I'm hungry! Note to Self: eat lunch. Do not go grocery shopping while hungry. Besides, Self, you went grocery shopping yesterday. Twice, because you forgot the milk, a mainstay. So you went back, late at night, to get some, so it would be there for breakfast. You went only to get milk, remember?!
Shift to summary/dialogue/first person narration:
So, last night, I went out to get the milk I forgot to get earlier, and the store was wonderfully empty, the floors shiny and clean, the big buffer machine going, and when I got to the cashier, there was just one guy getting a couple things and writing a check for them, getting a little cash, and he had a theatre shirt--Les Miserables, going on locally--and I asked about his show.
Actor Guy: Oh, I'm in Cats at Miller Park. I'm wearing this because I saw it last night and bought the shirt.
Me: (nodding in a positive yet indeterminate fashion) I've never seen Cats!
Note to you, the reader: Actor Guy is someone I have chatted with, in passing, at some other time, but I don't know his name. At the moment. Very nice guy. He will be playing Old Deuteronomy, and now I really want to see Cats, for the first time. I have listened to the songs many times. Sometimes I play songs from Cats on the piano. Oh, wait, maybe I have seen Cats. The movie. I have a feeling I fell asleep, like a contented cat, or like me, watching a movie.
Back to the grocery store, picking up dialogue in mid-conversation with Cashier, as Actor Guy has left:
Me: I bet I have that penny.
Cashier and Bagger ad lib about singing and dancing. Cashier hands Me my change, all paper money, and I put it away, becoming vaguely flummoxed by math challenge, as I was also expecting fifty cents, after that penny business. (Isn't Penny a character in a play? Yes! You Can't Take it With You! Played by Rondi Reed at Steppenwolf, when I was Alice, the normal one! Get it? The NORMAL one.) Bagger and Cashier, though not present in my head, understand exactly, and hand over fifty cents from the change chute, and commiserate about change chutes and their own tendency to leave change behind in them.
Me: I'm just glad I remembered the milk. I forgot it earlier.
Bagger: (genially) Don't forget your milk!
Me: (after a slight pause) Where is it?
In the movie made from this blog entry, the ensuing will be played in fast motion, with wacky music, in that jerky way of the old silent films. Bagger runs outside, yelling and waving her arms at Actor Guy, while Me follows, vaguely flummoxed again but perfectly cheerful. In the parking lot, Old Deuteronomy skitters out from under a row of shopping carts and runs quickly for the next safe place and/or mouse. Actor Guy stops at his car, turns, looks at his hands, and comes back toward the store, while Me walks toward him. Actor Guy hands over a milk jug.
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor and director in Chicago, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited two poetry journals, shelved and retrieved materials in several libraries, walked beans, and was an assistant professor of English. Now I serve as Poetry Editor and Editor at Large for Escape Into Life, an online arts magazine, write & edit as a freelancer, blog "eight days a week," study the random, tend perennials, and listen to birdsong.