Last night, while in Walgreens, a pint of sherbet, an oversized bag of tortillas and a jar of salsa in hand, heading towards the checkout, anticipating a retreat into a few randomly chosen YouTube documentaries and lots of munching (and losing myself in general inside of my laptop’s nocturnal, liquid crystal glow) – after a threateningly loud clap in the atmosphere, a bright blue light, which flickered with the finality of a burst bulb – the store went dark. Then what was before a drizzle became a seamless sheet of water. Some minutes. Breaks and horns clashed. Some minutes. Sirens broke out. And another timpanic, brief blue light came and went for good measure.

Although I was starving when I came over here, the storm had all of a sudden relinquished my appetite. I was standing confusedly in the candy aisle, looking intermittently at the halted line at the checkout, which resembled a modernist bas relief (the people would be interpreted in the museum caption as being frozen in their primal, postmodern state as consumers) and the exit. There was a group of rowdy, electrified teenagers standing at the sliding doors, transfixed by the storm’s suddenness. They were mostly black. And I remember sort of abstractly (and rather crudely) conceptualizing the implications and potentialities of this – a group of rowdy, anxious black youth in a temporarily decommissioned store powerless to police itself, reduced to a white guy (I assumed to be the manager) frantically shining a flashlight and ordering me and anyone else holding merchandise to return it to the shelves immediately.

My stomach growled with annoyance. I then gently asked the guy if it was okay for me to leave the store. He said yes, rather politely. I ran into the wall of rain, not even conscious enough to castigate myself for such a show of timidity. I simply ran, like a gazelle, without thinking. I passed a McDonalds, a gas station, a Burger King – they were all black – before crossing the bridge to my apartment. Even the traffic lights and street lamps were mere silhouettes. If it weren’t for the persevering headlights and the anticipation that things, as we know them to be – cheap pints of sherbet, solitary movie nights, suspended dystopian realities with microwavable popcorn thrown in, drive-thru pharmacies, incessantly lit streets, controlled air and heat, the comforting thought of the comfort of the so-called real – were bound to resume, I would have thought that this was it. The blackout before the plunge…

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