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I have found that, when in unfamiliar situations
such as when shopping in a new store
or in a room with new people
that if I pretend I’m a machine, I can stay calm, I am
just a washing machine humming to myself in the corner
a dishwasher, mouth agape, waiting for dirty offerings
a robotic vacuum cleaner weaving in and out of the aisles
too busy knocking cans off the shelves
to make eye contact or say hello.
When I get home, I turn on the other machines in my life:
the coffee machine, the toaster oven, the television
all of which provide me with more conversation and company
than I’ll ever need.