“What a feel-lin’ in my soul, love burns brighter than sun-shine, brighter than sun-shiiiine…” I was singing along to Aqualung’s “Brighter Than Sunshine” in Stop & Shop this morning because, it’s a good song, and because, that’s what you do in the grocery store. You sing aloud to soft pop tunes. You dodge people you don’t want to see because you look like crap. You waver between Ina Garten (ooh, maybe I’ll buy these artichokes and steam them and stuff them, where are the lemons?) and Fabio stumping for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (it comes sliced? and cooked? and loaded with sodium with a shelf life to 2035? I’ll take it!)
“Let the rain fall, I don’t care…” I was up to when we turned a corner. Low and behold, a man stocking orange juice was also singing out loud, as equally horrible.
“Glad to see I’m not the only one!” I said, because despite the fact that the song was blasting from the speakers, I found it such a coincidence that two people would be singing in this little pocket of the store 10:00 a.m. on a rainy Monday. (Wow! You too? says the left hand to the right at germaphobes anonymous.)
The guy turned to me and almost knocked me out with his strong cologne. But I probably knocked him out with my scent of breakfast. “I also talk to myself all the time…”
“Me too,” I agreed, wide eyed.
“I like talking to myself, I know I always get the right answer.”
I knew then we had a jokester on our hands.
I laughed. Started scanning the shelf for Trop50.
He went on.
“You know, what Confucius says…”
And he paused, baiting me to say what, or maybe in my yoga pants, ponytail and banana-encrusted pullover he deemed me a mindreader able to guess one of the five thousand Confucius jokes he was about to tell.
“What?” I fed him.
“Confucius says, he who thinks only of number one must remember it is next to nothing.”
…Oh, said my expression, caught off guard by the wisdom. “I like that,” I said.
I wheeled us over to the fresh tortillas and began to imagine myself making fresh guacamole in a mortar, and we don’t even have a mortar. (I can make quesadillas! I said aloud, with a lisp.)
…Your father let me sleep in yesterday for Mother’s Day. That was nice. I slept to 9:30. I came down the steps and he said, sorry, we don’t have any food, and he offered me a piece of cold, leftover toast that you guys had not eaten for breakfast and told me we were even out of milk so he gave you guys skim milk instead. I blinked. (Or twitched, because we were out drinking wine till midnight the night before.) “They never had skim milk before,” I said, my voice raspy, my tongue filmy. “Now they’re going to crap their pants out all day. They can’t even have skim milk, for whatever reason, I don’t know, enzymes or something.” Later he slammed my head in the car hatchback door when I was trying to load the trunk hurrying to get us to the restaurant, and he broke my sunglasses and/or the right hemisphere of my brain.
Today, back to normal, back to routine, back to Stop & Shop. I look up at this drawing currently on our chalkboard (courtesy of Aunt Mindy and Uncle Bobby, if you can draw, it’s from them):
I like it because it’s a heart, and it’s the earth, and it makes me feel all peace and lovey…
Or, I’m dizzy from a cerebral injury.
Either way, I am going to go sing Aqualung again, “what a feel-lin’ in my soul,” and think of my buddy stocking orange juice. Because he who thinks of only himself misses out.