Monday, May 01, 2006


Tonight, my wife and I drove a few miles north to Fairfield to try grocery shopping. We’d heard of this place, which, like a city, includes a bank, phone company, cafe, and a number of deli counters. We walked from one end of the store to the other, until our feet throbbed against the soles of our shoes. We spent half-an-hour studying the cheese aisle, overwhelmed by the choices. We surveyed the organic selection, looking for reasonably priced tea that didn’t make me think of patchouli and tie-dyed tapestries.

Every once in a while, a song erupted in the background. Animatronic monkeys and soup cans gyrated as they sang familiar songs. Near the pet food and supplies, one wall was lined with tiny rooms, labeled by nation. The facade of each room was made to resemble a small house that you might find in a small village somewhere in that particular country. I waltzed into the Ireland room, curious. There was only fruit-flavored soda, a variety of biscuits for tea, and oatmeal.

Michelle was frightened. Without a map, we worried we’d never find our way out again. We worked our way back to the cafe, and then to the many aisles of processed food labeled "American" before finally finding the checkout. We bagged our groceries then pushed our cart past the plastic giraffes that guard the entrance and hurried to the parking lot. We had wandered through that store for more than two hours.

As we left, turning toward home, I noticed through the rain-streaked window, that they have a monorail. Perhaps some poetry is like that—a monorail towering near the signage of a grocery store—the quotidian made unique.


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