——I’ve heard they use that special “full spectrum” lighting at Wegmans Food and Pharmacy, in the fruits and vegetables aisles, flooding the piled high mounds, and bottomless bins, the never depleted rows of fresh produce, the stacks and racks of luscious . . . just give it up, shoppers! Wearing broad grins and drooling, sighing with relief to have found that what is in season is . . . right here!–at Wegmans, you know, the people also look smart. They must dress up to go there, the hungry and the ill-kempt shop elsewhere. A sense of some indisputable triumph fills the air–these are the rhymes, and there must be music playing, or else it is my thoughts. Right here is where you need a shopping cart, I think abstractly, and I look down and lo and behold I have one! So then, I picked up one scorching red, red pepper, selected after due consideration of its shape. Shamelessly one compares the qualifications, as per one’s taste in bodies, and reaches to firmly grasp the strange fruit, or is a pepper a vegetable? But wait, I am distracted by the strawberries, always distracted by the strawberries, and then promptly seduced by the raspberries, wheeling up and reigning in my shopping cart like a whinnying horse. Deftly, I executed a left turn so as to head back into the main lots, to be bathed again in full-spectrum lighting! It was then, that I made the life saving decision, in order to maintain control and establish a plan, suitably whimsical but certain to get me through the virtually limitless store, to limit my selections and purchase only red, items that were red only, please, I said to myself. And hunting on this red alert, I got succulent tomatoes, and Delicious Red Apples, and small red potatoes, red cabbage, red onions, rib steak glowing red through the cellophane! “I don’t know why people don’t use me for more,” I said to my wife, as we were appraising the results of my red shopping spree, laid out as if for a photo shoot on the gleaming white kitchen table.

——But in the very next moment there I was standing next to the fierce woman in the alpaca suit, at the Oxford Gallery art exhibit opening, “Awakenings; Images of Spring”. Frankly, she said, she was impressed with the prices of some of the paintings. The huge frame before us, large as a picture window, contained within it a bevy or a bourn, or rather an unappealing, masterfully rendered mass of flowers–floating, or rather superimposed, because one could not switch focus fast enough, above or rather right within the punch bowl. And what a punch bowl it was! The woman in the alpaca suit’s gazing eyes were fixed on the floating glacier, which had the painting beat, in terms of visual stimuli, is what I would say. Anyway, she said to me: “Do you know how much that painting costs!” Well, considering that it was featured in the place where one was forced to look if they wanted some of this delicious golden punch, I would venture to say, “Six thousand dollars?” I shouted back that back, and then I pointed through across the room and said “I wonder how much that one costs.” It was my wife’s painting of a DUSTPAN (of all costly things). Simultaneously, I muttered under my breath: “This is too difficult, I can’t talk this way.” I took a step, three steps, to change the story, but then I noticed how time had not just halted, as it often does, but was now calmly proceeding in reverse. People were even walking backwards, backpeddling as they seemed to be trying to get into my photograph–the one I was about to take.

——I see where this is going. The trajectory is to convey boundless exhilaration, making a public display of a hidden self. Suddenly one is perforce a clown, publishing material that is of necessity, and by its own nature, quickly composed, dished out, or shall we say apportioned . . . and anonymously! No one knows who you are, how could they? Every step is a further step towards shedding a false-in-life identity, while remaining compelled by an inner drive. To blather, and to spew. It is not to offer thoughtfully worked out expositions, that is certainly a laughable (even a historical!) occupation, but it is to be a diary writer. To let the night in, and the world watch you. We greet with a broad, inexplicable grin, the inversion of previous forms of speech. Now we must be spontaneous broadcasters–but since most of us do not want to be this (why would we?), it is left to a few aggressive souls, to rush into this media void. There are really only a few, I told my compadre, who are spewing. “That’s rum,” he said. And the fact that this inversion has come upon us unheralded, overnight, clearly indicates that it will be the worst, the loudest, the ignorant, the most deluded who shall learn all this new, always newer, what is it? . . . technology. They will say the technology made them do it. Most of us will remain merely stunned. I feel this practically physical pull to produce more and more as if to prove myself, turn myself inside out, rambling on the page. They want my notebooks! For I am like Da Vinci. Inventor of the airplane.

——You think these are a few incidental reflections on the situation in life, like inserted as appetizers, or just hung in the gallery in a corner? No, they are the whole show and the context in which life, such as you perceive it, actually happens. These are not side points, mon cher, or mere idle, mere profound, commentary–why do you think I have this habit of suddenly whispering in your ear? These are the definitions, the planks and the running boards, for I am foundational, like . . . Aristotle, you will say.

Advertisements