Last Friday night on my way to go fishing with some old friends I realized that I did not have a fishing license and that I also did not have a reel that I knew how to use. So, I stopped at Wal-Mart in Danvers. Even though it was the opposite direction of the place I was going fishing with my friends, Swampscott, I chose to go to the Danvers’ Wal-Mart because I find that it is cleaner and less crowded than the Salem one, which would have been on the way.
While at the Danvers’ Wal-Mart I spent a lot of time waiting for someone who knew how to process a fishing license. When they finally found someone who could do it, they rung me up for the reel and also processed a saltwater fishing license for me.
I then asked the gentlemen, who had a tattoo of the Monopoly guy on his right arm, and who had processed the license, where I could find the rest-room, but I used the word bathroom instead. He told me and I half-listened as I was distracted by some random thoughts as is usually the case. I understood that I was to go down to the other end of the store and take a left and I had in the past used their bathroom so on some level I knew where it must be.
I turned around and walked in the appropriate direction. I found the bathroom. I went into the bathroom and proceeded to use the urinal. While peeing, I noticed that the man standing perpendicular to me at another urinal was George W. Bush, the former president of the United States of America. At first I was unsure how I knew that it was him and I stood a while after my urine stream had stopped staring out of the corner of my eye. He wore a blue vest.
I had never ran into a president in a bathroom before this. Although I may have ran into many other world leaders of other countries and didn’t even know they were world leaders. I am somewhat ignorant. And I may have even run into a future president here or there without knowing it since it was not their time to be president yet. And I did once run into David Ortiz, the DH for the Boston Red Sox on the commuter rail. He was conducting and was very friendly. He had grew a beard and lost his accent and he looked more of European decent then of African, but I’m certain it was him. Just as I was sure that across from me in the bathroom of the Wal-Mart stood George W., a man who was the president of the United States on that famously tragic day of September 11, 2001.
He looked different than I remember him on TV in the classroom of kindergartener’s reading books to the children that day. He looked different than the man that stood in front of a banner that said mission accomplished on board an aircraft carrier proudly speaking about something I absolutely have forgotten about at this point.
I was also surprised when his cell phone rang and he answered the phone in perfect Spanish. I myself do not speak that particular language fluently nor do I speak any language with much fluency including English, but I could tell. I just knew somehow that he spoke perfect Spanish. He spoke as he walked out the door and I followed him with a little stealth. I thought I was sneaky.
He went out the door and to the women’s section. A customer had gone through a bunch of clothes and left them all over the floor in a careless manner. George got off the phone and went through the clothes putting them back on hangers and then back on the rack. I thought to myself, huh. The thought stopped at huh because I didn’t know what else to think.
At this point I knew I had to get going because I had to meet my friends and go fishing, but I made a mental note to myself to write it all down otherwise I’d forget and my story would be unknown even to myself. So I left and made the mental note and then this morning on my way to work I wrote down the details that I could actually remember from my mental note of my experience at the Wal-Mart in Danvers.
Andrew Borne is 2 Cups Poet 1 teaspoon Musician 1/4 teaspoon Salt 1/2 cup Absurdity 3/4 cup Chef 1 egg, beaten 2 1/3 cups Family Man. Mixed together and served raw. His column appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.