Déjà Entendu.

So, last night I was going from one place to the next and stopped at the supermarket on the way. It was late and I was hungry, looking for some kind of quick snack, hopefully a sandwich from the deli, or… something. No luck because it was late and the deli was closed. So I just started wandering amidst the bright lights, the muzak renditions of pop trash, and the glitzy brand names…

And as I prowled the aisles, this strange feeling crept over me, one that I’ve sadly only experienced on a handful of occasions, if ever, and one that’s hard to romantically recall. The feeling was as close as I could literally think of déjà vu being. Or perhaps jamais vu. I mean, obviously I’ve done that same thing, staring at the contents of the supermarket hundreds of times in my life, no, thousands of times. But why did it feel particularly heavy this time? What was different. I looked at the brands, the names, the new code words used to entice me: “low fat,” “low sodium,” “lite,” “toasted, “flamefresh,” etc. and I looked at the tabloids, immersed for a time, as Don Delillio put it, in the world of “the living and the dead.”

Eventually I decided, “Fuck it.” I took it all in and kept walking. It was only a thing if I made it a thing.

While wandering up and down the aisles still, I passed some guy, someone I barely know, just a familiar face. It took me half a second to place him: Some guy who comes into my place of work every now and then. We did the “S’up” head nod thing that men do and we went about our business.

Moments later I passed a couple I only kind of know. Had dinner at their place once, invited by friends of a friend. It was an awkward dinner and an even more awkward night. Long story short: Someone performed a sex act in their house that night and the hosts did not approve. A silent deal was made that should anyone who there in that time and place ever encounter each other again, they’d do a cold stare and then keep walking. That’s what we did.

Then I passed another guy I’ve seen come into my job before. This dude doesn’t recognized me, which is fine with me. I keep looking for something to eat.

More wandering and I see a girl walking around, laughing as she talks on her cell phone. I sort of know this girl through Conrad Noir. He’s had a thing for her for years but hasn’t been able to make that romantic connection with her, mostly, I think, because she’s not interested. But also, she’s kind of dumb. Those two facts are unrelated, but most equally important. But seeing her made me stop in my tracks and look around…

There was her, the two guys I see come in to my job now and then, that couple, and myself. Two women and three men. Five people in a grocery store. Not all of them know each other, but there’s a tenuous connection of recognition between them, and they’re all in the same place late into a Monday night. Why did this feel important to me? Maybe, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but just go with me here, but maybe I was just in a wacky place, or perhaps in a whole other universe, the five of us were on a plane that crashed in the middle of the ocean, landing on a mysterious island with magical properties and weird indigenous people and science fiction monsters and… you know, shit like that? This whole other universe could be sideways to the one we’re currently in, and could feel more real, more accurate. Perhaps this universe, the one we reside in now, is just a tangent, or perhaps just a shard of the whole prism? Perhaps when people who have this connection to another time and place occupy such closer quarters at the same time, there’s this weird effect on reality, something that causes it to resonate? It’s possible, right?

Ehhhh, probably not. Maybe the world is just too damn small. I was only in the supermarket for like five minutes, if that. Had a weird experience, noticed that the price of bananas had gone up, and eventually walked out with a candy bar and a bag of sun chips. Oh, and hey, tonight’s a new episode of Lost. Enjoy it, everyone. In 13 days it’ll be gone forever.

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3 responses to “Déjà Entendu.

  1. dude, don’t ever read delillo before going to the grocery store, it will seriously mess you up. as a matter of fact, don’t read him before doing anything but curling up in a ball and weeping softly.

  2. You think so?

    Delillo’s probably my second favorite author. He’s intellectual, but not to a severe degree. I think he flies over the heads of most people, but it could also be because his tone tends towards colder rather than warmer. He sees like in analytical sketches, snapshots of reality dissected and defined and depowered. White Noise was both brilliant and terrifying, and the stuff in the supermarket was some of his best, for me. The grocery store is the perfect place for Delillo. I’d read a whole book of him just traveling up and down the aisles picking up objects and then picking them apart, telling you what they mean in great and terrifying detail.

    • Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy (White Noise is amazing) but he is one of those writers who gets in your head and takes you a second to shake the feeling he’s left you with.

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