strange days indeed

nobody told me there’d be days like these
strange days indeed
— the prophet john lennon

It’s Sunday night and I’m at the store. I seem to have the place pretty much to myself. An hour before it closes, but it’s cold and Sunday night and my neighborhood seems to be in bed. It’s the best time to shop.

I wander around aimlessly, looking at stuff and thinking how odd commercialism is these days. So many things. 20 flavors of St. Croix water? Um, it’s water. Aisle after aisle of things I didn’t know I couldn’t live without until I’ve just stumbled across them.

Luckily, I have the perfect defense against binge buying: I only have the little handbasket, in which to go to hell, and I’ve already bought two creams and a soda. Come to think of it, I’ve never tried making cream soda. Maybe. But the sheer weight of these items makes pretty much anything else impossible.

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It seems so odd this year. Eight years ago, I remember what a celebration it was. We went to the parade in Mesa and embraced the unity. I truly thought things had changed. On to the next crisis. And now, here we are.

I stand in the wine aisle, my last chore. I have no idea. They don’t seem to have discovered our go-to wine here, so I’m winging it. My rule of thumb for buying wine is to buy the weirdest label, but there are none. I end up buying Steak House wine. I hate the name, but it’s made in Walla Walla, Washington. I figure the drunker you get, the more fun it is to say Walla Walla, Washington.

I go over to sneak a donut, only to discover there aren’t any. Truth be told, I had told Mo I was going to the store to get her hand lotion, when it was all a stealth mission for an apple fritter. I hate life.

I get in line. The guy checking out tells the clerk he has strep. She steps back. I step back. He notes the alarm. No, he says, STRESS. Well, welcome to the club, pal. We ALL have stress.

As I wait my turn, I hear a familiar sound coming from the ceiling. John Lennon is singing.

Everybody’s talking and no one says a word
Everybody’s making love and no one really cares
There’s Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs …

I never cease to be depressed when the rebels from my youth become muzak at grocery stores. But today it seems only right. As the clerk finishes stress boy and starts with me, she is humming along. It feels prescient.

Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed

I wonder if this is the last Monday we’ll ever celebrate MLK Day. I wonder what will happen after next week. I wonder if Walla Walla knows how the hell to make good wine.

I remember the day when I learned Lennon had been killed. He was my MLK, the leader of the resistance, the beacon I looked to for hope. And then he died senselessly.

Decades later, I found a new beacon on a simple poster of a face with the word HOPE. I thought things were going to be OK after all.

And now, I look ahead and I wonder.

But what can you do? Buy a bottle of questionable wine, hunker down and hope for the best.

Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed.

Except he DID tell me there’d be days like these. I just wasn’t listening.

And now, standing in the line of a grocery store in Arizona, it’s suddenly too clear.

Imagine …

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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2 Responses to strange days indeed

  1. wanderwolf says:

    You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Apparently.
    Thanks for this.
    And Walla Walla is fun to say even when not drunk

  2. Moose says:

    most peculiar mama

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