It's been a strange evening indeed.
And not even a good strange, like those days where you stop suddenly to pick up what you think is a solid gold Deutschmark and you realise that it's only a piece of that gold chocolate candy, but when you go to pull your arm back out of the sewer grate you realise that Rachel Hunter was right beside you, reaching for the same coin, and you offer to buy her a cup of chai at the local coffee house and she slaps you crosseyed, and you know for the rest of your natural life that you just got the best bitchslap that you'll ever receive. Ever.
No, nothing that cool.
Somewhere between leaving Target and arriving at Wal-To-Wal-Mart, I got the strange feeling that Life had come undone at it's Velcro'd together edges and I had fallen out of the comfortable jeans pocket of my regular world and fallen beneath the couch cushions of Some Other World, where the crusty old potatoe chips and the remote with the dead batteries have come to lead their own strange starch and plastic buttoned life.
I walked around the giant, mutant, milling crowd that naturally accumulates in a Wal-Mart on a Friday night after dark: the crazy people that mutter to themselves, the people with the cellular phones nailed to their ears, the teens who are too young to drink but too old and far too cool to hang out with the 'rents. And the people like me, looking for a last gift or two for my daughter's birthday, trying to wrap things up (so to speak. Yeah babe, this pun's for you.)
It was a strange evening indeed. Too dark to make much sense out of the shapes that kept coming up at me from the fog, and too windy to stack BBs. So, I sort of stumbled around, managed what I had to manage, and then was delivered into the relative safety of the grocery store. Or so I thought.
Grocery stores, like Wal-Marts, are strange places to begin with. You see every sort and kind of person, from the nice old white-haired gaffer in the pink button-down Oxford shirt and grey trousers (cuffed and pleated, like a lawyer from a film noir) all the way down to the person who obviously works construction but you can't tell if it's a man or a woman, and it's gender seems to switch back and forth with each item they pick up. They were all there, along with the usual assortment of toothless rednecks picking up that last suitcase of Natural Light and the Pentegoblins in their huge beehive hairdos and their ankle-length denim skirts, picking up that last case of Chateau de Lionsarse for the Bible Study Class and orgy.
And there I wandered, wishing all this would turn surreal so I could enjoy it, hoping that everyone's head would be replaced with perfectly ripe apples, or that LopLop The Bird Superior would join me in my shambling gaze and speak to me in Latin about la Lune, hanging over all our heads like the headlight on an oncoming diesel locomotive.
But no, such was not to be. Grocery shopping complete, the drive home was uneventful, and I found that Belle had, instead of sleeping the late evening after her hard exercise had instead opted to pull most of the rug underneath her kennel through the three-inch squares of her flooring INTO the kennel, where she could more easily gnaw on it.
Time for sleep is now.