from across the aisle i hear rapid percussion. a dull downpour. the grocer, a kid, maybe 16, hefts a wax coated cardboard box to eye-level and tips it forward with the precision of a dump truck. a red onion rolls past my toe. it disappears under a shelf. lucky bugger escaped, i think to myself. 

a memory surfaces of potatoes bouncing into a blue milk crate. crickets and cicadas cut the air into high pitched rhythms, pulses and sustains. my babcia's humming and muttering setting a tempo for the beat. once in a while she glances over her shoulder, eyes the crate, then me, then the crate, 'potrząsnąć'-she says. shake it. the contents roll around each other, some leap headlong tumbling into the dirt trenches at my feet. 

now, i imagine the relief of their roots reconnecting with the dirt. a moment of communication, reconnection. 

then, i just wanted to get the job done as quickly as possible. scooping them up, stealing their hope and sealing their fate, before she noticed. she glances again and i know i have to shake them again. 'cichy' -gently, she reminds.

he watches me for a really long time. i work in gridlines. left to right. top to bottom. i wonder if he wonders what i am looking for. one by one i check, and pile, and order and categorize 100 avocados. i know what i am looking for. uniform brown skin, soft crown and bottom, a slight give to the flesh, a green seat under the loosened stem.

even a potato deserves dignity. it demands an understanding. she understood this.

he doesn't.

i pack up my brood and mention to him that an onion escaped under the shelf. 'no problem, i got it' -he says. i pay and as i pass out the sliding doors i can still see the onion sitting motionless in hiding. the young grocer has moved on to the next aisle likely forgetting his promise.


What does it mean to follow someone?

Really, break it down for yourself. I do, often.

If I go literal on this, I would stay close, pay attention, mirror this or mirror that.

But what else is it?

I trawl for purpose, wisdom, truth, and throw back wishful thinking. A fresh view can often benefit from a few more laps around the pond.

Sometimes ‘like’, sometimes just smile. Though my smile these days pushes the limits of my mouth guard. I am all back teeth and cheek and head shaking most times.

I force myself to stop scrolling the minute my kids walk in the room, but leave my thumb on the screen to hold my queue in the feed.

There once was joy in following. You know finding the gold, sharing the gold, seems like there’s not much ore left in some spaces, they are almost completely mined, like me, tapped out.

But what else is it?

I am a someone that follows and unfollows. I am a headache causer. I don’t seek permission to make you wonder about me.

I have been blocked for messing with an algorithm. An algorithm! Not a person, or a heart, or someone’s life thank god.

And I block every ad and promoted tweet in under 2 seconds like a carnival game and the big pink gorilla is up for grabs.

I have sub tweeted when I should have DM’d; DM’d when I should have not. Done nothing and missed my opportunity to be human.

And I have been called out as rude for giving no notice before I leave a feed. Its all good though I did notice that you did not notice. Thanks for that.

But that is me, I’m in the parking lot and hitting the freeway before last call. Lights up brings too much reality for my taste.

But what else is it?

I have questioned questions and then waited for answers.

Given the answer that was asked for. Withheld when I did not trust. And expected trust in full payment. Ironic, idiosyncratic, and insecure.

I often pushed topics back and forth, like the moment was a swing for my enjoyment only.

I have erased all of you from my feed, started over, only to add you again. Some noticed, some did not.

But what else is it?

I have wondered why someone would say such a thing, then wished I’d said it first.

Then realized had I said it, I would have wished I hadn’t, but then still claimed victory for liberally thoughtful bystanding.

I have erased hot blooded posts to a single letter, thought better of it, rewrote, erased, rewrote, erased etc.

I have joined your bandwagon. And waited for you to join mine. And waited. And waited.

But what else is it?

I have wondered what would it be like if I took my tail from my mouth and stopped swallowing. But sometimes it is easier to keep chewing than to stop and gag.

I wanted to drop socials altogether, but then my mother would never connect with me because I don’t call her much.

In truth the last time I left socials, it took her 4 weeks to notice. And she thought I had blocked her. 4 weeks?!

Digital debris, shored up with hubris, is like that megaball rolling towards any explorer willing to try spelunk my thoughtfuel. So recounting me through every bit and byte is dangerous or not if you didn’t follow.

But what else is it?