I Feel Seen

OK, how does this work…

An H-Mart opened near me recently (well, 20 miles away. That counts, for me). First time I bought something there they instantly emailed me a receipt. But I had never given them my email address, and they’d never asked. They must have got it by association with my credit card somehow.

A couple of weeks ago, I wanted a snack, so I stopped at one of the stalls in their food court and got something I’d never had before: Taiwanese popcorn chicken. It’s just small chunks of seasoned boneless fried chicken with fried basil leaves. Tasty enough.

Today I open YouTube and it is recommending me a video on how to make Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

The world sees me and acknowledges me and wants me to be happy.

Namaste, it says, and lights my path.

9 thoughts on “I Feel Seen

  1. John D Thullen

    It’s like the Gulag with take-out and one day delivery.

    It’s like being made to wear a yellow star badge but being vaguely and warily comforted that EVERYONE is wearing one.

    It ‘s like an answer to a petition to the Lord you never signed.

    It’s like awakening in your bed one morning with Vishnu bowing Namasthe to you from the foot of your bed and coming to the realization that it was only the Burger King breaking into your bedroom on Halloween disguised as Vishnu. And all of your candy is missing. And Nirvana is merely getting fries with that.

    It’s like that moment as a child when you realized that Santa Claus isn’t real, and you’ll just have to settle for the Commerce Clause, which someone also made up.

    It’s like Abraham Lincoln attending the theater and realizing with his last breath that the actors on the stage in front of him can also sneak up behind him with intent and write him into the script of a play within a play.

    It’s like love at first sight …. with a sociopath bearing snacks.

    It’s like an apartment dweller calling the maintenance guy to fix the garbage disposal and then reading on the internet months later that the guy has been apprehended for placing tiny remote-viewing cameras in the bathrooms of tenants all over town. But not really caring because at that moment there’s a knock on the door and there stands an Uber driver delivering an order of Taiwanese popcorn chicken you didn’t request.

    It’s like Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” the day before he awakens having somehow turned into a carapaced beetle (Nabakov’s entomological opinion) receiving an anonymous summons to a class on scuttling and consuming food scraps.

    It’s like the fear Miles experiences when he kisses Becky for the last time in ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. They are here and it’s time to panic.

  2. John D Thullen

    It’s like reading on ok-cleek about his Taiwanese popcorn chicken experience and the next day riding in an Uber and receiving a text on your toosmartforitsowngood phone that the restaurant on the way to your destination serves excellent Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

    Serendipity, but not. A seance, but with listening devices and a person in the next room piping in creepy noise responses. A table lifting but it’s the guy to your right with heavy hands and a foot wedged under one leg of the table.

    The enchanted world, first unenchanted, but then reenchanted by the cheap puppeteers of commerce.

    Magic without wonder.

    Terry Schiavo casting her sightless eyes across the ceiling and croaking out a legal petition in a voice that sounds suspiciously like Jeb Bush, who is on her side until he finds out Medicaid via Obamacare is her life support.

    1. cleek Post author

      maybe “Taiwanese popcorn chicken” is a secret mind-control phrase that we’ve all just been exposed to, but have yet to realize the consequences.

  3. John D Thullen

    “Was it different before? I’ve forgotten what it was like.”

    Like the sign-stealing scandal in baseball, no, it’s not different in kind, but in degree, and has always occurred, by quaint, clever human methods (look up Tom Sturdivant of the late 1950s New York Yankees and his keen, accurate observations of the other teams’ pitchers’ body language tells from the dugout; he apparently was uncanny in predicting the next pitch ), except now pro baseball teams who can afford it can rent spy space on satellites and with high resolution recognition software, technologically read in real time every flicker of sign sending on the field, while of course throwing the third base coach’s attention off by sending the recipe for Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken across the screen inside his Oculus goggles.

    Petty cheating, lying, and thievery are the thin sheen of lubricant that makes the gears in the game (like baseball) of capitalism run smoothly. The Constitution is silent on these petty sins.

    Except now that the gears are microchips and algorithms, it’s impossible to get to the bottom of who the seller is that the buyer is supposed to beware of.

    It’s like the seances of old with the knocking on the walls and the furniture shifting, except that the cheap thrill of deluding yourself into thinking you are communicating with dead loved ones goes like this:

    Seance facilitator: “Would you like to ask your long-dead mother about the afterlife?”

    Subject: “Mom, tell us, please give us a clue about where you are at this moment.”

    A series of Morse Code knocks from the ceiling, when translated by the facilitator, say: “I’m enjoying the finest Taiwanese popcorn chicken money can buy, but the afterlife is one big gift certificate. If you would like to see the recipe, please schedule another appointment with Madame Fulofit for your next session.”

    We could regulate, but that is now verboten. THAT would be socialism, in which the government is permitted to be full of shit too (in battle with the private sector’s full of shittanacity), just like the private sector …. and me.

    You kind of WANT some Taiwanese popcorn chicken now, don’t ya?


    Here, let me turn on the smell-a-vision.

  4. John D Thullen

    Tyrone Slothrup was on to something when he realized those V-2 rockets were exploding where he had just been.


    “Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of Taiwanese popcorn chicken after death.”

    Werner Von Braun


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