Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The saga of Elderly Biker Dude

Two days ago whilst I was running around filling out applications (?!?) and leaving résumés all over West Knoxville, I had to stop at Walmart for a couple of minor things. I wish it had been a smaller store, but beggars can't be choosers. I needed bobby pins to get my long hair off my neck. It was hot, dang it.

Anyhoozle. I got bobby pins and some concealer and powder, and I got in line at the 20 Items Or Less cash register. I could have gone the "self check out" route, but those lines were all backed up.

Unfortunately, I was behind the unhappiest man in Walmart.

He was an older gentleman, dressed like a biker in leather jeans and a sleeveless jersey shirt that showed off his misshapen, drooping tattoos. He even had a kerchief tied around his forehead and tangled up in his long, stringy, white hair. He wore more jewelry than is entirely seemly. Somehow. For a fellow his age, I mean.

Anyway, Elderly Biker Dude was writing a check for $9 and some-odd cents. He was unhappy about that. He didn't want to write a check. But wrote it he did, and he signed it and handed it over to the cashier.

This was when Elderly Biker Dude came face-to-face with the 21st century. It had apparently escaped making his acquaintance earlier.

Woe be unto all of us.

The cashier, who was about Elderly Biker Dude's age, but dressed far more conservatively, was calm, cool, and detachedly professional throughout the remainder of the transaction. (And I use the word "transaction" here loosely. It was really more of a drama in three acts. But generally, the theatre of the cash register tends to consist mostly of purchasing transactions. But not this time. Oh, no.)

The cashier asked Elderly Biker Dude for some ID, most specifically, his driver's license. Elderly Biker Dude was not prepared for this request, and he exclaimed, "This is for some shit!"

Personally, I don't think I've ever heard that particular sentiment expressed in quite that arrangement of words and expletives, so it struck me. It was going to strike me a few more times.

The cashier explained that the computer would not approve the check without the entry of a driver's license number in the works.

Elderly Biker Dude exclaimed, "You already have my signed check! What else do you need?"

The cashier said, "Well, sir, to begin with, I need to see your driver's license and enter the number into the computer."

Elderly Biker Dude finally dragged out his wallet and thumbed out his driver's license, the entire time grumbling that he had already signed the check.

The cashier took the license and put it into the computer. Then he asked the Elderly Biker Dude for his phone number.

"No!" groused the biker. "You already have my license number and a signed check! You cain't have my phone number! This is for some shit!"

Again. "For some shit"? Seriously?

The cashier said yes, he needed the phone number if the transaction were going to be completed.

Elderly Biker Dude again said no, the cashier could not have his number. And he added, "For a nine dollar check! This is for some shit!"

Finally the cashier talked him out of the phone number, and he ran the check through the cash register again.

Now, anyone who is still writing checks -- and yes, I am one of you -- knows that Walmart no longer deals with paper checks any more. They run that thing through the magical computer and hand the check back to you. It's all done electronically, whether you want it to be done that way or not.

And then....

Well, you know.

The cashier told Elderly Biker Dude to please sign the keypad to his right.

Guess what the biker said. C'mon, guess. No! He did not say that! He squawked incredulously, "What?"

The cashier repeated himself, and I stood there thinking that maybe the biker would be happier if he weren't wearing leather pants in July. Seriously. Leather? Come on. He had to be cooking his nibblets in those things. No wonder he was so unhappy.

Well, when Elderly Biker Dude found out that all this check-writing was going to end up with him getting his check back and having to sign the little electronic keypad, he came un-f***ing-glued. "THIS is for SOME SHIT! You already have the check! WITH MY SIGNATURE! All this for nine dollars! I hope this is worth it! FOR SOME SHIT!"

I really kind of thought about telling him to chill out. I thought about laughing at him snottily. (Yeah, the snotty laugh. It's a weapon I reserve for special occasions. It's pretty scathing.) I also wondered if I was safe or if Elderly Biker Dude was going to pull out Elderly Rusty Switchblade and go crazy right there in line.

Instead, he grabbed the stylus so viciously that the cashier and I both cringed, waiting for the plastic strap to snap. It didn't. Elderly Biker Dude signed the keypad, got his receipt, gathered his nine dollars' worth of crap, and stomped out into the parking lot, grumbling the whole way.

I stepped up to the cashier and smiled sunnily. "Hi!" I said, "I'm not NEARLY as unhappy as THAT GUY was."

And the cashier laughed, and I laughed, and I made my purchase without damaging anything or anyone.

Today while I was discussing the cost of modems with the Charter Media representative who wanted to charge me for a modem that belonged to them and did less than the modem that I now have, I exclaimed, "Wow! This is quite a lot of rigamarole, isn't it?" And while the girl tried to explain to me that the cost for services was really straightforward versus the cost for material parts, part of me realized, "I could have said 'this is for some shit,' and I would be making as much sense as that guy at Walmart the other day."

Yes, she could have explained it better. And yes, I could have been more patient. I'll try again some other day.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Paper keeps me sane

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Club Scrap?


Well, let me take a minute to rhapsodize.

The last year of Club Scrap's offerings have been incredible and amazing.

I have ordered second kits of three different months in the last year. And it would be four, except I am poor and I can't justify an order of a second kit of this month's Memoirs collection.

(The kits I've ordered double helpings of were Cruisin', Cyprus, and Pure & Simple. Just in case you were wondering.)

Last month, although I couldn't order a second whole kit, I did order a second batch of fibers and a whole, fresh bead cup for the glorious Concrete Jungle. I know that I will use that kit up someday. I only wish I were rich this year. So I could order more paper and stuff.

Then this month's amazing Memoirs kit arrived. And somehow, I realized that my scrapbooking efforts were being paid off.

It's like a big slice of watermelon -- all pinky red and green, with a bunch of sweet other things mixed in for flavor. I can't be clearer; my head is clouded from the love in my heart!

The project this month was a journaling swatch book -- there are six pages of questions to prompt one's journaling/writing efforts, and then six pages of space in which to write the answers to the questions. All the while, these pages are encased in a handmade swatch book with hardware, decorated to the artist's own tastes and inclinations.

How can anyone resist this kind of glorious stuff?!?

Not I.

So while I languish in no-fireworks-for-Independence-Day land, at least I still have the world's most decadent and fabulous paper supplies with which to play. Thank you, Club Scrap. Thank you for spoiling me when I least expect it and most need it!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Stuff I should tell Amy

I was going to post about hummingbirds or broken air conditioners, but c'mon -- I've done that too much over the lifetime of this blog.

Instead, let me tell you a story that I keep forgetting to tell Amy.

I went to a store to return a skirt.

That afternoon, I had already purchased one small (but bigger, fancier, and quieter) window air conditioning unit to replace the small window unit that died that morning in my living room.

And the afternoon before that, I had traded in old, unwanted DVD's for fresh, used DVD's. And I got some necessary things (like khakis and foundation garments) at Kohl's. In fact, I even went to a favorite chain restaurant and had the world's best salad. (Bonefish Grill's house salad has sublime citrus herb dressing and a perfect little half-cylinder of heart of palm. Delicious!!!)

In any case, I was feeling smug and well-organized, so I took a skirt with a receipt back to a store for a cash refund. I had read all the rules on the receipt and was prepared to buy a well-deserved cup of iced chai with the proceeds.

Wesley and I got in line at the service counter, with our bag of skirt and receipt. There were two customers in front of us and one customer behind us. I stood there chatting with Wesley and the girl in line behind us for a few minutes.

Then a cashier from another line came and said to us, "I can help a customer over here, if you like."

Darn it! I believed him. Foolish, foolish me! I stepped out of line with my bag -- and my husband -- and then I heard the security guard behind me telling the inviting cashier, "These are returns. You can't handle that."


I turned around, with Wesley hard on my heels, and I got in at the end of the line.

Fortunately, that really nice girl [previously] behind me said, "Naw, nothing gained, nothing lost. You go ahead and get back in front of me."

What a nice girl!!!! And they say chivalry is dead. HA, I say! HA!!!!

So I got back in line, thanking the girl behind me, and I continued waiting. While I was waiting, I couldn't help craning my neck around so I could see new merchandise that had come in while I was trying on poorly fitting skirts at home. I told Wesley this store was like a siren call, and I wanted to shop. The girl behind me agreed. Wesley disagreed and told me to keep my eye on the prize. I said my eye WAS on the prize and the prize said "Liz Claiborne remaindered 85% off retail." And Wesley had the gall to tell me that those clothes were not my size; those clothes were size 4's. I couldn't see sizes from our spot in line at the service counter, but I had to assume that he was right. I mean, after all, I couldn't return a skirt, buy a cup of iced chai, AND get a remaindered Liz Claiborne blouse, could I? Or could I?

I looked up at the service counter cashier, who was still checking out a girl in front of me who was buying roughly $800 worth of toddler jeans. She had flat blonde hair and a nose ring. And she was wearing a pretty black and white sleeveless tunic top with a black fabric flower on the right lapel.

At least. It looked like a pretty tunic with a fabric flower. At a profile, it was a completely acceptable and even pretty and fashionable outfit. Black. With white. And a black flower.

Then she turned and folded some toddler pants for the customer, and I was facing her head on.

That's when I discovered the depths and breadths of that cashier's cleavage.


It was HUGE.

It was JIGGLY.

And it was right there, at the top of the scoop neck of that seemingly innocuous black-and-white sleeveless tunic top, jiggling just above the line, and almost ready to spill over into the real world of returned skirts, remaindered Liz Claiborne blouses, torn scarves, and designer toddler jeans.

I mean, I had to keep myself from gasping out loud. I was so alarmed and so sure she was about to spill out of her top, I had to hold my breath and turn away from the disaster that was sure to follow.

I turned... and I met Wesley's eyes.

I widened my eyes.

I tried not to speak aloud of the impending disaster there at the service counter cash register.

Wesley knew in the space of a millisecond what was causing me to turn red and not speak aloud.

He also did not look at the cleavage nor speak aloud of impending doom. But he furthermore had to subdue his laughter, which was darned close to exploding now that I finally knew what was going inside that tunic. And doubtless, that gal's bra. Which had to been about breach at any moment, anyway.

Oh, the restraint we showed! We discussed cutting boards and shoes! We talked about iced chai and double shots of espresso! We even managed to ask, "Do we need to go to the pet store and get Doris some doggie biscuits?" Oh, no! No, we do not! We need to get through this line without seeing some serious boob spillage, that's what we needed to experience!!!!!

I honestly cannot tell you how the exchange of the rejected skirt for cash went. I was trying not to look anyone in the eye or in the cleavage the whole time, which made it really hard to concentrate on the business at hand. To be honest, I do not know if the cashier gave me all my money back. I am not sure I even care. I'm just glad I wasn't there when those things made a break for freedom.

See, I don't see things like that often. Was it on purpose? Did she mean to frighten everyone with a half-mile radius of her burgeoning cleavage? Or was it by accident? I mean, honestly, at a profile, that top was perfectly acceptable and modest. It was only when you faced her that it became an exercise in desperately searching for something else to see.