So I’m walking home from the Day Job tonight after closing, with the cell-thingy in my ear. You know; the Little Doohickey (that’s a technical term, I swear). The “handsfree” over-the-ear-hide-in-my-hair-and-no-one-can-see-it-so-the-whole-city-thinks-I’m-wicked-weird-headset thing (Downtown Dennis calls me “Suzanne” for Ye Local Lurkers’ information).
The thing the cat is wearing…
This guy is chatting away in my ear, and I’m practicing ventriliquism in a vain effort to get people to stop staring at me. The “back away slowly” part is kind of cool, though. I hope they keep doing that.
It had rained buckets (it sounded like the rain was still in the buckets from inside the mall) earlier, and Louie had pressed his little stubby “man-like” umbrella into my hands. I was worried that I’d forget it at home tomorrow and was telling Guy-in-my-Ear that I would probably be alright without it, and besides, it’s an expensive umbrella and obviously never yet used, because Louie probably just carries it back and forth from the car, when Louie (who thinks I’m talking to myself) tells me to take it, take it, I gotta car, take it (Louie scared the b’jeezuz out of me when he spoke, because I didn’t see him over the stacks of product shipped today. I’m going to get him one of those flags with the long whip-antenna extension poles that they weld to shopping carts so that the cart-boys can find the strays in the parking lot).
So, I took the stubby man-brelly with me, and yes, I’ll probably forget it, because no, I didn’t need it.
But I did need margarine. Guy-in-My-Ear said so. So I told him to shut up while I went into the Canadian Tire Gas-Bar. He didn’t shut up. He started telling me all the reasons that the Canadian Tire Gas-Bar doesn’t sell margarine.
I practically yelled, “I need cigarettes!”, and a big burly trucker-looking fellow on his way from the pumps stopped dead in his tracks, looked over his shoulder, looked back at me, and grinned. I withered him right where he stood.
Have you ever been in the Canadian Tire Gas-Bar in Sault Ste. Marie? It’s small. It’s about the size of the CityTransit Bus Shelters. And it’s got two aisles! You don’t have to speak above a whisper to have everybody in the “shelter-mart” hear every word (That’s why they don’t sell condoms – actually, they probably offer condoms, but I’ll bet nobody buys them).
When you are wearing a Doohickey in your ear, you speak approximately as loudly as that 11-year-old with the iPod turned up too loud.
The second he heard the little silver bells crashing against the door to the shelter-mart, Guy-in-My-Ear started up again.
“Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
I know why he does this. He does it because on one Walk-About, we went one-after-another into every pawnshop and used-goods and bookstore in Sault Ste. Marie, which are generally small enough that the proprietor can hear our conversation, and as we entered each store, I gripped his wrist tightly and said very slowly, “Now remember! We look with our eyes, not with our hands!”, and all the shopkeepers followed him around and tried to lead him to the toys. Then they wouldn’t let him play with them. He fell for this in every single store, and so did the shopkeepers (someday I’m going to do that in Wendy’s China Cabinet, just to see what they do).
He’s been trying to pay me back ever since, and I think he did it tonight.
Anyway, he wouldn’t be quiet the whole time I was in the shelter-mart, and there was a line-up of at least seven burly trucker-like men in there, taking up one whole aisle, and I bee-lined for the magazine racks and pretended to browse.
I whispered to Guy-in-My-Ear: “Where would the margarine be?”
He replied,”La-la-la-la-LA! La-la-la-la-LA!”
I got a little pissy, and said (think 11-year-old wearing iPod), “Where is it, already?!”, and heard the scraping of seven pairs of steel-toed boots on concrete as the line at the till turned toward me. As I lifted my head, I noticed that I’d been “browsing” in front of the porno rack for 3 and a half minutes of “la-la-la”, and, mortified, I tried to crawl under the coffee station.
Finally, I thought “Screw it, since they already think I’m nuts”, and marched boldly up the second aisle and interrupted the sale of Guy #1.
“Do you sell margarine?”
Seven grown men took a step back, in unison.
The nervous teenaged salesgirl poked her finger toward the fridge beside my head, and I turned my head a fraction of an inch to find about 8 dozen containers of it. Guy-in-My-Ear asked what brand they had, and I forgot where I was again, and answered, “Hmmmm…. Parkay®…!” with a fairly representable “dirty-french-laugh” accent, and two of the guys in line stepped forward again.
To make an already too long story slightly shorter, let me just say that Guy-in-My-Ear kept saying things like, “Lift the lid a little and say ‘Parkay®!’ in an evil little troll voice,” and even weirder things, and I couldn’t understand that the nervous teenaged salesgirl was telling me, “No, don’t swipe the card! Push the buttons, now!”
I finally got out with my margarine and was half-way home when the cell died in my ear, and the La-la-la’s stopped. That’s when I realized I had forgotten to buy cigarettes.
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Eastbourne Ladies” – Kevin Coyne