don Rickles, Jerry Seinfeld, Lewis Black, or Richard Lewis would have been with me. Or all of them. Add in Chandler Bing. They would have said something to him. They would have understood the absurdity that whistling is. But, it was just me and I could see the guy coming. But, wait. He didn’t have anything in his arms, and a lady with a buggy just pulled in behind me. I was in the clear. Everyone stared at him as he passed each check-out aisle. I looked at him and wondered if he whistled while he worked. Shit. He was coming my way. Shit.
Wait. Willie the Whistler has a wife. She was behind me with her buggy full of toilet paper. That’s why he didn’t have a buggy and he was just wandering around, whistling. Figures. Willie came and stood by her.
“Jack, stop whistling. You sound like a broken drill.”
And with that, he quit whistling. I glanced back at them and he looked beaten down, almost depressed. Poor Willie. I felt sorry for him.
Until he started humming.