Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Blending In

A week ago Sally and I were driving home. We stopped at Sears so I could have my eyeglasses tightened. I didn't plan on doing anything but run up to the second floor, get someone to tighten the glasses--for no charge--and be on my way.

Sally has never gone into a store without looking around. Unlike men, women will look around, window shop. A guy might run into a store, go straight for whatever it is he's looking for, bread, milk, condoms, buy them and rush right out. Women never do that. They dawdle. They do not consider time spent in stores as time off their lives.

So I got my glasses tightened; the whole process took about two minutes from beginning to end. Sally said, "I need to look at mattresses." Look at mattresses we did, but on our way to the mattresses we went through housewares. Her eye was caught by a bright red blender with a brushed steel base. She said, "Oh look! That blender matches our toaster and coffeemaker." Sure enough, it did. But we already have a blender, a very fine blender that works really well. Unfortunately, it is white and doesn't match the other things on the counter, specifically the toaster and coffeemaker. So we ended up paying $30 for a blender to replace an otherwise working blender. We didn't buy the mattress, thank god, but that trip to have my eyeglasses tightened for free ended up costing me $30. Somewhere in some retail afterlife Mr. Sears and Mr. Roebuck slapped a high five.


Yesterday I arrived at one of the high schools on my route only to find a FedEx Ground truck in my usual spot. I pulled around him and parked and as I walked around FedEx the driver, a young guy in his twenties, called me over. "Can you help me? I've rolled my ankle and I've got this load to take into the school. I'm having a helluva time." Well, despite my usual inclination to avert my eyes and run fast to avoid having to help someone--and I hope you know that's a joke, heh-heh--I pitched in. The driver had a big ice bag strapped to his ankle and he was hobbling. The load he had was three boxes of unassembled furniture, each weighing about 100 pounds. I'm aware that FedEx and UPS drivers can have packages weighing up to 150 pounds.

I helped him get the load on his cart and was talking with him as we pulled it toward the school door. I figured I was roughly 35 years older than him. I told him when I got my job the job description said, "Able to lift 100 pounds." I said in all my 30+ years with the school district I've never had to lift anything close to 100 pounds, and even if I'd been able to do it when I signed on at age 29, I know I couldn't do it now. He looked at me and said, "Well, hey, you look in great shape for a guy your age."

At that my head got so big I couldn't get it through the door, so I called the school office on my cell phone and told them to send a custodian to help this fine, hard-working, astute, intelligent, observant but injured young man at their front door.

Ciao for now.

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