I wasn't brave enough to venture far from home the day after Thanksgiving...and the slippery roads had nothing to do with it.
The fact is that crazy, post-turkey day shoppers scare me.
In search of a deal or the latest hot toy, they will rip items from other shoppers' arms and body check those attempting to do the same to them. Think of the "golden rule" with a rather sinister twist.
At retailers large and small throughout the United States, shopping carts become both shield and battering ram and a heavy-laden purse with a durable strap can pose as a very effective medieval flail.
I would have no part of it this year. The PTSD flashbacks I have from a past misadventure were enough to keep me safe and secure at the Chelsea homestead while Missy and her wing-girl Emma braved both the elements and shopping lunatics to purchase Christmas gifts.
I was still a bit leery about journeying to Wal-mart yesterday morning, but I needed to buy a few items to complete my latest salsa order. Besides, I reasoned, all of the Black Friday deals were done and the mad rush was over. I would be relatively safe.
I was wrong.
My assumptions about the throng of young, energetic BF shoppers was correct. They were long gone. Unfortunately, I never considered the Black Saturday grannies...the most dangerous adversaries of the shopping season.
Place them at Wal-mart two days after Thanksgiving and it's a much different story. The result is like feeding mogwai after midnight...they change.
Gone are the sweet, twinkling eyes, the warm, soft voice...replaced with a frenzied gaze and an edgy, determined voice that brings spine-tingling chills. They are wily, combat-tested veterans of the holiday shopping season and have the battle scars and war stories to prove it.
And they shop early, another key point I'd forgotten as I arrived at the Augusta Wal-mart yesterday at 8:30 a.m.
All was well by the time I checked off half the items on my list. And then I made the mistake of venturing to the craft area. I was out of my element as I maneuvered through aisles of yarn and fabric, slowly scanning like an out-of-state driver trying to negotiate the Augusta traffic circles.
Flustered, I tried to offer an apology for an act I didn't commit, while she cursed like a sailor as her four-foot, 10-inch frame seemed to levitate with anger like Sister Mary Stigmata in The Blues Brothers.
I offered one more feeble apology as I turned my disheveled cart, left the accident scene and took the most direct route to the nearest checkout line. Ten minutes later, I rushed past the door greeter and loaded my bags into the car trunk.
Just as I returning my cart to the nearest corral - thankful to survive another Wal-Mart experience - I had to leap out of the path of a light blue, early 1990s-era Buick that clipped the handle of my now-unoccupied cart as it barrelled its way toward the exit.
I couldn't positively ID the driver because of the speed at which she was traveling, but I know who it was. The tuft of bluish hair barely poking up over the steering wheel gave her away.
Merry Christmas, to you too, granny!