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The Gangsta Supermarket and Summer



Really jolly time doing voter registration yesterday! We set up the table in front of Tropic Fresh, which is the shopping destination for Poughkeepsie’s gangsta population and basically spent the afternoon arguing with a bunch of guys sporting elaborate braided hairdos and prison tattoos about all the reasons why they should exercise their right to franchise.

In four hours, we signed up 17 potential voters, which is actually really, really good for a tabling operation.

Gayle had never actually shopped at Tropical Fresh. “I avoid Main Street,” she told me. “I a-void it!”

So, I took her inside.

Tropical Fresh is a Jamaican supermarket, unallied with any of the big supermarket chains hereabouts. It’s very good on fresh fish, wondrous produce, and strange Caribbean botanicals; it sells 30 different types of hot sauce. It’s very bad on dairy products and those 50 brands of breakfast cereal you’re used to seeing on supermarket shelves.







(Hmmm. Which one should I buy? The “Look For Me” or the “Keep Away Enemies?”)

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I was gonna go running when I got home and actually did force myself out on the trail, but after half a mile, I was hit with a fatigue that was so profound, I started tripping over my shoe laces.

What’s that all about?

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I’d been thinking a lot about my dearly beloved ESL student Summer, so I was not surprised when she popped up on Facebook. She is pregnant! She is staying with her mother in Japan till she has the baby. Unlike China, Japan is not restrictive about Western social media, so the lines of communication are open again. At least temporarily.

She did get my cards.

You should have seen me struggling to form those Chinese characters in her Guizhou address. I was sure I had actually addressed my cards to The Camp for the Reeducation of Overly Westernized Comrades. Or maybe Night Soil Central.

Summer is one of the reasons I stay on Facebook, by the way. She is one of a handful of people with whom I feel a deep connection and whom I would have no other way to track.



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