Country life: April 2006 Archives

The weirdest encounter I've ever had


Earlier today I had a meeting downtown, the exit of which was rendered exceedingly long by all of the baseball fans leaving the stadium who were NOT RESPONSIBLE PEDESTRIANS. Please, for general sanity, take care to learn the meaning of street signs, the difference between a flashing red hand and flashing block person, how to distinguish a cross walk from regular paved street, and other pedestrian laws before going downtown. For anything. Ever. I waited two minutes at a green light while a woman and her husband stood in front of my bumper and argued about whether or not they should walk out in front of the CAR THEY'VE ALREADY WALKED OUT IN FRONT OF!

Afterwards, I stopped at the Super Wal-Mart - and I did get the letters telling me that by shopping at Wal-Mart I'm endorsing it and wasn't I aware that Wal-Mart hates women, beats puppies, sets fire to orphans and sells the cheap cheese? Yes, but I LOVE those things!

Anyway, I went to the SWM pharmacy to pick up Liam's Zyrtec. Unfolding at the counter was a situation that lies at the top of my pet peeve-I-want-to-scratch-my-eyes-out list: Someone unloading the ENTIRE contents of their cart at the pharmacy to checkout because they're too lazy to walk over to the regular checkout and CHECK OUT. So I'm behind this elderly woman (late 60s? 70s?) who was stylishly, yet eccentrically dressed. First, she wore panty-hose with gold lame open-toed sandals, and I hate both open-toed sandals and panty-hose. Especially together. She wore a beautiful, perfectly coiffed wig, except that her witchy gray hair poked out underneath at the base of her neck.

I gathered that she had bad gas, a rank foot order problem, a yeast infection - any nasty thing you could possibly buy to embarrass yourself with at the checkout this woman had in her cart. And she accompanied each item she unloaded onto the pharmacy desk - much to the chagrin of the ladies behind the counter - with a story on why she needed this or that product.

Like how she noticed how the spaces between her toes smelled weird, so she though she might as well buy some Odor Eaters. I give her props, because Chris' grandma can hardly kneel down; this woman can actually BRING HER FOOT TO HER HEAD. Dude! I stood there totally impressed for a few minutes until she started asking whether or not this particular gas relief medicine would treat her farts' sting and smell.
Then I bit my lip so hard that it began to bleed.

I didn't want to laugh because I love old people and I love any old lady that even remotely resembles Phyllis Diller, and if I wasn't at the SWM I would've SWORN that this was her (if she's still alive. Still alive?). I caught some of the people waiting behind me rolling their eyes, but I assumed that it was because they couldn't be second in line, front row like me to enjoy the show.

Another register opened and I got and paid for my prescription. As I turned to leave, Phyllis touched me on the arm and briskly demanded that I turn around so she could see the front of my outfit. I was wearing a plain brown dressy t-shirt (don't ask), jeans, brown heels and a big chunky Xena Warrior Princess belt. (I have a fascination with ginormous belt buckles.)

"Oh, you look just DARLING," Phyllis said with her flat red lips. "I just love this belt. Tell me, where can I go to get a good scarf? I just love scarves, I'm new here and I need to know where the places are to shop."

"Uh..." I stammered, because Phyllis obviously mistook me for someone of fashion and would laugh her wrinkled arse off if she knew that I exclusively clothes-shopped at Target and Old Navy. I told her such and her eyes dimmed.

"I'm sorry, I've got two kids and the only other places I know of that might suit you are the boutiques in Clayton," I responded.

"Oh, okay," she replied, and then turned around to ask if there was anything on the market better than Beano.

Eau de hookers et hoosiers

Our dishwasher broke down this week and leaked all over and UNDER our wood floors. How will I wash dishes now?! Oh. You mean in the sink? Actually wash them in the sink BY HAND? Not only did the dishwasher break down and spew water over and under the floor - which subsequently leaked through the floor and dripped from the floorboards onto the basement floor, but it was 90 degrees the other day. Muggy, Midwest heat + semi-dry floors = the smell of my hoosier uncle Charlie's body odor. Which smells like mildew. Hoosier body odor smells like mildew.

I tried telling Chris this last night via a text message as he was tracking an album for a client and couldn't be bothered with his wife's dramatic wails about how weird the floor smelled.

"did u call repair guy b4 they closed?" I typed.
I normally don't type things like "U" in place of "you" because I am a grown woman who doesn't wear glitter and I have an unflinching hatred for combining numbers and letters to make some literary chimera, but I was typing on a cell phone which is like trying to fix your hair with your feet. I am not cool enough to possess a cool Treo 650 like some super important cool people.

"Why?" Chris typed back.
I refuse to use "text" as a verb. Just like "conversate" is not a word. Converse! CONVERSE.

"bcuz the floor smells like butt."
This continued annoyingly for the next 10 minutes until I threatened to chuck my phone off the deck if he didn't just CALL ME ALREADY.

"What, did the floor get wet again? It cannot be mildewed."

"Oh, but it is. It smells like butt in here. Nasty, sweaty butt."

"Well, [sigh] can't you call the repair guy?"

"NO. I will not call the repair guy because you are the man. That is your job. In addition to mowing the grass and taking out the trash, you handle all home repairs. That's the deal. I do the rest. We aren't swapping now. Besides, I have no clue what to tell the dude."

"Fine, but it cannot smell that bad."

"You're not here."

"It can't smell any worse than all the candles you've got going on in there."

"It smells so bad you'll actually want me to buy MORE vanilla candles."

"I doubt it. It smells too vanilla-y in there, too perfumy. It smells like a bunch of hookers. The stuff you use to wash our clothes, our sheets, our bed smells like a hooker bed."

"Since when is the smell of vanilla and fresh baked cookies associated with hookers?"

A few more than three teeth

It's time for Chris to mow our lawn. I can tell this when the grass starts peeking wildly around the sidewalk and garden pavers in an unwelcome manner, like rogue untrimmings peeking out from behind a bathing suit. All of our neighbors saw this and made a concerted effort to manicure their lawns so now our lawn looks like hillbillies live here. Which wouldn't be entirely untrue, given my lineage.

It seems like we're in a constant battle with our neighbors to see who can mow their lawn the most; we're also covertly fighting over property lines by always mowing a weensy bit over onto the other person's property. One of our neighbors always mowed five feet over onto our property until I put a ghastly flowerbed in the middle of his path, which made him stop. Maybe it's all in my head, but I doubt it.

Our excuse for our pitiable yard is that Chris and I've been incredibly busy: Chris has spent most of his afternoons at city hall preparing for this morning, where his company was finally awarded special TIFF funds to help with the residential portion of Shock City's studio project; I've got things coming up next month, including a trip to the east coast which I'll go into later, that I've been preparing for these past several months.

Despite this, I was ahead of the yard game last weekend; I listened to Snow Patrol (whom Chris and Doug saw at SXSW, rendering me infinitely jealous) while separating my lilies and weeding out the beds. I was trying to separate my red hot pokers - which if you've never seen one they resemble giant phalluses - if separate means to PSYCHOTICALLY STAB WITH A SPADE. It was like trying to divide a cabbage the size of a pig's head. I tried to leverage it out with a shovel and ended up flinging my stick frame off the top of the three-foot high flower bed wall, straight to the ground, where I landed on my butt.

Three Teeth wandered over with his requisite can of beer and told me how he was in the doghouse because his ol' lady had done seen him giving his friend's bikini-topped girlfriend a ride on his new motorcycle. He then told me that he finally found and read my website and that he wants it known that he has a couple more than three teeth and proceeded to demonstrate their virility by using them to pop open his beer can. I asked him since when do rednecks read blogs written by SAHMs and he countered with a jab at my music.

"I can't stand this fruity your-o-peein' music" he said, motioning to the CD player, when lo, I put on some AC/DC and Three Teeth was happy. "Well, I'm glad to hear that some good, old-fashioned rock'n'roll still's getting' played."

I bet she says "warsh," too


My friend Elle straight freaked my bid'ness out the other day when she sent me an e-mail titled: "A friend from the Ozarks - FOUND!"

I was all, "What on earth?" She went on to say that she spoke to her friend Amy not long ago, whom she told about my site. Amy became a regular reader and thought she recognized me.

"She recently called me and told me that she used to live in the Ozarks and you seemed familiar - you used to play on your 4 wheeler together as kids! When I told her your maiden name - Eaton she was like 'Oh My!'"

My jaw hit the floor.

As a little girl, I spent my summers in Mill Spring, Missouri, just south of Piedmont (Piedmont was on the news a few years back because they got a stoplight, their ONLY stoplight). Mill Spring is a weensy little town by Black River. My father's parents owned a tavern there - not a bar mind you, or a even the more classy "pub," I mean an alcohol-soaked gin hole where you could only enter if you wore a gratuitous mullet and/or rolled a pack of cigarettes in your t-shirt sleeve. I spent a good part of my youth learning how to play billiards from Hell's Angels and playing Bob Seger on the jukebox. I never saw anything more inappropriate in the tavern than what I would see at my typical family holiday gatherings, thus it didn't really affect me. The place was situated directly across the street from the mini-mart and had a full view of the town from its huge plate glass window. I was perched there the morning the Coke trucks came by to deliver the first shipment of their then-new product, Cherry Coke, to the town citizens, all of whom had assembled outside the mini-mart's entrance. It was like Christmas in June. Everyone knew/was related to everyone. I used to drive my three wheeler to the nearby spring, sit on its banks, and snack on watercress. Those were the happiest times - the only happy times - that I ever spent with my father's family and remain some of the happiest of my entire childhood.

Behind the tavern was a quiet, idyllic country street with tidy little houses. One of them belonged to Amy and her family. She and I played together all summer long, rode my miniature three-wheeler around the tavern's gravel parking lot, and watched A LOT of "Adam's Family" reruns. I remember that she had long hair and her little brother, Andy, had blonde hair which sort of shrieked out from the top of his head like a pineapple stalk. They were so incredibly nice and were my only friends in Mill Spring. When they moved I was really sad and I thought, "Well, I'll never see them again." They disappeared somewhere in St. Louis and never returned. (Down in the kuntry people call any land north of Farmington "The City." I was told that Amy and her family had "done moved to the city." The town in which I currently live, a little over 3,000 people, is called "The City." When kuntry folk actually do go to downtown St. Louis they are overtaken by a strange phenomenon which renders them completely nervous; incapable of driving, reading maps or using escalators. I am not joking.)
In time I left too. My grandparents left town and sold the tavern, which burned to the ground several years later, and my relationship with my father deteriorated into nothing. I had no reason to ever return to Mill Spring in person or in my mind.

That brings us twenty years into the future, to present-day, and my receipt of Elle's e-mail. I'm excitable by nature, so I immediately began to freak out and only gave a minor consideration to the possibility that Elle was on crack and that this was not THAT Amy. Oh, but Elle knows everyone on God's green earth (she knew Chris and I before we knew each other) including THAT Amy. So after several e-mails brimming with more exclamation periods than I have ever used in my life, I finally spoke to THAT Amy last Thursday and on the phone yesterday afternoon. Since my jaw was already on the floor I had to resort to filling my pants when I found out that she lived in the same county.

Out of all the awesome people I've met and cool things that have happened as a direct result of this website, this has to be one of the tops.

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