Kansas City Bob & The Walmart Commons
I consider myself to be a commoner. Among the common people. Of most frequent occurrence.
Not up high, not down low, just somewhere in the middle. Just ordinary. And not an ordinary defined by colour, race, creed, politics, religion, sex, choice in music or bank account standing. Just ordinary.
Andy Warhol predicted I’d get 15 minutes of fame before I perished. Andy predicted we would ALL get our fifteen minutes of fame. Some hunt it down like a prey to be devoured. YouTube sensations and
Instagram junkies and thousands of super friends to like the 6 second SnapChat video of some guy’s cat named Taco who can make duck lips and meow to Freddy Mercury.
I got caught in the line-up at Walmart – the line that required a human cashier. Even Mr. Warhol didn’t see the climbing trend of computerized self-checkouts coming. From the perspective of the sixties, there was flowery hope for a humanity-based future.
My Walmart girl had on her blue vest. She was from far away and smiled brightly at me with broken English as she carefully arranged my yogurt tubes and overpackaged meat. I was happy to see that she was happy.
The man behind me coveted my big bag of bargain cheese after comparing his expensive tiny bag and with apologetic eyes to those behind him, went dashing off to the deli in search of his lactose-laden holy grail. The cashier slowed her pace of bagging my over-processed food, to buy him more time. I stalled at the debit machine to buy this man more time. I glanced at the line up behind us. Zombie faces and creeping anger. A strategically placed linear rack of magazines, all touting the latest hardships and heartbreaks and lies and troubles of the rich and the famous. They would have fared better in the tabloids had they limited themselves to 15 minutes of fame verses a lifetime.
My cheese man races back. Victory. He found the $10 bag of cheese. I was happy to see he was happy. The zombie-grouchy people at the back of the row were relieved to see him sprint back to line and reformed their moods to happy, now that he found his cheap cheese. The cashier, still smiling. None of us cheered, but there was a fleeting camaraderie.
And it is in this moment, Bob Savino – some poet guy from Kansas City, pops some words in my head: “I have to find it here, right here, bursting uncontainably through the slipshod, dragged down dead centre of one ordinary life…”
Every bio written by every woman that sits humbly as a nominee for the Inspire Project, is hard wired with the same vein of fact:
None of them admit to feeling extraordinary. The same narrative thread links each of these women –
‘I had no idea I was inspiring to people. I was just living my ordinary life.’
When we take every ordinary moment of our ordinary lives and redesign it as extraordinary, we no longer live a life by default. Shaping each moment and assigning it value, even in a lineup at Walmart with your $10 bag of cheese…
It transforms every moment into the extraordinary.
Andy Warhol got it half right. We might find fame. Some 15 minutes, some a lifetime on tabloids.
But he forgot to prophesy the ordinary ones….
The ones who sought the ordinary but inspired the extraordinary.