TMI: My Tangents
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Carded, conflicted.

What track number does "I don't know why I . . ." occupy on the mental tape deck? Arriving in the parking lot of the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market I reflected as I often and mysteriously do on a long abandoned friend Tom, seen once since 1986; a bundle of contradictions as he'd ask during things like this shopping trip, "Why are you doing/buying/believing this? Why aren't you . . .(lather, rinse, repeat)"?

I made a good haul mostly from the clearance section of the market, and at the exit was a store employee sorting a dolly of empty boxes, limiting my exit. Early middle age, bald, moustache. Reminded me of a look of person Jackie Gleason used to joust with on his variety show, the tense aura of the era included. I pulled back a couple of times for other people including a mother and child.

Then the store guy asks me if he can please see my receipt. Odd, I've yet to see this in too many, probably, visits to this chain. I had the receipt in another bag and produced it. In a sigh with maybe an agenda behind it he said, "Thanks, appreciate it."

Well, I didn't. The feeling of violation and aback-taken sticks like bad carbohydrate "linger". And I looked at the store entrance when I drove out and didn't see him.

I hung with Tom for about 20 years. This fellow who was so self-righteous in sequence about such as long hair, the draft, marijuana, and civil liberties nevertheless hewed to the Republican side like few I'd had the perspective of trying to analyze, and lamented knee-jerk disrespect for authority.

But, while he wouldn't have initially exploded at this guy the temperature would have risen like a reactor boo-boo as he'd---no, not at first demand to know the reason but say this was out of line.

Tom also was dogged by a perception he was gay. He wasn't. But homophobic insults were in his put downs of music, impolite people---you know. And he would have accused the fellow from the store of committing one of "those" stealthy acts---in this case "surveillance"?---the persecuted develop over time.

Me? In the middle, conflicted; a collector of things in an intellectual way that waves a flag of good material and easy notice.

Yeah, a writer.

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