Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I got off work yesterday around 3:30pm and headed for the grocery store. Instead of going to the local giganta-grocer (they put Albertsons & Kroger out of business), I went to a new, independent grocer near the house. I try to patronize this store as often as possible -- Just because.

The store typically isn’t that crowded most times. Yesterday was no exception. I picked up a cart on the way in, and started in the produce section.

There were no more than five or ten other customers in the store, and only two (a mother and son) in the produce section, when I started picking through a bin of peaches that were neatly arranged in nearly perfect rows and layers. I selected a few top specimens and stepped to the right to browse through the equally perfectly organized bin of apples. They were impeccably polished and shiny. I selected four worthy beauties.

As I looked around, it occurred to me that all the fruits and vegetables were arranged perfectly, almost too perfectly. A woman walked by. Our eyes met and we exchanged polite smiles. After bagging four black plums and some cilantro, I pushed my cart toward the small bread section. It was strangely refreshing to see that there weren’t twenty-seven different brands of bread, rolls, and tortillas. It was exceedingly easy to make my selection.

I forged slowly on toward the dairy section. On my way there, I passed the refrigerated, packaged-meat section. The prices were good. I continued past the butcher’s meat case, which contained beautiful, unpackaged cuts of perfectly marbled beef, chicken, pork and a few filets of fish. The butcher worked intently in the sanitary, hermetically sealed butcher’s operating room (I’m sure there’s some fancy-schmancy industry word for that room).

It was at that point that a wave of something overcame me. Oh, don’t worry, it wasn’t anything bad or ominous or scary. It was like some kind of reality shift. The music that had been playing throughout the store the whole time was sixties-era background music. It played on old, store-quality speakers. It was as if was thrust back in time to a small town in the sixties. I felt like a character in a quirky independent film. I thought about how simple life was when I was young. I thought about my mom; about my grandmother, and how I used to love sitting at her kitchen counter eating avocados my grandfather and I had just picked from trees in their grove. I yearned for a simpler life. I pictured myself working a “regular” job in the fifties or sixties, carrying an old-school lunch box to and from work.

When I finally got to the registers, there were but two open. Only one of them had anyone in line. The checker greeted me politely as I placed $25 worth of items on the conveyer belt.

Either the electronic credit card reader or the two bozos at the other register snapped me back to 2005. The two bozos were too-tattooed, and were trying way too hard to look “original.” You know the kind....The bozos who have this inexplicable (to me anyway) need to “express themselves” “uniquely” by dressing and getting tattoos just like everyone else in their peer group. (I suppose we all have a little bozo in us, but that’s another story.)

I exited the store and walked into the parking lot. I walked to my car in a fog. I had just been somewhere, and I was having a bit of a hard time understanding why. It was a nice place, if not a bit disconcerting. I drove home in a similar fog and remained in a semi-daze until The Warden snapped me out of it by saying something or another that made me laugh out loud. I realized that everything was okay (i.e. I hadn’t lost my mind). For the moment, I stopped trying to figure out if there was a reason for the experience I’d just had.

It was a very, very strange experience.


Dubya Quote of the Day:
"There needs to be debates, like we're going through. There needs to be town-hall meetings. There needs to be travel. This is a huge country."—Larry King Live, Dec. 16, 1999


Bunny ~N~ Early said...

WOW, did you have your bourbon and Lorazepam before you got home? If not, maybe they pump liquid oxygen through the vents at your neighborhood grocer. I want one of those stores!

R. said...

Great writing Cj, you want to revise an essay? :-)

Hey at least you have someone at home to wake you out of those hazed moments. I have to wait till someone honks on the horn to wake me.

And ~Y~ you're not getting enough Lorazepam if your not experiencing those hazed moments.
Cj as ~Y~ said on her blog comments "pass the Lorazepam please" :)

Love from an Idaho Hick

Bunny ~N~ Early said...

Are you kidding Ney? All of my moments are hazed. I struggle to find a few moments of clarity a couple of times a week so I can handle the big things like, getting pulled over without getting jailed, getting through school zones without hitting anything (I close one eye for this one), make it to Dr appointments on time for refills, make it to Dr appointments on time for refills, make it to Dr appointments on time for refills. You know big stuff like that.

R. said...

Okay ~Y~ I was just a bit concerned that you weren't experiencing those hazed moments, thought maybe it might have something to do with that northern air or something.

Honk honk!!!

Karlos said...

Hola girlies. Yeah....that was a pretty weird experience, to say the least.

The Lorazepam & bourbon from the night (or so) before, really knocked me on my ass. The kids are still laughing at me. I dozed off on the couch and came to around 9:15pm. I looked at the clock and said, "Man. It's 9:15?" "Yeah" "In the morning?" Ha ha...very funny.

Glad you liked the post Nay, and thanks for the compliment! If you want me to look at a thing or two on your essay, I'll gladly give you some help. Send it my way.

~Y~ I'm relieved that you're hazed. :-) Makes me feel good!

Whistler71 said...

Hi Carlos! I know where you are coming from with this story. When I go back to my home town (where RLB lives) I usually have to go to the old grocery store where, when I was young, would have to get groceries for my grandmother who raised me. The feeling hits me as soon as I walk in the door, the smell, the radio playing, the lighting, all brings me back to a much better time. I seem to get into a haze as well. It is almost like a trance as I walk down those aisles as I once did as a child. It is bittersweet because my grandmother died a couple of years ago and I know that I will not be taking her groceries home on my bicycle or seeing her at all for that matter. But still it is nice to feel that safe, almost cozy feeling when I enter that store. OK now I feel a good cry coming on.... Take care, Carlos.

Bunny ~N~ Early said...


R. said...

S L A C K E R ! ! ! !

Karlos said...

You two are ruthless! But then, I can respect that in a woman!

I'll post soon. :-)



james is lost said...

enter a mild mannered normal American, we will call him Carlos. on a short yet disturbing trip to the corner grocery store or is it a step into THE TWILIGHT ZONE