I read Marie’s post about the Coffee Party before I went to buy groceries at the Market Basket at Stadium Plaza, Rte. 38 in Tewksbury (I always think I’m still in Lowell there). Anyway, I was standing in line with my number waiting to be called on at the deli counter, where I planned to get half a pound of sliced turkey and three-quarters of cheese. Around me were about 15 people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and types, a fair sampling of Northeast U.S. of A. I thought, This is how a civil society works. We all had a number. We waited for our turns. Nobody pushed and shoved. Nobody told anyone else what he or she should order (too salty, too much fat). The four deli workers were like the proverbial market or maybe even the government (just go with me here—pretend). All together, we expressed our will to get fresh deli food, so the counter-help yielded up the product and service. But individually we ordered what we wanted and paid for it (we all did have money or coupons or something). The transaction was civilized, respectful of neighbors and strangers, tolerant of differences (liverwurst, Swiss cheese, olive loaf, salami, white American, roast beef, whatever). There was no anger, no panic, no grandstanding. We each took care of our own business but volunteered to play by the rules (take a number, wait your turn, ask politely, pay at the end). If you are lucky like the guy next to me you can even request a free sample before you place the order for pineapple ham.