Pretzel Stand

Early August of 1974 at age 17 I was walking through Greengate Mall along Route 30 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, with a last-minute shopping list before I began four years as a student at St. Bonaventure University. Next on my list was Bic-brand pens at the five-and-dime about mid-mall on the second level. As I was approaching the pretzel stand just outside the store, my vision disappeared and was replaced with the scene that was directly behind me. The familiar face of a relative, Jerry, and his extended arm appeared. As Jerry tapped my shoulder the scene shifted and my normal vision was restored. I knew who it was just seconds in advance, and turning around I stopped and chatted about school for a few minutes. Now with Jerry walking away from me, my mind went back to school supplies, the Bic pens I was in need of, and were they still nineteen cents each. I was standing still and turned toward the store I was about to go into, wondering where among 12 or 14 isles would they have stocked pens.

In a flash, my eyesight changed again, like a wandering video cam- era traveling in computer-like logic. In a second, the image mapped out my direct path to the Bic pen display, then framed in the display itself, then  filled the frame again with a single Bic pen. The info-surge that followed told me that the 19 cent price had been raised to 25 cents and even offered the percentage increase. In another second, the images were replaced with normal eyesight. I walked into the store and followed the route laid out, turning the last corner to see the pen display and eyeing the 25 cent price tag.

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