Saturday, June 21, 2008

Borders of awareness

With a ripping sore throat I walked to the store. I thought about driving since I have a vehicle again, but there is no reason for using the speed and sit-down comfort of a car when the short walk is so much better for my mind and body. The extra time propelled by steps clears the head. I managed to not buy doughnuts this time. They would have been unhelpful for a painful throat and snotty nose. I was there to get citrus. The limes looked interesting but I don't know what to make of them that doesn't involve lots of sugar. Oranges where sacked with a discount that equaled $1.37/lb, but I didn't think I wanted to eat nine pounds of them. At the checkout line I had three grapefruits, a cantaloupe, a cheap tin of water chestnuts and at an uncomfortable $2, the biggest available green Bell pepper. For a twelve lane Albertsons, there are only two lit up with a string of shoppers eyeing whichever lane they didn't choose. I got to stand and listen to people complain quietly as everyone stared at the magazines, candy and the TV displays that play ads all the time. The first tier of magazines featured lascivious celebrities and sexual how-to articles. The next tier of magazines claim to contain even more photos of overweight celebrities and details about their destructive relationships. There seems to be a progression to this: Get famous for being pretty and doing something or other, (some combination of living in LA, being pretty, knowing other celebrities, and possibly acting on TV). Get interviewed a lot while you are youthful, spend your money with carefree abandon. Then get old and let your life fall apart, since you where too busy being wild and famous to learn responsibility. Then the same in-group of news mongers that made you famous get to make money by reporting how miserable your middle age is.

Something I continually rediscover about grocery store magazine racks is what surprising things can be seen when you look away from the mass of checkout isle consumables. Above these checkout stands is a big flat surface that says 'thanks for shopping'. I had never seen it before. There are painted wooden wall hangings depicting food and some stylized pillars that flank the store name. Beyond the checkout stands, there is a wall of windows, that has a huge panoramic view of the parking lot, which is full of medium-small leafy green trees. It's actually almost impressive. I've seen this phenomenon in other stores too. One time above a magazine rack I looked up to see a gigantic ceiling area, full of thin cables and ducts, all painted in yellow. It was an enormous space I had walked under never seeing, because I was always staring at the shelves with their tiny products all lined up. If you ever want to hide something in plain sight, just put some racks of candy and magazines off to the side, no one will see your hole in the wall, or giant teddy bear balloon. Whenever there is something you are expected to stare at, look around to find what no body else is seeing.

Grady Houger ~ The grapefruit was very nice, and on average each contain 440mg of vitamin C.