As the Shabbat approaches and we make our presentations I wanted to reflect on a strange experience I had this morning.
I woke up early (that's not really that strange) and got myself all together. I needed to walk to CVS to pick up some bad novels with which I will keep myself busy over Shabbat. I worked my way through the aisles and then took a quick jump into Kastner's. Kastner's, you see, is one of the local kosher food markets. I don't like it. There is very little room to move around and if a single person slows down, the entire place gets locked into a traffic pattern which reminds me of the Cross Bronx. The aisles aren't really wide enough for two people walking, let alone anyone who uses a cart, or anyone who wants to stop to look at an item.. The flow of the place is non-existent and it is always busy. It has no right to be busy -- the prices aren't all that great and people should demand more from their establishments. This same kind of illogic seems to pervade other establishments. Now, maybe this is because it is yeshiva week and there is an unexpected glut of consumers and the stores are designed for significantly less use but I find that still inexcusable. Yeshiva week is a known thing -- hire some extra counter staff. Have a plan of how people can move through your store. Do SOMETHING to show any forethought at all. Nope. Nothing. So I have been in thrice and hate it more each time.
But while I was in this morning, I saw someone -- someone I haven't seen in many years. An old colleague of mine who also taught when i was in high school. Now, sure, one runs in to all sorts of people when traveling, but this guy? i had heard, quite definitively, and 10 years ago, that he was dead. He looked at me with the same sort of semi-recognition because he also was confused; I figure he also had heard that he was dead because I know he didn't hear it about me.
So I stared a bit and figured -- the service is so bad at Kastner's that he is still waiting to pick up his food even though he has been dead for 10 years. Unless, of course, he is living the Twainian "rumors of my death" existence and everything anyone has told me about him has been wrong. I feel uncomfortable with that. Clearly the simplest course of action would have been to kill thus retroactively validating all that I had heard about his death him but I found myself both unprepared and reluctant to cast a pall on the rest of the day with the simple act of ghost-icide.
So instead I went to Dunkin Donuts and found a line all the way out the door because the counter people did not know how to handle actual demand for their product. I walked out, but walked back in once I realized that I could, at least, use their Wifi.
I think it safest, in terms of my interactions with the underworld, that I stay in my room for the balance of this trip, lest I discover that other ghosts of teachers past are roaming the hallways and kosher establishments.