Thursday, June 15, 2006

I Thought That I Heard You Laughing

I call Sears. Forty-five rings later.

Guy: Appliances.
Tata: Hi. I bought two air conditioners. When I opened the boxes, one contained an installation kit and the other did not. I called Sears Parts & Repairs's galactic headquarters and they said I should march over and pick up the kit. Do you have one?
Guy: No. Some air conditioners don't come with installation kits.
Tata: I bought two identical air conditioners so I'm supposing that if one required it then the odds are exceptionally good the other needed it too and perhaps at the factory, they were having a bad day with wood screws.
Guy: That would be very unusual.
Tata: I'm agreeing with you in the hope that you'll tell me whom to call next.
Guy: Parts & Service. They're here in the same building but they're like a different universe. They don't even keep the same hours.
Tata: Can you transfer me?
Guy: Oh, hell no. They've got their own phone lines, too!

Forty-five more rings. As Grandma used to say, "Tempis is fugiting!" She was too polite to say, " bastards," but she thought it often.

Guy 2: Parts & Service.
Tata: I bought two identical air conditioners. One box contained an installation kit and the other did not. Can you mail this to me?
Guy 2: Model number?
Tata: Ah, the flaw in my plan! I left this at home.
Guy 2: Give me the model number and I can get this to you in a couple of days.
Tata: And they say true love is hard to find.

Last night, Lupe picked me up. We braved the permatraffic of Route 1 North after rush hour so we passed only two impeccably placed accidents - eventually - to turn around at Woodbridge Center and head south. If you have never traveled this particular stretch of road or met civil engineers, you should watch out for the trickster gods in more conventional forms like wolves and door-to-door Bible salesmen. The intersection of Woodbridge Drive and Route 1 has been reconfigured a handful of times in the last ten years to accommodate unchecked development and oblivious luxury item shoppers. It used to give me great satisfaction to avoid this mall, knowing it was at least for a time the mall in the continental U.S. where you were most likely to return from shopping to find your vehicle had been boosted. We turn onto Route 1 South. Lupe takes three short breaths, turns right and guns it for the invisible strip mall we know is behind the trees. Then, she parks.

We walk up and down the aisles. Neither of us is one of those crazy women with a Shoe Problem. Eyes focused, we make for the running shoes. Lupe picks up white shoes with pink trim.

Lupe: These are cute. Good padding. What do you think?
Tata: I can't wear cupcakes. Do they have New Balance in colors not found in frosting?

Halfway across the room, we find Adidas, New Balance and a brand I've already forgotten in gray. I try them on quickly. The Adidas feel really good. In ten minutes, we found me a pair of running shoes. The purple trim is a bit of a compromise but at least I don't have to beat myself up on the playground.

Lupe tries on pair after pair of black wedge heels because this season sandals are supposed to appear prominently on medical certificates as Cause of Death. In the meantime, everyone within fifty feet hears my running commentary on shoes made of rope. Women pick them up, look at me, then put them back down. Lupe finds a pair of sandals that fit and flatter, finds me a pair of black shoes to kick off under my desk and a pair of what can only be described as cute sandals. I do not have a Shoe Problem! I mean it! Sometimes, however, this leads to putting on something dressy and finding nothing in the closet but combat boots.

Today, Lupe and I both have New Shoes Glee. I have glee! My everyday shoes resemble Paulie Gonzalez's Bruno Maglis, which is amusing by itself, but they also feel cushiony and sort of rounded across the bottom. I walk a few steps, laugh hysterically, then walk some more. Lupe's wedge sandals are just a little higher than she's used to so she caught herself descending a long staircase with both hands on the banister like she was climbing Everest. The whole world is more interesting when one is flush with new physical sensations. From my co-worker Bob Hosh:
As most of you probably know we have umpteen pairs of Barn Swallows nesting at Hageman Farm. There are, in fact, two nests on the beams of the carriage house above where I keep the riding mower parked when not in use. The barn swallows are now into raising their second brood of the season and they get very antsy when I'm moving the mower in or out of the carriage house. They do a lot of frantic flying and swooping toward me, but never really attack me and I tend to talk soothingly to them and they seem to have learned that I intend no harm to them or their nestlings. So yesterday evening when I was completing mowing the last 3rd of the 2 acre lawn I became involved in an adventure with the swallows! As I was mowing the grass around the horse and dairy barns dusk began to fall and the swallows came out to feed; lots of them not just the four from the carriage house, but many more from the lower section of the horse barn. As I chugged along on the Deere suddenly the air around me was filled with beautiful barn swallows on the wing catching the hundreds of insects flying up and escaping the blades of the mower. What a sight it was to to watch the birds approach only a foot or so above ground catching insects and swerving at the last minute to avoid hitting me on the mower! Flitting past me their mouths stuffed with food I could have reached out and touched them easily. They were having a ball and so was I!

Now if I could only develop such a relationship with the resident groundhog!

I had no idea other people had complex relationships with groundhogs but I've bought running shoes for the first time in 26 years. Isn't anything possible?