I seem to always be looking for the deeper meaning, the relevance, of events in my life. I cannot even begin to tell you how many long discussions (and requisite beers) I have had with Federal Employee With Goats over this topic. And now that I’m writing this blog, I find myself reflecting on things that happen in my life and trying to see what the “deeper meaning” is behind them. But, this one has me stumped.
Some stories begin with an end, and this is one. The end was our work for the day on the bathroom. (It’s almost ready for me to show you an updated picture.) You might not think that installing wainscoating would take all afternoon, but then you would not have tried to do any work on a house built in 1924. Nothing is level, corners do not meet at consistent angles. You know the addage, “measure twice, cut once”? For us it’s “measure twice — wait, is that right? measure it again — cut — wait! that’s not right– look at this! measure again, cut once.
So we finally got the wainscoating and trim up on the longest wall, and it was time to finish for the day. That was when I went to the kitchen and realized that we never did make it to the grocery store this weekend, and there was no milk for my coffee or cereal in the morning. Heck, there was no coffee or cereal. So Unnamed Partner and I drew up a small list of essentials for the next 48 hours and I set off for the store up the street while she folded laundry — which also somehow never got done this weekend.
Before I go further, let me just tell you how lovely I must have looked. I had not taken a shower all day. I had remnants of Liquid Nails on my hands. I was wearing my old faded green cargo pants — the ones complete with some bleach spots on one leg, a sweatshirt, my sneakers that I wear when mowing the lawn, and needless to say not a drop of mascara or a piece of jewlery. I think I might have smelled a little sweaty, too.
So imagine my suprise when I was standing in front of the red peppers, trying to find a smallish one, and a woman’s voice from right behind me cheerily says “Wow! Look at those red peppers! I think I need to get some of those!” From the tone of her voice, I thought it must be someone I know, but turning my head I saw that I had no idea who this woman was. Maybe she’s a friend of Unnamed Partner? No, I don’t think so. I’m racking my brain, because she continues chatting me up about the peppers. She must be a friend of a friend. Clearly she’s lesbian. It doesn’t take much radar to catch this one. It’s like she dropped out of a 1980’s Chris Williamson concert: bi-level hair with a tail in back, tank top, and what you may call a “fanny pack” but is also known as a “d-bag.”
Well, I try to be polite to people, so I grabbed a pepper, and eased away to the yellow onions. But then she was behind me again, this time saying “Yellow onions! I need white onions. White onions are much better. Much sweeter. Sure yellow are good for soups and stews, but white have a better ….”
At this point I’m thinking “why? why is she talking to me?” And so although U.P. has tried many times to teach me the art of picking out good onions, I just picked up a random one and tossed it in my basket so I could move along. But lo and behold, there she is holding up a white onion and saying to me “This is a nice one. Do you want this one?”
As I said, I try to be polite, so I thought a subtle hint that I’m not interested would do. I had my list in my hand, so I kind of waved it a little and said “No, I’m under strick instructions to get a yellow onion, so that’s what I need to get.” See, I thought she would pick up on the fact that I’m “not looking” thank you very much. Off the market, as they say.
Silly me. She says, “Oh, what — Mom or something?”
At this point, I said nothing and basically ran to the milk aisle. She almost caught up with me in the cereal aisle, so I really don’t know what kind of cereal bars we ended up with — just whatever I threw in the basket. I darted over to the paper towels, grabbed a pack, and made my way to the self-check out. The entire time I was checking out I kept looking over my shoulder, expecting her to appear and start talking about paper versus plastic.
All morning I’ve been trying to find some relevance in this story, some greater meaning. But you know what? Sometimes a story just really is a story.