In her youth, my mom’s family moved a lot. Her father was in the British Army. She lived everywhere from Dublin to London to Carlisle Castle (yeah, my mom grew up in a real castle) and several parts of India, most of which are now inside Pakistan. Now and then (which may or may not mean “daily”–hint: it means daily) her mind will wander off to her childhood in India. Honestly, I don’t know how she remembers things in such vivid detail. I’m lucky if I can recall things that happened two weeks ago. But I digress.
Several years back, oh, in the mid-1990s, I’d say, we were on an “adventure” to Trader Joe’s in Pacific Beach. My mom, who has traveled the world, now considers anything that involves a car ride of more than ten minutes to be an adventure because it’s typically farther than she’d normally walk. And walking is her normal mode of transportation. She does not drive. Has never driven. Well, she tried to learn, but that’s for another post.
If you’ve ever been to Trader Joe’s, you know they have interesting foods from all over the world. Belgian chocolates. New Zealand lamb. Various and sundry cheeses. The list goes on and on. Some food or other (likely a curry of some sort) managed to trigger my mom’s reminiscing of all things India. Staring off into space with a slight beatific smile on her face, she was completely in another place. The sights, sounds, and smells of India were all around her. Yet something in the here and now managed to impinge on her consciousness. Something ever so slightly off in Trader Joe’s. She got the attention of a passing employee to tell him: “I think there’s something wrong with the automatic door. People are going in and out, but it’s not closing, it’s just staying open. I know it was working earlier because I remember it opening when we walked up.”
“Maam, that’s because you’re standing on the mat that has the sensor in it. If you step back about a foot, the door will close.”