Woe the agony of hauling this carcass out for groceries and Post Office, today. The air lay like dull concrete hovering low, infiltrating, saturating every cell and molecule into premature fossilization. The lock on the truck door got stuck, prolonging the misery with an additional 30 minutes of tinkering, spraying, jiggling, coming back inside to throw things, slam counters, curse, etc.
The Post Office box was stuffed angrily with scrunched up bills, desperate cries for donations, and unsolicited periodicals. The electricity bill alone was FIVE times what it had been in October...and I haven't even turned on the thermostat yet. Groceries were priced for GE CEOs, but I found a bit of salmon and barley for dinner regardless. Good. Get me out of here, I'm warmed over death.
And then the Mother of All Shocks occurred. It occurred just as I wheeled my cart up to the checkout stand...I know that, because the last thing that I remember seeing was the Eclipse gum for just $1.19.
It was right then and there, that the cashier said, "HowrySheila?"
She REALLY DID say that. No, DON'T TRY TO TELL ME that I was hearing things, Bucko. I heard it. I saw it emerge from her very mouth. Okay, so maybe it was only, "HowrySheil," but what EVERH.
Stunned, I unloaded my stuff, being really careful to pretend like I hadn't noticed. That would have been totally invasive. Nosirree, it was just another dismal, grumpy, let's-say-something-chipper-about-the-weather (what weather?) grind, since we don't trust each other worth squat, I'm probably using fake ID, and we ALL really just want to get OUT OF THIS PLACE. But then the man checker who usually looks so terrified whenever I ring out, came over to my basket just then, and said, "Here, can I help you out with this?"
Driving home, serotonin dissolving calcified joints and organs, I began tallying some numbers. It's been over three years, since I began shopping at that little Thriftway. Pretty slow, for earning 'regular' status. But then I tallied back a bit further. I had shopped steadfastly at one Albertson's in my old town for SEVENTEEN years, without ONCE having been greeted by name. Oh, sometimes at Costco--that notoriously Good Company--they'll look at your name on the receipt after you've paid them, and give you that suave, smiling, "Thank you for shopping at Costco, Mrs. Wrongscience, and you have a good day now!" But that's not the same as greeting you without any teleprompters.
Okay, okay, what's shocking isn't that it happened, then. What's shocking is that it was so SHOCKING--that never once, over all of those years, had I even noticed being nameless.
When you look at how habituated we all are to maintaining our impersonal, distrustful, even hostile armor for the sake of personal survival, it's no WONDER that everybody's on dope or meds, and that Disease Marketing gets away with such murder. The LAST thing those Big Pharms want us to do is to start recognizing each other by NAME. Good for gut, ba-a-ad for big business.
Now go and burn this.
Back to the burrow in the woods.