MY MORNING

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Here are some things I remember about my trip to the grocery store this morning: it was about quarter after six, and I decided I would do my lemon/cayenne fast thing today, so I set out for Harris Teeter to get lemons. It was bitter cold out and there was a strong breeze. Everything seemed brittle. The grass crackled under my feet. Everything was shades of gray, except for a faint glow of rose on the horizon. As I was crossing a side street, a car came down the street too fast and I had to break into a trot to avoid it. I felt like yelling at the driver, but decided I would seem like a cranky oldster, so I refrained. The church farther down the street had a new sign board message, something about how they're not Dairy Queen but they have great Sundays. The cold breeze was making the skin on my face feel thick and stiff, like a rhino. I passed a corner where there were seven discarded paper cups on the ground. There must have been some kind of informal get-together there last night. Walking into the store was a pleasant shock. It was brightly lit and warm, and workers were stocking shelves with oranges, canned vegetables, white mayonnaise jars. They were bustling, you'd have to say. It seemed like a staged tableau of abundance. It felt like watching an film in elementary school. I picked four large hard lemons. There were also small ones for a lot less, but they seemed stunted, underperforming next to the big ones. The big bright ones were obviously from Florida. The small, wan ones seemed like they could have been from South Dakota. Then I decided to pick up some bouillon cubes. They have always seemed exotic to me, ever since I was a kid. Mom always made us a cup of bouillon when we were sick, and sometimes I took the foil wrapper off a cube and licked it. It tasted exotic to me. And I threw in a can of chicken broth, in case the bouillon wasn't hearty enough. I found a can of Campbell's Chicken Broth, although I was looking for Swanson's. I wondered if Campbell's had finally decided to enfold the chicken broth segment into the Campbell's brand and stop pretending that chicken broth was made by an entirely different company devoted exclusively to broths. Finally, I treated myself to a bottle of Green Machine, a kind of super juice that calls itself "a turbo-charged garden o' goodness". It also brands itself as "Naked", which makes me feel a little self-conscious at the checkout counter, like I was buying a Penthouse magazine. The lady at the checkout asked me if plastic was okay, and I said mm-hmm, meaning yes, but as always I wondered if the debate had ever been resolved over which was more damaging to the environment, paper or plastic, and how the best solution would be to buy one of those cloth bags to put your groceries in, but it would appear morally ostentatious, and you know other people would be saying to themselves, "oh, please!" I think those things every time I check out. The walk back home was pretty much the same as the walk there, only in reverse order. There were a few more cars on the street, and the rose horizon was a bit higher, but that icy breeze was still going at it, meaning I guess that I was breathing in air from a little bit farther north in Canada than I had been 15 minutes earlier. When I got back to the apartment, I went directly to the laptop and opened Painter, and drew the above picture and began writing this, which takes us right up to the present moment. So there you are, caught up.