Imbolc                                            Waning Wild Moon

Watched The Hurt Locker.  It comes to mind this morning because Saturday is grocery shopping here at chez Ellis/Olson.  After spending a full rotation in Iraq as a fearless and emotionally committed bomb tech, the lead character rotates back to the mainland. The scene that takes us back to the states with him opens with him pushing a grocery cart down a frozen foods aisle.

The shift from the sandy, hot precincts of Iraq to a modern US grocery store jars on several levels.   The first is visual.  The glass is clean, the chrome gleaming, the banks of freezers stretching out quite a distance.  The second is aural, no bombs going off, no screaming civilians, no rumbling trucks, no blare of heavy metal music.  The third is the juxtaposition of this  bomb-suit wearing, in danger of dying, hard-drinking, rock and roll blasting, Staff Sergeant William James with the ordered gleam of American food retailing.

His wife comes by with his son, “Get some cereal and I’ll meet you at the checkout.”

He leaves frozen foods and goes into the cereal aisle.  Told to get some cereal he confronts another well-ordered aisle, this one with boxes upon boxes of varied types of grains made into breakfast food.  His confusion and inability to make a decision contrast sharply with his demeanor in the war zone where life becomes stripped down and, though often life or death, the decisions are more straight forward and apparently easier to make.

I have a very mild sense of this every time I go to a grocery store.  It comes from traveling in 3rd world countries and seeing the chaotic, but often much more interesting mercados and street merchandising there mixed in with the desperate poverty that makes the range of choice available to us enough to cause the kind of confusion and lack of decisiveness expressed by Staff Sergeant William James in the Hurt Locker.