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Saturday night at the world

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and forgot to post it.

• 9:05 p.m.: I stop at the supermarket for orange juice and coffee creamer. Then I stop at the neighboring Wal-Mart. As I approach the store, I pass a woman standing at the curb with two kids, one of them young enough to be held in her arms. On the way past, I hear her say, "Look for a star. Can you see any stars? Make a wish." Reflexively, I looked skyward, but the bright lights of the parking lot had saturated the sky in dirty white. The little girl had nothing to pin her wishes on.

• 9:06 p.m.: I stepped into Wal-Mart with my mental notebook open, the idea being to take snarky notes on all the people I saw dressed in camouflage, all the women with hairdos that looked as if they were conceived during bar benders on cheap whiskey, all the men with hair apparently worn in tribute to the early-'80s incarnation of Ted Nugent, all the people who seemingly live on roads with the words "hollow" or "creek" in their names. I saw old men with stomachs too big for their grease-stained shirts sitting on benches and ogling the girls (high school, maybe. Maybe younger. Who can tell anymore?) wearing short shorts and tops they were spilling out of: "eying little girls with bad intent," as Ian Anderson once sang. I saw all that.

• 9:06 p.m.: But I also saw young mothers with two or three squalling children trailing them, and I contrasted their Saturday nights with the Saturday nights so many other people enjoy in leisure. I saw men and women doing the shuffle of the damned, the inner light of their souls obscured by a film of poverty over their eyes. I saw people who looked worn out, ground down, who looked as if they were doing the best they could just to tread the water of life. I saw and heard the cashier wearily ask me "And how are you?" after her manager told her that yes, she was supposed to have gone home at 6, but no, she still couldn't go home. "And how are you?" I asked back. She replied, with a plaintive roll of her eyes, "I've been standing here so long, my feet hurt so bad that I'm ready to cut 'em off."

• 9:17 p.m.: Granted, judging people by what they wear and how they look at the moment is an inexact science, minus the science. But still ... I put the snark pen away.

• 9:20 p.m.: Back in the parking lot, the stargazing woman with the two kids was gone.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
nodressrehersal
Apr. 24th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
You've taken the time to really capture a fifteen-minute thought segment that could've lived inside my head... that same segment I often think of writing about but for some reason these days, don't.
patrick_vecchio
Apr. 25th, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)
Yeah: Where has your blogging self been, anyway?
nodressrehersal
Apr. 25th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
I don't know. I feel like a blank canvas without the canvas part.
patrick_vecchio
Apr. 25th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
It's a field lying fallow. That's what you told me once.
nodressrehersal
Apr. 25th, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
It's much easier to say that to you than to apply it to me.

Sometimes I have to remind myself as I wander around Wal-Mart thinking, "Where did you people come from, anyhow?" that I'm there too.

There are times, though, when snarky is all that can explain the Aqualung Bus that must've stopped to unload out front.
cwmackowski
Apr. 25th, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)
Yeah, where has it been?
nodressrehersal
Apr. 25th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
Either I gots nothin' that gots to get out or it's too dark in here and it can't find the door.
patrick_vecchio
Apr. 25th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
Nah, it's just taking a nap. Respect the nap.
cwmackowski
Apr. 25th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)
The mothership retrieved them.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

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• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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