Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Before , After and Now

At the front end of the grocery store the bubbly cashier asks, "Did you find everything."  I know better than to ask where they keep thus and such because she'll never know.  I'll get the blank stare.  If she asks for help from one of the front end supervisors, it will be Phyllis, a middle aged woman who walks with stoop and shuffling gait. Phyllis does nothing but shuffle-back and forth between the cashiers. That and a saunter to the break room is the sum total of her experience of the store.  Ask for phyllo dough and the response is, " Fee-Lo dough? What's that?"

I didn't see Marion in any of the lanes.My first encounter with Marion, a former schoolteacher and 16 year veteran of retail groceries is her comment about the out-of-season tomatoes I am purchasing.  "Two thirty four a pound is pretty steep for cardboard tomatoes," she proclaims.  I'm astonished at her frankness. Marion and I banter, a lot.  "Howyre doin' ?" I ask.  "Well, OK, I guess," she says. "OK is better than the alternate," I declare. "At least you're not dead." Hardly stimulating conversation but better than bubbly. I hate bubbly. 

Her face has a reddish tinge.The color of her nose would qualify her to lead  Santa's sleigh It's an unusual medical condition, but not roseacea.She dyes her hair a shade below blond with a tinge of auburn.  She's  anywhere between 50 and 75 years old.  Marion is a pip.I like pips. In a store I'll always choose the cashier in the lane immediately to the right of the prettiest cashier. It's my proven system to get out of the store quickly, except if I choose a pip lane.  Then, I'll forget to take all my groceries because of the banter. 

On this day, Dawn is behind me, which tempers Marion's wit, somewhat.  Dawn doesn't understand Marion's reference to getting laundry done in Lacrosse. From previous conversations, I know that Marion drives to the big city to clean her grandson's place and wash his clothes.  Later when I explain to Dawn she asks, "Where's his mother?"  I answer with two statements. "He's twenty years old. He may be paralyzed and in a wheelchair?" I know the next question from Dawn.  "You didn't ask?" she wonders.  I do not like to pry into people's lives.  Most of the time I just don't care.

The above photo is the start of today's weather. White flashes appearing on the right are thick, heavy snowflakes.  The kind that down power lines and break off tree limbs.
The preceding picture was taken after breakfast.  I know I was going somewhere with this train of thought, but a phone call from Mountain Man Johann interrupts my creative genius, derailing the train.  The road from Johann's cabin to the main road is a  muddy half mile, two track path, deep with ruts, like roads at the turn of the century.  A friend's grandfather once explained that tires on the old model T wore out quicker on the sides than on the tread bottom.  Johann's road lies on the edge of a cornfield, unpaved, without any gravel. He likes it that way.  Says, it keeps the Riff-Raff away. He's not going anywhere today, except by phone call. I'm first on his list.

Presently cars on the highway pass by very slowly because of the wet slush.  A single county truck spreads something on the highway.  I can't tell if it's salt or liquid calcium carbonate. The phone rings again.  Jorge wants to know the weather conditions in our area. He's going to drive to Door County from Milwaukee.  I tell him about the snow and slush,warning him to drive carefully.  I don't envy his drive across the upper half of the state. His information about upcoming weather is that we may see sixty degrees in a few days.

I call a friend in Arizona. His birthday is today.  I want to tease him about joining the "Over The Hill Gang."   His wife answers the phone. She drives daily between Sedona and Flagstaff.  Yesterday she didn't have to work because interstate highway 17 between Sedona and Flag is closed.  Snow.  Harvey isn't home.  He's in Colorado.  He doesn't own a cell phone, she tells me. When he retired, he tossed the cell phone.  He's not a recluse, however,a cell phone to him is like wearing a watch in my opinion..  I don't want a time monkey on my arm.  I'd ditch the cell phone monkey in my pocket, but then I'd not be able to call Dawn for free and tell her to bring home bananas.  Most people I know will run to answer a phone.  It's Pavlovian. Not me.  When I was single and carefree looking for trouble in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, a local mon demonstrated another truism.  "Watch this," he says.  He curls his index finger in a waggling motion.  There's a young woman in the near distance.  She see the gesture and begins to saunter over.  "It happens 100% of the time, here," he proclaims.  I decide that the next time I'm in Wal-Mart I'll try the gesture on various strange women.  I don't mean weird women, just ones who are unknown to me.  I'll give you a full report. Later. I may need bail money. With Wisconsin 's new concealed carry law and a recent amendment that decreases the length of instruction and training  in use of a weapon, I could be looking down the barrel of a Glock.  These mid-western ladies have lots of room for hiding  a pistol. 


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm not so sure the finger curl used to call women to your side is such a great idea, either. My initial tendency would be to break said finger. What's wrong with "Yoohoo!" or "Miss!" Or just walk up to the woman and have a conversation? Oh, you know how I feel about that, Gavrillo. :-)

okjimm said...

Dude...we gotz the same snow... and am I bummed! It is too soon, and it lasts too long. I used to enjoy xcountry skiing...but the ankles are shot.

Personally, if Scott Walker wants to help the wisco budget... he should outlaw snow except between 12/21 and 2/1. Think of all the Money we could save!!!

Gavrillo said...

SDS, See my post today about about tonal qualities of the written word in short posts and e-mail.

I was stunned at the blatant sexism in Jamaica. For example, I'd met a woman there and a Jamaican man asked me, "Do you control her?" Not understanding Jamaican patois, I asked for a translation. He said it means, "Are you going out with her." I don't use the finger curl with Dawn. Being a kick boxing ex-champion, she could kill me with her thumb and forefinger. I've learned that whistling gets her attention because it pisses her off. It's the only way she'll listen to me.

okjimm. "ditto on the snow" except the 2/1 end date. 12/21-12/25 would suit me. When the new owner of the cornfield put up a barrel at the end of our road on his property with a no this, that and everything sign it reminded me that only snowmobilers get to trespass. Cross country skiers don't travel from bar to bar, so's they have no clout.