Monday, October 29, 2012

The more things change

There is an old saying I was reminded of on this evening's trip to Walmart, "The more things change, the more they are different from how they previously were."

A co-worker spoke to me today, she said something like, well you are only twenty four...

Twenty four? That did not sound right. I began to do the math when I stopped myself and thought, don't be silly, you know how old you are...


I ended up doing the math. It wasn't twenty four. I had to use a calculator.

Anyway, it is Halloween at Walmart, and I guess it is nearly so everywhere, but the candy is all slightly different. The sweet tarts are bigger. I don't like them, because the size they used to be was just right and this size is too large. Also, there are about 1000 different kinds of skittles. My favorite kind (not that the normal sort aren't excellent), sour skittles, was no where to be seen. Then, checking out, I spied one at the bottom of a bargain bin. It came in a box. Since when do skittles come in boxes? Furthermore, when I opened it (after having purchased what appeared to be the last box in the bargain bin) I discovered that the box was a mere facade, for within was concealed a single serving sized bag of skittles. I remember the sour powder being exquisitely ephemeral, but the sour does not seem to last as long as it used to.

Of course, being an "adult" with my own income means I don't have to worry about getting a bad candy draw. Fewer surprises, but having bags of nerds and twix and one box of sour skittles should more than compensate.

Anyway I was there for notepaper and pencils. There was a very large family blocking the school supply aisle all doting on three elementary school girls. I watched as they jabbered like magpies in a language on the indo- side of the indo-european language family. Eventually they migrated and allowed me access to the pencils. Immediately my mind shifted into a gear that, though disused, bore no rust, that of a middle-school pencil connoisseur.

I weighed each package for price and quality, motors whirring, eyes passing to each in turn. I purchased a chromatic package of twenty four knowing that I would never, never use the yellow ones, and that those would be the only ones to never get lost.

I never had a similar affinity for paper, probably because I always spent far more time fiddling with the pencils then I did actually writing anything down. Throughout school I never took notes. I do not know if it is a consequence of this or not, but if I make a small effort to remember something, I will hold onto it for a very long time. If I do not make that effort it will flow out of my mind like so much water, lost before the words are finished being said.

Composition notebooks, the ones that have the weird black and white camo pattern on them (though now they come in all sorts of designs) seem bigger than they used to, and less sturdily constructed.

I purchased these things and a few others at the automated register. I did not interact with a single human being during my trip.

Walking out I smelled, in the crisp night air of the Texan Autumn, a terribly familiar scent of pico de gallo. A specific pico, with roasted overtones and warmed tortillas. There is a Mexican restaurant across the parking lot, but I have never been there (not for any particular reason, I just haven't) and it was closed, leaving the odor sourceless.

I got in my car and hit play on my telephone. I just reloaded the memory card, so I am not really sure what is on there at the moment. The first song I ever had an emotional connection with came up. I drove home to the nostalgic tones of Dobie Gray.

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