Friday, April 11, 2008

Uncle Herb's Adventure




You walk through the automatic doors and walk around to the right, looking at the floor, but peripherally, too, hoping vaguely to locate and check out the vegetable section first because probably nice people frequent the vegetable section and their presence might help you to acclimate to the grocery store, but instead, as you walk in you are thrown into a twilight zone that's just awful. Each of the five cashiers is over two hundred pounds and every last one of them is wearing a hairdo that looks like it was fashioned after something on Hee Haw, and you are getting an awful trailer park vibe but just as you try to twist this ominous Boschean vision into something more forgiving, more flexible in aspect, the horrible realization audibly insinuates itself that there is actually a Muzak rendition of the Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane coming over the store audio - it's incredible, no one would ever even believe it - and you wonder for a millisecond if the cashiers are familiar with this song oozing from the speakers, and you know it means nothing to them and everything to you, and you can see that this is not going to be easy.

Skulking alone, shopping through the shelf aisles, I do well. I have an apple, potato, a grapefruit, yogurt, eggs, three pounds of butter, and a bag of chips, some dry roasted peanuts, and bar soap. I start mentally composing audio tracks they should play to shoppers. "Officer Four, Control Violation on Aisle Six," I imagine a sexy-voiced audio girl saying. "Alien control systems," she whispers.

I lean back against a shelf, forgetting that I need to grab a bag of kitty litter right in front of me. "Jesus, did I hear that or just think it?" I ask myself. "Man, I am messed up." I see that the subtle corruscating plaid pattern designed into the ceiling exactly matches the design of all the products placed on the shelf; a brilliant shelf design that makes me think the store manager must be a committed artist, an acidhead genius to design all the shelf product placement to look just so like this, with the flickering randomly associated colors colliding... Oh, god, I realize I'm drifting, it's impossible, it's just me, I need to get the hell of of there; I must check out, pay and leave as soon as possible.

I head for the checkout line.

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