Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dribbling Over the Edge

When the price of my favorite type of french roast coffee dropped to $6 a can, I purchased three cans.  I mentioned to Dawn that we should stock up. She bought four cans.  We stored the hoard(hey, that rhymes) on a high shelf in the summer kitchen next to Dawn's ceremonial deer antlers.  The antlers are seldom used because Dawn hasn't done a deer dance in years.  The coffee is gone.

Dawn's driver's license needs to be renewed.  Since they closed the DMV station in Viroqua, we need to go to Richland Center.  Road trip.  Dawn leaves work early because the DMV closes at 5 pm.  I agonized about inviting Jorge along because of the back seat driving.  If we make him sit in the back seat with Mandy, there are snarky comments.Much of it from Mandy having to sit next to Jorge.

Jorge looking for change in his recliner.
The trip to RC is fraught with peril.  Just before the left turn past KFC, a trailer loaded with snowmobiles side swipes a passenger van.  The van is stuck in the center turn lane missing a bumper.  I barely had time to swerve out of the left turn lane.  I didn't see the putz driving on my bumper and sent him careening.

The DMV is cleverly disguised as a strip mall.  Driving past a long row of white vinyl, single story  buildings with no designation other then Executive Drive Suites, we spot a sign with a long black arrow pointing to a glass door. Of course there's the DUH moment when we cry out in unison , "That must be it."   "Driver Licensing" it says.  Dawn gets out of the car.  I decide to let Mandy out for a walk.  Jorge gets out of the car.  I 'd pulled up to the edge of the parking lot next to other cars.  As I walk around the front of the car , I glance at the hill below toward a pastoral setting of open fields, dairy cows and hardwood trees still clinging with autumn leaves.  Yipes.  The hill is a sheer drop of a hundred ( hunnert if you're from Wisconsin) feet.  "Mandy. Get away from the edge ," I shout at her.  She walks over to a plastic corrugated culvert set in the asphalt as a deep drain  to the field below.  Oh no, I can see the fire trucks pulling up now to extricate my dog from the culvert.

Mandy canters past office workers waving at her in boredom.  Behind the DMV is the DNR.  Plain white pick-up trucks with red license plates indicate this is the forestry division similar to the one behind the Great Wall in Viroqua. Hey, it's funny they put the forest service behind a Chinese buffet.  Wow,  these guys have two gas grills, a covered picnic area and a water hydrant.  Mandy heads for the farm off in the distance, but the leash is only twenty feet and cuts her off before she gets to the cattle wallow.

Jorge wanders the parking area.  I worry that the police will show up ( Jorge was the police)  wanting to know why a black man is stalking the parking lot.  A couple of years back Jorge accompanies me on a trip to Lacrosse.  It's hot and he's tired.  He lies down on a bench in the entrance to Woodman's grocery store.  A clerk comes out. She asks politely, "Are you all right sir?"  Jorge tells me later that all the while she was sniffing the air for whiskey fumes 'cuz there's black man passed out on a bench in front of the store.  Jorge doesn't drink, by the way.

Dawn comes out ecstatic that it didn't take two hours to her the license renewed.  No one threatened anyone.  No guns were drawn and other than her face has a red tinge to it, the photo didn't look like a mug shot.  She did add that the "nice" man at the counter had to retake the photo when her glasses slipped down her nose at the last moment. "Broke the camera," Jorge quips.

Next stop Wal-Mart.  The RC Wal-Mart craft's area is, according to Dawn, well stocked with a variety of items she needs for her senior activities like making turkeys with a hand trace and pine cone door knob hangers.Of course there's the required bashing of Wal Mart and the Republican dominated state legislature when Dawn mentions a recent bill to deny state workers a salary increase or merit pay.

I wander down the men's aisle looking for the clearance rack when I see children's clothes marked down to $1.  Unbelievable. Maybe I'll get lucky. Jorge follows like a puppy, complaining that I'm wandering on purpose.  "You need the exercise," I tell him.  I grab an unused cart because the grocery division has chicken leg quarters ( dog food) on sale. When I get to the the meat section, Jorge says, " Did you see all those peg hooks in the cart?"   "NO," I reply.  We laugh at the misfortune of some worker who will probably get fired for losing his/her peg hooks. Yes, we're callous.  Target recently fired a worker for helping customers during a break. When I worked for Wal-Mart, I was amazed at the sheer paranoia on a fellow worker's face when I asked him a question as he was walking out the door for home.  Wal-Mart has strict rules about working off the clock.

Looking for peanut butter ( The Week magazine says peanut butter prices will increase because of a poor harvest) I notice coffee is selling for $8 and $ 9 a can.  Even my local Dent and Bent can't keep coffee in stock.I call Dawn on my cell telling her Jorge and I are checking out.  It'll be a few hours before she's done shopping.  Jorge and I will sit in the car oogling midwest gals.  "Piglets in a gunny sack" is one of Jorge's favorite descriptions of farm girl derrieres.

I began this epistle thinking of writing about feral cats and Mountain Man Johann.  Look where I went.  I'm happy I didn't get to the feral cats, because that would elicit lots of controversial remarks like gun control and hunting.  You don't want to know about Mountain Man's latest exploits. I'll get to that later.  

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