lunch hour.

The first stop was the bank. I have a safe deposit box at the main branch on Wade Avenue. Having such a thing makes me feel like a grown-up, with special grown-up things that need to be kept in a safe and separate place. I mostly just have a bunch of paperwork related to home ownership (grown-up). I don't even know what most of them are about, but I had to sign copies of them, and by gum, if ever anyone showed up on my doorstep and demanded to see them, I'd have them. Or at least, I'd be able to get them immediately, given a half hour drive to Wade Avenue, as long as it was within bank hours. I'm on a waiting list for a safe deposit box at a closer branch.

Something else that I keep in the safe deposit box is the title to the car, and it was that which I needed. I needed it so that I sign the back of it while a notary watched me so that he could then put down his official I Saw This Happen stamp. Then I would give it to some local tow truck operator, who would take it and my car with the tree-shaped dent to an auction house. Four to six weeks later, I will get a statement that says how much my car raised for the public radio station that plays a bunch of jazz. This is not to be confused with the public radio station that received the donation of one of our cars four months ago. I get a tax write-off, but honestly just being rid of the thing is enough of a weight off my shoulders. If ever you want to just get rid of a junker and don't care what happens to it or whether you get any money for it, this is a convenient way to do it. And then you can talk about how you donated it to charity, aren't you a nice person?

I was in and out of the bank in minutes, car title in my purse. And then what? I'd killed less than half of a lunch hour, and despite my opening sentence, really the only stop I needed to make was the bank. It was hot, and that made me decide that I wanted bubble tea. Then I thought, no, there's no need to go out of my way to spend three dollars on a novelty drink, no matter how refreshing. Then I remembered that my mom had asked me to get her something at the Asian grocery store. And that's fine, because I can buy a refreshing novelty drink as long as I have a reason to go to the store in the first place.
Have you ever had bubble tea? It's silly. It looks silly and it tastes silly, and it's so silly that it requires a special straw, also silly. It's some kind of iced tea with milk, and they add little chewy things they call bubbles, but which are actually tapioca. You drink the tea, and sometimes the tapioca bubbles come up through the special silly straw, so you can chew them. They don't have much of a taste, but the texture is fun. If you eat all of them, though, you get that same weird feeling in your stomach that you get after a gummy worm binge. Full, but not sated, as if what you ate expanded. For all I know, that's exactly what happens.

I called up my mom's email on my phone, because I couldn't remember what I was supposed to get for her. I walked confidently into the store, ready to fetch some shichimi togarashi. And then I realized that I had no idea what shichimi togarashi was. Some kind of mushroom? So I googled it and found out that it was a spice blend, which at least helped me get to the right aisle of the store. I looked at the many, many packages, but none of them appeared to be the right thing. But then again, a lot of the packages were not in English. An official-looking man with an official-looking clipboard was in the spice aisle, so I showed him my phone and asked if he had this, not even bothering to make a go of the pronunciation. He thought for a second, then walked over to a shelf and tapped authoritatively on a small spice bottle before walking away. Nothing on the bottle was in English, except for the brand name. I tried to compare the characters on the bottle to the characters in the Wikipedia article. They seemed pretty close, and I figured my mom was not likely to know the difference anyway. Besides, I felt silly examining a bottle that I could not read even a little bit.
On my way to the register, I happened to find myself walking down the candy aisle (okay, I diverted myself there). I love Asian candy. It is inexplicable and delicious. I examined the packages, which gave only a slight indication of what might be inside. I picked up one, realized it had some kind of fish paste in it, and said, "Ew!" as I put it back. A man came around the corner as I did so, and I worried I had offended him. Silly white woman doesn't appreciate good candy. The Asian grocery store makes me worry about stupid things like that, mostly because I feel so conspicuous in the first place. He might think that kind of candy is gross, too.

I couldn't figure out the candy packages, so I picked up some mango-flavored Hi-Chew, because I know that it is yummy. Between that and the bubbles in the bubble tea, I had such a gummy tummyache that I didn't eat my packed lunch until after 4 in the afternoon. It was totally worth it.

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