I wanted to write about several things over the past few days: McCain’s stupid political ad, OSU sports teams, etc., but it’s the week of the county fair and I’ve been kept busy covering stuff there… Hopefully more will follow soon.

Yesterday was my weekly trip to the supermarket to buy my food for the week. However, this short outing was different than all the other times I’ve been to the supermarket since I’ve been back in the Mount Vernon area. If anyone who is reading this is familiar with the Mount Vernon/Knox County area, they’ll know that minorities are a rare sight around here. But as I was walking through the supermarket, I saw a woman that I know was from Southeast Asia. I didn’t want to stare because that’s not polite in this culture, but I was almost positive she was Vietnamese. She had that slight build and the light brown skin and the thick black hair that I’d been around for years. I wanted to walk right up to her and her family and ask, “Are you Vietnamese?” I wanted to walk by her and pretend to talk to someone on the phone in Vietnamese and have her recognize the rising and falling loops of that glorious tonal language. She was hovering around the small Asian foods section of the supermarket, probably wondering why we have an entire aisle dedicated to chips while only a small section of the place contained a small number of the glorious flavors of that area of the world.

I didn’t have the guts to walk up and talk to her. But when I got out into the parking lot and also on the ride home, I felt like I’d just seen an old, true love of mine; like I’d just encountered an old lover that I still harbored a smoldering passion for, and my stomach was in knots. Yet there was no physical attraction at all. She, this mythical woman in the supermarket, represented an entire country for me… What do these strange feelings say about me? That I’m dying to speak Vietnamese; I’m dying to be with Vietnamese people again.

My Vietnamese languages skills are withering, and it took me about 15 minutes or more to remember the word for “peanuts” on the ride home.

It was one of those insomnia nights last night. And to make things a little more interesting it was raining and the thunder was booming and there was lightning flashing. After spending a fair amount of time lying around in the sticky humidity and not meeting my friend sleep, I walked outside to have a look at the lightning that was all around.

The house was pitch black and the small green LED lights in the smoke alarms illuminated light-green circles on the hallway carpets as I walked through the house. I made it out into the drive way and noticed that the lightning to the northwest was flashing in a definite rhythm with no thunder that reached my ears; a rhythm that continued the entire time I was out there puffing on my cigarette.

After some time I came inside, had a glass of water and turned on the TV. There were no weather warnings like the TV usually broadcasts when clouds or rain appears in the area, so I watched late-night shows that I never really get around to any more, and eventually the rain started to fall steadily and soothingly, with few flashes and booms punctuating the calmness of the falling drops.

Finally sleep came, and it was much too late when it arrived. I’m not sure what I can blame it on: a short nap after work, a tad bit of indigestion, a mind that can’t be fenced in… But I was woken by a jolt of an alarm this morning and stumbled downstairs for coffee, hoping that insomnia wouldn’t strike again tonight.