At the Kmart checkout, I can't scrawl my version of signature because they are asking me to respond to five questions, something on the order of "Would I recommend shopping at this store to my friends?" What? Of course not.
I think the last time I was in here was about two years ago and it's the closest "department-type" store to my house. The linoleum has bubbles, the bins are filled with junky toys, the clientele is the kind that sneaks into a box of Snickers, takes one out, carefully puts the box back on the shelves, and then eats the candy bar, tucking the wrapper behind their stack of yellow Best Value towels. Not that I saw anything like this, of course.
I'm there to buy a new battery charger as my camera tells me in flashing lights and pictographs, that as soon as I put these fully charged batteries in, I need to change them. Is it a bad camera, bad batteries, bad battery charger, bad wall socket? There's so many variables in this equation that I don't quite know where to start. But I decide a battery charger is the place because the old one is making interesting noises like someone flicking their finger against a bed spring, a rattly metallic sound.
Home, I nearly slice open my hand trying to get the battery out of its hermetic plastic shell, but the scissors and I prevail. I find an open plug (somewhat difficult: older house) and slug in my batteries, the old ones. A red light starts blinking.
Probably not a good thing. I go and find the booklet. The flashing red light is bad. It means you were as dumb as rocks and put an alkaline battery in. But mine aren't alkaline, so now maybe I'm leaning away from the bad charger theory to the bad battery theory. I take out the batteries and replace them one by one, getting the happy solid red light. I then put all four of them back in. Red flashing light. I take them out again and put them in the hallway to be taken down to the hazardous waste recycle can.
So, now I'm really leaning toward bad batteries, and maybe that old recharger that I just threw in the trash should be resurrected and tried again. Then I have visions of our workbench, a repository for things that Almost Work Okay, like the power drill that now, at my age, is too heavy to lift with one hand. And those batteries are bad too. As is the charger.
My brother Andy says the next New Big Thing will be an app that helps all of us remember all those useless internet account passwords, as we won't be able to keep straight which one we use for the iTunes account versus which one directs the bank to recognize us. We have six pages of passwords and usernames and accounts and I tried to reorganize it one day. Is this the correct code for our computer, or is it the one on the other page that had the star symbol beside it? Do we still have this bank account? Do we ever shop at Zappos anymore, and didn't they lose all the account numbers in a bad hack and reset the account anyway?
And in the end, it all comes down to the quality of my brain cells playing a tedious chore of mental hide and seek, trying to make sense of those things that at one time made perfect sense. Like a store flashing up a questionnaire screen when I know it is supposed to be the screen where I scribble my name and hit Enter. This confusion will be played out with increasing frequency, I'm sure, until I won't know which variable to work with when the time comes to try and figure it all out. I'm just hoping it will be something easy. Like a case of bad batteries.