And then there's this guy in produce, a short little hunter-looking fellow, you know the kind, a male who has let every single follicle on his neck, face and chin produce hair. I suppose it's more honest than all those carefully coiffured goatees that seem so popular these days especially among bald guys. What's that all about? Isn't shaving enough work already? And bald is sexy, especially if there is a fit, tight body underneath. But, I digress. I must have been wearing my Martha Stewart expression - the one with pursed lips - because he asks me when should he put carrots into a slow cooker that is cooking a roast. I swirl around and start firing questions, what temperature are you cooking this, what kind of carrots, how many hours for the total cooking time. He backs away from me and looks, well, like a deer in the headlights. Some people put them in with the meat but they get mushy and take on the color of the gravy, I begin. Put'em in for one hour at the end and I give him my best helpful old lady smile. I almost add, women just love a man who cooks, but again, I am leaning towards overkill and he's probably just making this for himself and his dog.
No one else seems to need assistance so I can now exit the store. I go through the check-out hoisting up my frozen spinach, rotisserie chickens, Alfredo sauce. The bagger lady says "Ooh, Irish coffee!" as she bags my Kessler's and coffee. Leave it to the Irish to come up with a drink that results in a waste of good whiskey, but for once I check my tongue. Every other surname in this town is Kelly or Sullivan or O'Keefe. In the parking lot I swipe at a bug near my ear with the hand holding my keys and this means five pounds of medal whacking up the side of my head. I seem intent on injuring myself these last couple of months.
I call Big Dave and see if he would join me on the floodwall for a birthday walk, his, not mine. Yesterday was Susan's and she says to me on the phone last night, "I can't believe I am 64
@*$#ing years old!" That's what you get for having friends all younger than you, I tell her, no sympathy.
Dave is 62 today and he should be retired and collecting some of that Social Security stuff. Dave has been employed for 37 years ago in the same place and ten years ago the company presented a huge retirement offer that all of his friends latched onto hungrily. But Dave did not get his job right after high school like his co-workers. Instead he went to college and then Viet Nam so he did not have the required amount of accumulated work years to qualify for the plan. Now all of his buddies are gone and they have been replaced by snotty-nosed college grads that stick around long enough to include the company logo on their resumes. Dave is in a continuing merry-go-round of stress and change, corporate decisions made one week only to be reversed the following week. Dave has steadfastly refused to leave this crazy place. He wants more money even though he has a wife who is a very cheap date. I get my hair cut at Cost Cutters, wear no makeup except for bright lipstick (okay, it's Estee Lauder,) and wear my son's old t-shirts. Dave's blood pressure is scary along with his frame of mind, and consequently, my frame of mind.
Happy birthday, sweetheart. In the next year I wish you more silliness, less worry about money and fewer dermatology appointments. Oh drat, I wish that for all of us.