Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Crossing the road

I ventured out of the apartment alone today.
I was still being supervised. Hannah had given me the cellphone and it started ringing as soon as I was outside.
"I can see you."
I scanned the balconies. There was Hannah, six floors up, shrouded in a purple sheet.
"I see you, too."
"Cross the road here, right outside. Then I can watch you to Schnucks."
I waited till the road seemed clear, then ran like hell.
"I'm over on the other side."
"I can see."
"I'm going to walk to Schnucks."
We discussed candy bars and ice cream on the way. These were the prospective purchases. We discussed them in that way, as things to buy, not philosophically, I don't think I'll ever be ready for philosophising on the nature of ice cream and candy bars.

I waited at the intersection. People in cars looked at me in curiosity. Memphis Zoo has just recruited its first pandas and I thought of how they must feel as people stared at me. They couldn't have stared any harder if I'd been a panda. Or dressed in a panda outfit.

A pedestrian. A novelty. A risk-taker. Ah yes! A risk-taker, because I have never encountered a society where crossing the road is quite this fraught. It all seems innocent enough at first, it works like this.

A red hand
A white man (I think the stick man is white with fear)

I made it into Schnucks. Schnucks is a supermarket. I walked the wrong way and found myself trapped. Then I did the same thing again. I wondered how I suddenly became so stupid.

I headed for the ice cream, talking to Hannah.
"Do you know where the ice cream is?"she said.
"I know I have selective memory, but I never forget important stuff like where the ice cream is."

I read out the names of the Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavo(u)rs. I selected Chunky Monkey, banana flavour with pieces of chocolate lodged in it.

[more rubbish to follow]

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