Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Little Straw

I mean that as in “in the wind.” Something new, almost “millennial,” happened to me on my walk. People sometimes stop to ask a question. I come from a time—it has now pretty much faded—when the casual question almost anybody was likely to ask a total stranger—while almost certain to get a positive answer—was “Have you got a light?” The reflexive answer to that question was to reach into your pocket or your purse. Once upon a time everybody had a light. Today a young couple approached me. Each led a little dog on a leash. Their faces showed distress visible even from a distance. As I came into range they both looked at me a little forlornly and both asked, simultaneously: “Have you got a bag?” Now it so happens that, just before my walk, I’d been at Kroger. In the process of unpacking I had rolled up several plastic Kroger bags and put them in my pocket to deposit into the “bag for bags” that Brigitte maintains as one of our ecological activities. Quite reflexively, therefore, I reached into my pocket—but, alas, I’d already put the bags away. All three of us made sad-smile faces with head inclined to one side. Next time I’ll head out with a bag in my pocket. It’s a new millennium.

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