I learned the hard way last week that "stabbing somebody in the face" is not yet part of the accepted-without-comment business lexicon here. Sad, because it's quite a venerable expression with much currency among my friends. My co-workers have mostly acclimated to me, but still raise eyebrows a little when I laugh mirthlessly at some stupid computer thing and say that it makes me want to stab somebody.

My co-workers have also calibrated their perceptions, so they know that when I refer to somebody as "really, really strange", that for me to talk that way means the person in question is probably off their scale, being weird in some realm they've never conceived and couldn't really relate to.

I went to Whole Foods tonight to get soap--I always buy a ton of soap when I run out, because I hate running out, and for some reason, when I'm out of soap I can never remember or find the time to get more, so I subsist on the last shards far longer than I'd like.

Anyway, at the checkout line I loaded my stuff into my KQED canvas bag. The cashier asked, "Is KQED a local radio station? I've been seeing a lot of KQED stuff around." "Yes," I replied, "it's up in San Francisco. It's an NPR station, it was the first public radio station, started broadcasting around thirty years ago." "NPR? What's that?" "National Public Radio?" "What's 'public radio'?". "It's radio that doesn't have commercials, it's supported by people donating money to the local stations." "You're kidding," she said.

It occurred to me as I walked away that seeing if she knew about Sesame Street might have been a better way to explain the whole thing to her. I think I was too busy being being graceful enough to hide my astonishment, whether it's justified or not. I mean, it really has been over thirty years, and the woman couldn't have been much over forty at most, probably in her thirties. Is this what happens when you grow up only with what the corporations feed you? Without even making a choice, just without any consciousness that the world is bigger than what you know? Without, I'm thinking, a desire to learn?

I may be even luckier than I thought.