Monday, December 05, 2011

Head Rattle


I like to walk around the house in my stocking feet, but there's a problem. Inevitably, I find myself wandering into the kitchen at some point, and frequently there is a tiny, almost invisible puddle of cold water on the floor in there, just waiting for me to step in it. The feeling of walking around in a clammy wet sock is nearly ineffable, but I'll try: it's similar to that sensation you get when you're outside and it starts to rain, and single drop of frigid water drips into the space between your collar and your neck and proceeds to meander down your spine inside your shirt. You know the feeling won't last, but while it does, it's like a form of low-grade torture.


It's fascinating how so many patrons of the supermarket I generally shop at, which has narrower aisles than the ones in the suburbs, will suddenly stop, blocking the right-of-way, while they stare at, not the shelves, but nothing at all. It's as if they are having a Zen moment. Maybe they're just mentally reviewing their shopping lists, but I like to think it's a more profound occasion that that. It could be an existential realization: "Here I am, in this well-lighted place, surrounded by thousands and thousands of garishly packaged consumer products, and I can't decide what to buy. I'm struck by the triviality of it all, and I'll just stop and be alive here for a little, perfect moment." And then you say "excuse me" and they move reluctantly -- as they sink back into their quotidian consumer daze.


Speaking of shopping (what is it about this time of year that brings it to mind?), I still pay cash for certain things, and when I'm given change, I now return any pennies to the cashier. They never refuse them. Pennies are worthless to me – I don't even stop to pick them up off the street – but quite valuable to any sort of commercial emporium, since they can be used to make change. Some (most) customers still accept them, though I'm sure they mostly end up out of circulation in that jar on the dresser in the closet in the bedroom.

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