Wife: OMG, I had this weird dream last night that I had Alzheimer's....
Husband: How did you remember it?
Husband running furiously back and forth between house and driveway, loading up car for 9:00AM soccer game.
Husband: We need to get out of this house!
Wife: But Dear, we have a mortgage.
Upon entering movie theater to see the latest chick flick.
Wife: Where do you want to sit?
Husband: How about the bar down the street?
File Under: Just Weird
For some good reason I can't quite recall at this precise moment, a few days ago I had to go out at 1:12 AM to purchase white shoe polish, half-and-half, and deodorant.
I had two choices: Wal-Mart or CVS. Now, since my sister will disown me if I shop at Wal-Mart (and with her own good reasons) I opted for the all-night pharmacy.
The last time I ventured into an all-night pharmacy was about ten years ago when I lived in South Philly (think Rocky Balboa and Frankie Avalon) on the 700 block of Wharton Street. 727 Wharton Street if you feel like looking it up on Google street view.
Yes, I once owned a rowhome in South Philly.
Anyway...this night a few days ago in Camp Hill was warm. Just like every night in South Philly is warm - hot, sticky, humid - even in the middle of February, nights in Philadelphia are hot as a soft pretzel factory oven.
And I was walking up to the Camp Hill 24-hour CVS, just like I used to - well, except now I have to drive everywhere since it's against the law to cross the main highway out of my suburban development - and when I entered the store, the lights were too, too bright - just like the lights in any store are too bright when you're walking in from the night like a mole person on a ridiculous quest for inessentials which seemed so essential just ten minutes ago...
I walked into the store's hyper-fluorescence and it was like waking through some strange time portal. Or place portal. I was in a time place with one set of GPS coordinates and minute hands, but felt so strongly that those coordinates and seconds were wrong.
I was met face-to-face with my thirty-something self wandering out of a happened-before moment ten yeas ago on a different quest, this time for some vital button or floss or tube of unguent. Not an important night when it happened - the salve long gone, the rash or itch or puncture wound long healed - but suddenly an instant instance important enough in it's being a surprise visit from a younger me from an hour I wasn't paying attention to at the time.
One of those nights when I wasn't wandering in distraction, maybe promising that I'd do a better job of living more fully in the moment tomorrow, or next week....some other saint or poet would have to record the miracle of mundane existence; for the time, I must have been feeling fairly well immortal to put off writing a libretto to the awareness of my heartbeats ticking down, all set pumping over the want of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.
So here I was in a CVS outside of Harrisburg a decade later and Hall and Oates playing on the in-house stereo.
It was hot and humid, like standing over a steaming grate in the middle of Broad Street.
And I found the white shoe polish and the deodorant, but no half-and-half.
I was hoping the Acme across the street was still open, but even if it were it wouldn't matter. The Acme was in South Philly, not Camp Hill. Although, neither was I. It was all so confusing.
I shuffled up to the register and placed my dry goods on the counter. The cashier was singing to Hall and Oates. Sara smile...Won't you smile a while for me....Saraaaaaaaaaaaa. I was trying to place him...her...him. I couldn't tell. Like the Ghost of Christmas past, the person ringing up my shoe polish could have been twelve years old or sixty. Elderly man or young girl. I did a quick scan for an Adam's apple or breasts or age spots or baby teeth, but there was no human geography to point me in any direction of "This person is here." His skin was translucent and fine like vellum, her ash-blond hair permed badly or well, depending the vantage point of your decade.
I was stunned into slack-jawed mortality at coming face-to-face with what must surely be an alien or angel or Cashier of the Apocalypse, right here before me, scanning tampons and chocolate bars at my local late-night CVS.
S/he stopped singing and spoke to me:
"Sorry about that. I just love to sing."
No, it's fine. I was enjoying the song.
"You must have felt like you were in an elevator listening to that song I was singing. That was the best elevator music ever. Or the worst, depending on what you think of elevator music."
Actually, I wasn't thinking of being in an elevator. I was thinking of a someplace else.
"Oh yeah. What were you thinking of?"
Oh...well...it's kind of silly. For some reason, walking in here tonight reminded me so much of this other 24 hour CVS I used to go to all the time. I'm a night owl. I know all the good all night deodorant suppliers.
"I'm a night owl, too. My last job before this, I was the manager another 24 hour store. I worked there for a year."
Oh yeah? What store was that?
"The CVS in South Philly. The one near Wharton Street."
I have no idea what it means.
I don't think it means anything.
Just another in a long line of weird events that I should probably write a book about ...maybe next year.