The Trader Joe´s near me has tyke-sized metal grocery carts for toddlers to push, painted in the same signature red as the regular ones. They´re really cute. The last time I was at the store they were down to one cart. According to the manager, parents are stealing them. They leave with their groceries and their kids and chuck the carts into the back of their SUVs. I´m sure if you asked those parents they would tell you they are not stealing. Hey, they bought groceries, didn´t they? They earned those carts! They (and their children) deserve them! Little metal carts for their kids are just another perk, like the free coffee.
The manager says the folks in regional management keep bugging him; this is not a problem they´re having across the country. You wouldn´t expect this in such an affluent area, would you? He´s worried they think he´s selling them on eBay or something. I told him I´d be happy to write a letter attesting to the sense of entitlement, the self-righteous greed of many of the people who live here.
I grew up in D.C., and there are things I love about this area. The museums (free!) are astonishing. Much of the area is beautiful, if you can learn to take the heat in the summer. We have lakes and rivers and miles of trails. But sometimes I want to kill five people a day. Starting with the guy behind me at the bank making impatient noises at the elderly man at the counter who is putting his money away too slowly. Next: the woman who groused at me because I was talking to the clerk while bagging my groceries at TJ´s, thus speeding up the process considerably. (You can bet she doesn´t bag). “Some of us are in a hurry!” she exclaimed to me. I didn´t say anything, I just looked at her. And if I ever look at you that way, you´ll move your toned little tennis-togs-clad body back away from me pretty quickly, just like she did, on the off chance I am infected with something nasty that I can transmit just by looking at you like that. I lived in
I am so sick of bicyclists I can´t tell you. I followed a man, very patiently, for several blocks down a road that is narrow and winding and full of blind curves. I stayed back a respectful distance so he wouldn´t feel like I was crowding him, and we moved along at 15mph. After awhile he pulled over to let me pass (he had room to do so) and when I did he flipped me off. This fascinates me. I am driving a car that weighs, I don’t know, 5000 pounds? Only my thyroid medication, years of therapy and my love for my family is preventing road rage. Another guy yelled at me after he ran the stop sign on his bike (I pulled out in front of him, having, you know … stopped.)
I know – everywhere has rude people. I found the man on the street in
When I was visit my sister-in-law and brother-in-law in their small town, I always have to recalibrate, because people are so nice it catches me off guard. I have to remember: there you say hello to strangers on the street, because not doing so is rude. Children hold the door for you (or risk being smacked upside the head by their elders). I bought cribs for the twins there years ago (cheaper) along with a bunch of other stuff, and they just carried it all to the car for me. Here: talk to a stranger in public and you are psycho. Or a tourist. There: do the same and you are normal.
We lived in
We have family here. There´s a lot of culture here. We have good friends here. We grew up here. I try to remind myself of all of this on a regular basis. This is home. But sometimes I can´t help but wish the people were different.
Okay, let´s end on a more upbeat note. I was up walking the dog at dawn this morning. As I was standing there in the mist holding my cup of coffee, in a contemplative mood, I made a list of five things that make me happy all out of proportion to their size:
1) Buffalo china coffee mugs. Proof that God wants us to drink coffee (or at least has no serious objections). They´re even better if your collection comes used, one at a time, from yard sales and thrift stores.
2) Cool morning dew on my feet.
3) Wild blueberries from
4) Reading on the porch. 98 degrees yesterday? No problem.
5) The smells of summer: Bain de Soleil or Hawaiian Tropic dabbed over my spf60; rain on hot asphalt; tomato plants.
Note on the painting at top: The Big Cheese had my portrait painted by a Burmese artist he likes – that´s me up there. I think it´s a good likeness. I love how angry I look. My eyes are sort of Omen-like. And for those who care and who´ve asked me, why is my husband taking these extended trips to