Originally posted on December 31, 2012.

Waiting in the checkout line in the supermarket yesterday, I was watching the young couples, men and women, checking out. They seemed so ernest and so uncertain. It was as if they weren’t sure they were doing it right. I was thinking that it seemed almost like a rite of initiation into adulthood on America…learning to shop….learning their part in capitalist ritual….doing their part to keep it all going. It made me a little sad. They all looked so ripe and beautiful, ready for something more grand than mere shopping.

Meanwhile, the oldtimers seemed glad to be out and to have escaped from their loneliness. It seemed like this might be the closest thing to a social gathering. They dawdled. They compared the products….read the labels… partly wise shopping, but also maybe partly an escape from their isolated lives. Is that too bleak a view of American life? I’m not sure.