Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Pigeons Inside My Head (Return To)

Getting technology to work doesn’t scare me.
I’m not scared by theory, or practicing technique.

For me that stuff is like throwing bread to the birds.

People scare me. And I wish I could fly away
the way pigeons fly away when people scare them.

That’s what it’s like inside my head.

Usually when I get out in public in the real world I have this kind of general uneasiness, a kind of vague—and I know irrational—sort of suspicion that, so to speak, everyone else has read the script and everyone else has been through rehearsals but I’m just waking up in the middle of the scene with only the foggiest notion of what’s going on.

I'm usually like one of those pigeons you see with its pigeon head nervously bobbing around, nervously looking around and constantly taking off flying at any little sound or movement.


But every now and then something wildly unexpected happens to me and then I get almost the exactly opposite sensation.

Today I have two almost completely unrelated little stories that are only related because they are examples of those rare moments when I don’t feel ludicrously out-of-place. One story is older, and one just happened. The second story, too, is a kind of loose end or a conclusion to a blog post from last year and I had no idea the post was unfinished!


This first story happened about a year ago, I think. I can’t believe I haven’t told this, but according to the Blogger search function, I don’t think I have told this story yet.

I was standing around in a grocery store. A middle-aged woman was standing near me by her very filled-up shopping cart and she was studying a handful of coupons. Very carefully she was leafing through coupon after coupon. Two young children, a boy and a girl, both about ten or twelve years old, were waiting impatiently behind the woman and making exasperated faces at each other.

I thought to myself, “My Mom used to stand around reading coupons, too. It was so annoying.” And then I thought, with mental italics, “I hate coupons.”

As I thought that, the woman put her coupons in her purse and pushed her shopping cart past me. The two kids made relieved faces at each other and didn’t exactly hurry to keep up.

As the woman passed me, a coupon fell out of the top of her cart onto the floor next to me.

I looked down, and I thought, “No. I hate coupons. I’m not going to pick that up and give it to her.”

As I was thinking that, the two kids started walking to catch up to the woman. The young boy bent down and picked up the coupon the woman dropped. He said to the young girl, “Look. Your Mom dropped a coupon.”

The young girl made another face and said, “Here. Give it to me.” She took the coupon from the boy, crumpled the coupon up and threw it behind some products on a shelf. Still making a face, she turned back to the boy and said, “I hate coupons.”

And she said it with italics! She said the words with exactly the tone of voice that I had thought the words!

I thought, “Wow! I’m not the only person in the world who hates coupons! And this kid hates coupons in exactly the same way I do! Cool!”

I don’t often feel that kind of connection to the world around me. I didn’t even mind the thought that my reaction was somehow similar to a ten or twelve year old child. It was an okay moment.

It was sort of like a Charles Schluz “Peanuts” strip came to life around me and I was Linus instead of Charlie Brown.

That’s what it’s like inside my head.


This second story is a sequel to my post I’m An Idiot—Episode 748 and I didn’t even have to try to write it!

Just a couple of days ago I was walking past a convenience store and I looked in and saw that they still had a couple of containers of Hostess cupcakes on display.

I was still feeling a little sick and sugar isn’t good for me when I’m sick, but Hostess cupcakes are no more so I didn’t want to pass up a chance to have two final farewell cupcakes.

So I went inside and picked up one of the containers of cupcakes—there are two cupcakes per package—and got in line.

And I immediately began grumbling to myself because there were like three or four people in line in front of me and the line was moving slowly.

And I remembered that it was the same convenience store a year ago where the line had stopped moving because a young woman was looking through her purse for a dollar and I gave her a dollar and, after she’d left, the clerk had told me she was only looking for a dollar because she hadn’t wanted to break a fifty dollar bill she’d had.

So I was standing there in line grumbling to myself that I was waiting in a slow line just to buy some cupcakes.

And as my eyes wandered aimlessly around the store, right there on the floor in front of the check-out counter where someone was paying their bill, I saw a $5 bill.

It wasn’t even crumpled up or anything. It was a $5 bill just lying there on the floor and a whole line of people were standing around somehow not seeing it.

I wondered if the person paying had dropped it. I didn’t say anything, but I waited for the person at the counter to pay their bill and leave, just in case they were going to look down and see the five dollar bill and pick it up.

But they didn’t. They paid and left.

Nobody else in line had noticed the money on the floor right there next to them!

So I just walked forward, bent down and picked up the five dollar bill and returned to my place in line.

And I thought to myself, first, “Holy cow! It’s like the universe is going to buy these cupcakes for me!”

And then I remembered, again, that this was the store where I had given a young woman a dollar bill. And I thought, “Holy cow! It’s like the universe is giving me back my dollar, plus interest!”

When I got home boy did those cupcakes taste good!

That’s what it’s like inside my head.


That’s all I have for today, but this all reminds me, too, of:

Landscape With Tiny Dirigibles. Or Not.


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