Covid Days: The Hardware Store

I just needed a couple of keys cut, but these guys needed everything. I couldn’t tell if they were drunk, on heavy meds or just done with the whole Covid Thing. They had masks on, although the older guy’s mask barely hung over his disheveled beard while his younger companion pulled his mask down every time he talked. That’s a weird pattern of many people during these trying times. Makes you think they don’t understand what the purpose of the mask is in the first place.

Anyway, drunk, drugged or just weirded out by the Covid days, neither of these guys used an inside voice nor seemed to care about the others in the store.

“I need a chair!” The older guy half yelled, almost like he was in pain. “I got to sit down.”

His companion, maybe in his early 30’s, pulled his mask down and went up to cashier. “I need a chair.”

She frowned. “You need what?”

“You know, one of those folding chairs, for camping. A chair.”

The older guy sat down heavily on the stairs. “I don’t need to buy a chair! I just need to sit!”

“Oh, okay.” The companion wheeled back and forth. “We don’t need a chair then.”

“I need a lock!” The older guy slumped forward, his hoodie cloaking much of his face, an exhausted Obi Wan Kenobi. “Come on!”

“What kind of a lock?”

“You know! A lock!”

“Okay.” He turned back to the cashier. “We need a lock.”

“What kind of lock?” She asked nervously.

“What kind of a lock do you need?” The companion asked the older guy.

“When I get home, I need to lock my stuff up so no one can get in, right?”

“He needs a lock.”

“Do you mean the cylinder?” The woman asked.

The companion looked back. “Do you mean the cylinder?”

“I need the damn lock, man! Get me the best one!”

“The best one you have, all right?” He repeated to the cashier.

The cashier wandered off, unsure of what to do, while another cashier came available for me. I gave him my keys. “Three copies of each, please.”

The other cashier returned. “What kind of lock do you need?”

“I need a damn lock to keep people from taking my stuff, man!” The old man was really yelling now. “Like you have when you come home? I need that!”

“We don’t have that. I’m sorry.”

The younger guy didn’t seem to care about any of it, like it was all a long and winding game. “They don’t have it.”

“What about a pressure cooker? They got that?”

He turned to the cashier. “Do you have a pressure cooker?”

“They don’t have it.”

“Pots and pans. I need pots and pans!”

“Okay.” The young guy was smiling crazily, like he was unsure of where he was and what this was all about. “Do you have any pots and pans?”

“I’m sorry.”

My keys were cut. “Thank you.”

“Soups! You got any kind of soups? Jiffy Pop! I need that.” It didn’t look like they were going anywhere soon.

Dark Matter: Toxic People in Life

I have had the misfortune of being wronged by a most unpleasant individual for a number of years now. He seemed like a friendly enough person when I first met him at my place of work, four years ago now. He was new to the city and needed help and support. Columbus 011And so it was a complete shock to be suddenly subject to his abuse, to hear that he had slandered me to friends, and then was insulted directly over and over again. He dragged others into his damaged and crazed world. He made it his mission to attack me and eventually orchestrated a campaign of lies against me, with the aim of having me removed from my job. He is, without a doubt, one of the worst, most damaged people I have ever known. It has been awful to have had him in my life. dark-matter-galaxy-1920Time has passed. I recently began research for my new book, my science fiction trilogy journey into space. I have been reading about dark matter. No one knows what dark matter is, just that it is there only because of how it affects the orbits of suns and galaxies. It obstructs. It obscures. And it is said to comprise the majority of matter in the universe.IMAG1302This concept of dark matter has made me think. As much as I would rather not have had this damaged person in my life, I have come to realize that he is dark matter for me. He has obscured and obstructed; he has done everything he can to ruin my path.apollolaunchHowever the real question for me is how well I respond to this, how well I can maintain my journey through the stars. While it has been disorienting at times, I have righted my course and expect this piece of dark matter to dissolve behind me, to collapse into itself and, in all likelihood, drag other bits of dark, and waste, matter with it. And more than that, I have been readied for the next bit of dark matter coming my way.