I came for a picture frame and was immediately lost in the bright colors of the flowers and produce; the relatively long wave lengths and stimulating emotional yellows lift my spirits, confidence, optimism and self esteem; the blushing, passionate, alluring and pulse elevating reds priming me for action; the refreshing and relaxing greens ease the blur of middle distance into a foreground of coffee and pastry aromas and I am at once rejuvenated, re-invented, re-invigorated, morphed from workaday sludge into gourmet connoisseur- I need a Cart! All of my previous cycling through of thoughts about all of the minor but persistent daily indignities I must suffer in order to afford the company of familiar layouts and pre-packaged and marked down Everything, stacked as far and high as the eye can imagine, fades away and I can now focus on all of those previously unanalyzed needs that are birthed zen-like from the depths of God and Universe alone; that emerge from the no-mind of grocery store psychological prompts; from The Nothing and now in tangible form and within my grasp having passed through the hands of all of history traveling thousands of miles over the course of millions of years and surviving the deaths of everyone and everything that has ever lived for me to pick from, select, prefer, neglect, disregard and all at 10% more $$ off and with 40% more comfort…40% more comfort than yesterday and 45% more than the day before that! And infinitely more comfort than when this whole thing started as unfathomable heat expanding unfathomably rapidly into an unfathomably small absence of anything; when there was nothing and then all of a sudden, Something! And it was really rather hot and expanding really rather quickly and in the process creation was like, created; and somehow through virtually limitless possibility and virtually infinite amounts of time came quarks and atoms and molecules and light and gravity and dirt and rocks and roses and bacteria and fish and dinosaurs, oxygen, earthquakes, God, tornadoes and Oreos. God, I haven’t had Oreos in forever. Why did I stop eating Oreos? Trans-Fats? I was fat? I’m going to also need milk then I guess; I wonder if it’s near the picture frames; and I guess I could also stop by the pharmacy while I’m here; Oh shit, is that the guy who just moved in down the street with the two kids and the wife who doesn’t make eye contact? I always hoped she was just kind of weird and that was why she didn’t make eye contact; and not something I was doing that made her uncomfortable; and certainly not something perhaps that she was dealing with that had her mind far away, trained on some different cosmic and seemingly un-solveable problem- that inevitably affects everyone at some point in any given Their Life; and certainly hopefully not something that was affecting her like some nagging and ambivalent pain that would come and go based on some incremental but necessary and repetitive mechanical function- like swallowing- that after a time habituated her to basically live in total constant cortisol releasing fear of the next time it would happen- because it would hurt; and it would remind her that the doctors didn’t know either; and that it could be nothing or it could Something- we just don’t know; and with each passing of saliva or orange juice she was reminded of her own mortality; and that she would die someday, we all would; and that with each swallow she knew that that could be at any moment; because we’d basically been fastened to this moistened rock and hung out into the void to dry. I’d hoped that her husband wasn’t at the grocery store picking up medication, I hoped he was here buying profiteroles and wine and a roast of some sort- for a party, to celebrate some new position, a high ranking one, that had made his wife so serious; not avoiding eye contact so much as focused on the challenging days ahead curing cancer, feeding children, staving off malaria, launching innovative new products that would revolutionize hair color and shine. I’d figured she wasn’t avoiding eye contact so much as she’d had an inner life that was placing some demand on her gaze that was more compelling than any outward distraction; just like everyone else, their attention rarely had anything to do with anything other than whatever it was Shit that they were like dealing with man; and that that rarely had anything specifically to do with me. Everyone has those things, really. Everyone has whatever that thing is that unknowingly withdraws the attention into the distance. Everyone avoids eye contact so to speak in some way or another, really; through ambition to power and prestige, the big $$, the prominent job; or the sainthood of clean living and helping others; or, frankly, just taking that core of aloneness, helplessness, delicateness, that arises in those moments where there is a break in the action, when the phone isn’t ringing, the baby isn’t crying, the kids don’t need $$, there is no work to be done, hell, no work that could be done and we find ourselves as if detached from society and function on a boat and three hours from land and cell phone towers in all directions and the universe begins to move from our bellies and into our minds for the first time and we must attempt to confront our own existence in some rudimentary fashion; and it’s awkward and crude and uncomfortable at best and terrifying at worst and so rather than embrace the experience and really get inside of how beautiful it can be we instead cover it with food or booze or exercise or knitting or work or impatience or social media or just slowly beginning to disengage entirely until avoiding eye contact isn’t a choice, it’s just something that we do. It isn’t even avoiding eye contact at the point where the soul meets the end, it’s more of a meditative stare; one that flees at all costs from the past straight through to the future and back again. All other vision, peripheral or otherwise, is subsumed into some imaginary cycle of hope and fear and planning and strategy, while all interaction with the present is done through stock pleasantries, superficial commonalities, ritual gestures and texting.