The Walmart on Top of America

10/23/03 Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve taken on New Brunswick, Canada, the way that some families take in a stray Dalmatian – it’s the Pittsburgh of Canadian Provinces. Even the guidebook had to mention that Moncton has “some life here,” as if that weren’t a foregone conclusion.

I’m here to tellya that there is not only life, there is high speed wireless at the Ramada Inn! The signal is tiny, like a quasar repeating in the dark recesses a billion light years away, but it’s good enough to slip something into the blog. I asked Tessa to blog for me tonight, fearing I’d be stuck counting ceiling tiles at a creaky wharf, but she declined, saying she wasn’t ready for you. We’ll remedy that eventually.


The autumnal sun tried its best to follow me up the coast, but a cold front out of North Jesus Christ said “fuck you.” This is the kind of weather you could kill yourself to, if only you could unfreeze your hand off the knife blade. I stopped in Freeport, Maine to ransack the 24-hour L.L. Bean store, and everything made for winter weather has disappeared; the only boots left were men’s size 5 and 14 (sorry, Tod). I do, however, still recommend the trip, because you can get those awesome “Smartwool” socks for $5, when they usually cost $14.95. They are all marked IRREGULAR, but it’s hard to understand just how irregular a sock can be. I checked them all, and they were all tube-shaped with a closed-off end.


I-95 takes a hasty turn north into the middle of nowhere once you leave Bangor, Maine, about three hours into godforsaken forest with nary a gas station in sight. By the time I got to Houlton, the last town in the United States, the bright lights of a Walmart actually provided intense comfort.

I parked the car next to a giant snowbank, got a cart, and wandered the aisles of semi-functioning electronics, itchy undershirts, and shady generic bottles of Rogaine. I bought a family-size box of Wheat Thins and Trolli Brite Crawlers Neon Sour Gummi Worms. The cashier said “It’s snowing again, huh?”

I said “yep.”

She said, “That’s what you get, I guess…” To which I believe she meant to add “…for staying up here in the goddamn Arctic Circle even though my boyfriend just went to school at Pepperdine in Malibu, and he’s begging me to quit this job and live with him in his beach house.”

Or at least that’s the story I made up as I drove into New Brunswick.

I have a lot of time on my hands.


0 thoughts on “The Walmart on Top of America

  1. Caren

    That photo of snow falling is beautiful. (I know – this is the type of frenzied reader commentary y’all were hoping for.) But it is.

  2. Luke Wilson

    I love the blogs where your days are full of contemplation. Your blogger community is probably wishing you would describe your life more, but it cracks me up when you talk about random thoughts. That picture at the bottom is amazing.

  3. Katie Holmes

    Hey, Luke, I was like totally pissed too that Ian didn’t post the picture of him and me but I didn’t realize I could protest until I saw that you were dissed, too. Hey, Ian, what’s a girl gotta do to get posted on your blog?
    Anyway, that last picture is about the funniest thing your sister has seen in about ten years. She told me to tell you.

  4. Tom

    Believe it or not there are people who stumble across your site by searching google for “Walmart, Moncton”
    Don’t even ask why I why I was sitting here in Seattle on Xmas eve conducting such a search, it has to do with a brother in Moncton and the hope that I might be able to procure a gift certificate by telephone!


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