None of these are really worth posts on their own– well, one, maybe– but I wanna record them, so here you go.
Driving home from dropping the boy off at school one day last week, a bird happens to catch my eye at a traffic light. It’s probably a blackbird, but it’s a bit too far away for me to be sure– crow-shaped, and black, but too small to be a crow unless it’s a juvenile. So, sure. Blackbird. As I’m watching it, it abruptly does a tight 270° turn and heads straight down to the ground, wings out. I think at first that either the bird has been shot and what looked like a turn was actually a tumble or I’ve literally just seen this bird die in midair— which has to happen to birds sometime, right? Surely once in a while a bird just has a stroke or a heart attack or something?
At any rate, it pulls up right before it hits the ground and lands and then I lose track of it. If it had dove down at an angle, I’d not have said anything about it and just assumed it was going after a mouse or something, but 1) it looked way too small to be a bird of prey and 2) I have never seen a bird fly straight down before. It was weird as hell.
I’m at work, and I notice a spider perhaps two feet above my eye level and maybe three feet off to my right. The building I work in has very high ceilings, and my first thought is where the hell is his web attached, because if he’s coming down a string of silk it’s gotta be thirty or forty feet long by now. Then I notice that he’s coming straight toward me, which is not something I’d expect a spider coming down a strand of silk to do. He’s a tiny spider, and I’m not frightened of them, so this provokes fascination rather than oh god kill it fear. As he gets closer, I realize that he’s not attached to anything and he’s not acting like he’s climbing a web– he’s got his legs curled up underneath him, in fact. The damn thing is floating. I even wave my hand above him to check, and the breeze from my hand stirs him a bit but I clearly don’t break any strands of web. I try to film him but he’s too small for the resolution on my phone to handle. I watch him drift onto a sofa and crawl away.
Yesterday, first customer of the day. He waves me off at first, saying he’s only looking, which is just fine. I tell him everything in the store is on sale (which is true, and is useful information, I figure) and that the way our current deal works is “spend more, save more.”
He looks dead at me and says “You mean Jew more, save more?”
It takes me a second to process yeah that’s what the fuck he said.
“No,” I reply, shifting into my Teacher Voice. “I said spend more, save more.” And then I walk away and let my manager know that this fucker will be receiving no help from me whatsoever while he’s in the store and that if he speaks to me again we’re all lucky if the only thing I do is refer him to another salesperson.
The man and his wife circle the sales floor and leave without speaking to or being spoken to by anyone else. I spend the rest of my day with half of my brain proud of me for not losing my job by lighting this fucker up and the other half of my brain ashamed of me for not lighting the fucker up anyway.
I am, much later, trending toward the second option, for the record. How the fuck are you so fucking comfortable with being a bigot that you’ll just say shit like that to random fucking strangers in public? I shoulda thrown his ass out.
My mother-in-law passed away in January. She died of… well, everything. That’s both less disrespectful and closer to the truth than you might believe; my father-in-law is fond of saying she had everything but cancer, and the way he describes it never fails to bring this to mind:
My wife’s family, for reasons that have never been clear to me, does not seem to be overly fond of winter funerals. This is, I think, the third family member of hers who has passed since we were married, all of them in the dead of winter, and each and every one had a spring funeral. There has thus far been no service of any kind, and the first formal acknowledgment of her death is going to be May 20th when her ashes are interred. In, uh, this:
She went to see her dad today, and he showed her this; her ashes are inside of it (presumably inside some sort of urn and not, like, poured out all over the bottom of the thing) at this very moment and in fact were there when the picture was taken, but he’d decided he wanted to inter a few other things with her– among which were a crucifix, which my son took one look at and excitedly declared to be a “trophy.” He, being the eminently practical and utterly unsentimental person that he is, looked around the house and decided that this plastic goddamned cooler was the most size-appropriate object he had for the items he wanted to bury with her. And the decision was made; this was to be her eternal resting place, tradition and propriety be damned.
My wife enquired as to whether the gravediggers knew that they were providing a hole for a cooler and not a (presumably) much smaller urn. He, of course, had already made all of the appropriate arrangements. I guarantee he measured the damn thing and sent them precise metric dimensions. Guarantee it. He’s going to do some work in the next few days to get it glued shut and waterproofed (and judging from the way the man wraps Christmas presents, life on Earth will be extinct before water gets inside this thing) and that’s going to be it.
The great part of all this, of course, is that absolutely no one can argue with me when I insist on burying her father’s ashes inside an empty bottle of Beefeater gin when he dies. He’ll appreciate it.
Just spent some time with one of my oldest friends, as he’s in town for Mother’s Day. I described our evening to my wife thusly:
“His mom just divorced her third husband, his friend and her boyfriend just broke up with their girlfriend, and his former grocer-turned-manwhore has syphilis. He’s fine.”
My life feels kinda boring right now.
This isn’t so much a customer gripe as a WTF moment that could have happened anywhere. I had a pair in last night that appeared for all the world to be a dad and his, oh, I dunno, 10-year-old son. I don’t know for certain that I ever heard the boy call the man “dad,” but they were very clear that they were looking for barstools for the kid’s mother as a Mother’s Day present.
I leave aside the question of whether barstools are a great present for Mother’s Day. It’s perhaps an unorthodox choice. But they were convinced she’d be happy, so whatever. They ended up picking some red stools that were available in several other colors, mostly because red was Mom’s favorite color and were definitely the color she wanted. Okay, cool. $58 each, bropeople, thanks.
An hour or so later, the phone rang. It was Mom. I recognized who she was from her name immediately because their name was one of those hyper-Polish collections of consonants that are thirty letters long and somehow phonetically identical to “Smith” when pronounced.
And then something really weird happened.
“My husband and my…”
two second long, uncertain pause
“…friend were in there earlier, and they bought some bar stools for me?”
Now, I immediately can reconstruct what’s going on if it’s her “…friend” and her son. That’s a somewhat uncertain relationship between two adults. Cool.
But in what world is your relationship to the ten-year-old, a kid who calls you Mom, weird enough that you pause before describing him as a “friend” to the furniture salesman who you have never met on the other side of the phone? Especially when she’s just calling to see if they’re returnable for another color (they were) and you don’t really need to go out of your way to name your relationship to these people in the first place unless you want to?
Creative writing assignment, guys: figure this nonsense out.