Saturday, September 7, 2013


I have awakened too late. I feed the cats, gulp down black coffee and run out to meet the bus while eating a bulk purchased protein bar. Today I want to try something new. Gone are the days of Sunday being a day off with the luxury of eating an entire bagel with cream cheese and banana, kicking back, drinking a cup of coffee, reading a Sunday paper and watching the Sunday morning debate shows. Now I will never again eat bananas or bagels because they make me seriously ill, I'll rarely buy a Sunday paper as it's a luxury I can no longer afford, nor have time to watch the morning debates as Sunday is now known as “Walmart Day”.

On Sundays there is a special bus with only a few runs, that goes straight to Walmart with no transfers. This is great because I don't want to haul a 25 LB bag of cat litter from bus to bus. Normally I would do this purchase on a car trip, but after a $500 auto repair job resulting in less than a two month reprieve, it seems likely that I may be permanently without a car. Today I will try the previously unthinkable: I want to see if I can bring a 25LB bag of cat litter home by bus.

Fortunately I arrive on time. Sunday morning can be rather crowded on the bus. It used to be that you could take a cart on the bus, but no more. Fortunately I have a handy cart that folds-up to the shape and size of a sizable laptop, but I still have concerns about this proposition: Will this small plastic cart be able to carry a 25LB load? And, will I, being 5'1” thin and anemic, be able to carry and lift it onto the small platform just inside the bus? I am uncertain, as I can slightly lift the bag awkwardly at best, and I have never tried to lift one that high. But I cannot afford to buy even 10LB bags of cat litter as the amount needed would be about 4.5 times more expensive. To survive on my income, all things must be thought out in this way. I need to at least try to do it.

I arrive at Walmart and I have an hour until the bus returns. I need groceries but the cat litter is likely all I will be able to handle. I go to the back of the store, pull out my plastic cart and unfold it. An elderly woman asks if I need help. I thank her and rudely drop the litter into the cart and try pulling it about. It does not fall apart and the bottom does not fall through. With great difficulty I lift the small cart and litter, getting momentary hung up over the top of the shopping cart, but I am able to do it. I wonder if I will be able to get it onto the small “leave your big stuff here platform” just inside the bus, and I hope that the bus doesn't take off while I am doing so.... I meander about. I buy a head of lettuce and some yogurt. I want to buy almond milk but it is too heavy. Same thing goes for potatoes.

I get a bit behind and rush out to the bus stop. No one is there which makes me nervous, but apparently they've all been waiting in the entryway watching through the glass doors for the bus. The crowd emerges fully loaded with bags, double back packs, a wheelchair back loaded with at least four large cloth bags. The wheelchair lift is down so I wheel in, plunge the cart handle down and lift. Success! I move as quickly as I can but I still delay the line. I take a seat elsewhere and make a note to turn the cart next time as it rolls back and forth in the direction of an elderly rider as the bus meanders down the road.

I run into a homeless man whom I'd seen on the bus before. We talk. He will be receiving social security retirement in 10 days and getting a place to live for the first time in a year. I am sincerely happy for him.

I exit the bus and return home. I am very tired and my back hurts. After 4 hours of rest I can write this blog. The trip took 2.25 hours of time and I have saved approximately $11.50. Once I recover I will resume work on devices to stretch my meager funds. With a Mensan mind I have other things I'd rather to be doing, but the logistics of my situation and survival are more pressing events...for now anyway.

Todays Lesson: I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed. Booker T. Washington

copyright Linda Matthews  9/7/2013

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