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Thin Blue Air

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Thin Blue Air

Technology makes for changes at the grocery store

I was gettin’ groceries late last week, halfway down aisle 7, staring at the back of my eyelids with my forehead pulled down in an attempt to conjure up the shopping list I’d left right next to the coffee pot that morning. I was starting to get a pretty good visual on it when my ears interrupted.

“What now?” my eyes asked. 

“Check this out!” my ears replied.

They reluctantly heard what could only be described as a bumble bee trapped in bubble wrap tapering off to a thumbnail running down the edge of a comb, culminating in a sharply audible ‘pop’ like a little bitty backfire.

My vision vanished, my list was lost, so one eye reopened for safety’s sake if nothin’ else. This revealed where I’d left myself standing while my head ‘astral projected’ back home to read that list; right between digestive aids and wart remover. First thing coming into focus was a bottle of Bean-O. I noticed some irony here and without turning my head, offered some advice with, “Lookin’ for this?”

I turned around to find an old friend and fellow carpenter I hadn’t seen since before the great depression hit. He was fondling a comb and smiling in a wide open sort of way.

With guarded relief, I looked in vain for a bee and some bubble wrap, so I don’t know what the heck that was and didn’t bother to ask. “Sounds as though you could use a tune-up,” I said.

“You can’t always be certain of what’cha hear,” he offered as his defense, “Maybe it was a ring tone app on my phone!”

My nose wasn’t reporting anything to the contrary so I cautiously conceded to that one and after we played catch-up, discussed the weird weather, injury updates, new scars, old cars and the cost of bean dip, we went our separate aisles.

I filed away for future reference his defensive statement (and that his phone may have played a part in it) while I headed over to the wine section for the mood lighting, where it’s not unusual to be seen staring off into space for long periods of time anyways and’re thusly not likely to get interrupted by an overzealous employee looking to score a merit badge for being helpful. There I tried to clear my head and revisit that list. 

Standing in front of the ‘box’ section, eyes closed, forehead in full-conjure mode, there it was! Roughly fifteen items, still indistinct but some of the ones I’d written last were starting to come into focus. 

“Nnnnnnnuts! Nope, nutmeg!!” I announced to all the subliminal artwork in front of me, simultaneously realizing I’d said it out loud. This made my eyes partially open up (in a Jack Elam sort of way) to check for any possible witnesses. Right in front of me was a pink box that said ‘Blush’, so I did. 

I sensed a presence moving into my periphery, prompting me to study the fine print on a particular box of Pinot Grigio. 

“No, not that!” came from over in front of the ‘imported’ section in a voice very close to Orson Welles’.

Instinctively, I sidestepped away and pretended to concentrate on a box of  Bordeaux instead. Now, I’ll admit I know even less about wine than I do as to why so much of mankind is asshole-ish (but I’m trying).

“Not that either! They’re all full of nitrates ‘n crap. How about a nice, two-year-old Albanian Chianti?”

I didn’t think that was on my list but instinctively I began looking for one anyway.

Then came, “Now that would be good with shrimp but not squab.” 

“Who said anything about squab?” I retortfully questioned, not even knowing why and suddenly feeling hungry with all this talk of food. My stomach did its impression of a slow, noisy drain. It was late afternoon, what can I say? I had obviously blundered into some trap here, so I let my eyes drift downhill to look for banana peels, escape routes and anything that might be tyin’ my shoe laces together.

I let my focus relax as I stared ahead just to see if I could get a fix on all this advice I wasn’t asking for and seein’s how the voice wasn’t familiar to my circle of acquaintances, I was curious as to who might have the guts to offer up wine advice to a stranger decorated in sawdust and other work related detritus from the blue collar world  (which’d be analogous to correcting a plumber on his spelling of ‘hydrint’ or ‘spiggit’). 

“Dish soap and coffee filters,” wafted down the aisle at me.

“What!!?” Serious confusion began running around in my thoughts. “I’ve seen some bizarre wine names before but that sounds really…”

“And Preparation-H,” followed that in a totally different octave.

I decided I’d picked the wrong day to get groceries, so I skipped around the corner where I  pert neer ran over a lady talkin’ sideways to something pokin’ out of her ear. “I’d rather have shrimp, squab is for company.” she said at it, as she blew me a dirty look. Her face reminded me of a ’51 Buick with one exhaust header sticking out of its left wheel well.

Now, I’ll be the very first to admit that much of technology’s latest advances simply drift right on by without me reacting, other’n a rolled eye or two. And I’m okay with that. There’s only so much time in the day, after all. Unless it has something to do with woodworkin’ or livin’ in the north woods while workin’, I haven’t got time. It’s all on a ‘need to know’ basis. If I don’t need to know, I don’t bother. 

Up until a few months ago, I didn’t even know what a PDF was, and now I s’pose I are one, that is if it stands for ‘Protagonist of Domestic Facilitudes,’ ‘Perpetrator of Deceptive Fartriloquism,’ (a probable future essay on this page) or maybe even ‘Puttin’ Diction First.’ Any of those would fit. My editor is happy as a clam, now that I know how to play directly with her computer (vastly reducing the possibility of typo-graphical milkshakes or mishpelled woids as a result). I might even try doin’ poems again! HOOWAAH!

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Author info

Scott Clawson Scott Clawson No, he's not the electrician, he's the OTHER Scott Clawson, who's a quality builder when he's not busy busting a gut while writing his humor column for the first issue of each month, or drawing his Acres n' Pains cartoons.

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humor, technology, cell phones, grocery shopping

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