Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Home depo

When I was younger, time spent with friends looked like this: talking at length on the phone, passing notes in class, fast talking in the hallway in between classes, going to the mall, sleepovers.

As I grew into momhood, time spent with friends looked like this: 30 second catch up conversations, meeting at the playground and conversing while watching the children play, chasing them down, helping them up and on, rarely having eye contact with the friend. There were many days at the park that I didn't realize I was sharing stories with a total stranger.

When I began working full time, the prescription for friend time became any space of time when I could be with a pal and chat. I learned to drag friends to the grocery, send invites for a trip to the PO, and meet friends -in- passing on the stairs. I’ve learned to summarize and question in quicktalk fashion. Hey, whatever works, right? All I can say is things don't slow down when the kids get older, other things slip right in there, like work.

So on this day,a good pal needed to vent, and I invited her to come along with me to the Home Depo store. She agreed.

She pushed the cart and chatted away about the challenges of her day. I walked alongside the cart, holding the list that mapped our shopping route. She vented and I listened, calling out our next "stop" in between .

We strolled down aisle 6A “Fiberglass netting” said I.

She replied with, “I couldn’t believe after all the work I put into that project, that he deleted the whole thing!! ARGH”

"The whole thing? criminy!" I added supportively.

We arrived at the netting. I looked at the choices of width and length. “Do you think I need the 200 yard, or the 50 yard roll?”

she continued her story with ,“ AND, the draft was deleted, too!! Gosh I’m so mad about that….. Um, get the 200 yard roll. You never know when you’ll need the extra length……. So then, after all that, he came in late the next day!”

I put the roll in the cart and caught the eye of a red-vested employee. “Sir? Where are the shovels and pitchforks?”

We kept walking, she talking, and me directing the cart in line with the red vest. We dead-ended at a display of tools. “Pitchfork or shovel? I don’t know, what do you think?” I waited.

“Last week, he left the quarterly board meeting before we even got to financials. Nobody else does that, and he didn’t even bother explaining. He just left! He left us all to work hard at staying awake through the number jabber. ….. Pitchfork will go into the dirt better if it is dry and compacted, probably. Are you digging in clay or dirt?”

I closed my eyes and let my head rest back onto my shoulders. “Yeah, lots of leaf-covered soil, vines and dead brush… I think we’ll go pitchfork. It’s a few dollars less, too and I like the handle.” She backed out the cart and we continued on our shopping trail.

I looked at my list. “Um, let’s see what’s next… bungie cords.”

“ Can you believe he has had interior design people in re-doing the board room 3 times this year. And then proceeds to complain about expenditures!!” her pace picked up.

My right arm swung out and held the cart back from running over a runaway child who skirted around the cart and kept running.

The near miss did not deter the venter from venting. She stopped and draped herself over the front of the cart handle, talking into the cart. “ I just don’t think I can take it much longer. The man is insane!”

A red vest crossed our path. “Excuse me, sir. I’m looking for bungie cords?”

“ 18 A about half way down. Here, I'll show you.”


We took a hard left down aisle 18. A mound of cords caught my eye. “ Gee, some of these are so short, I don’t know.”

“ How long do you need them to be, ma’am?” the kindly depo man asked.

I stretched my arms into as big a circle as I could, with my fingertips just touching. “ Oh, about this big. Big enough to go around a trash can.”

“Then, you’ll need these, probably. Yes, these should do you fine.” Plop went a pair of lime green bungies into the cart.

We continued on- me now holding the side of the cart so as not to lose it or the driver, and my friend, hanging by her armpits driving with her head hanging lower than a snail’s pace, and her feet dragging behind. I could tell our visit time was coming to a close…just one more item.

“ Ah, there. Garden accessories. Now let’s see if they have a … yeah! I see it, this way, come on, we’re almost done.”

The cart driver moaned, “ I can’t sleep thinking about having to go in to work tomorrow. I can’t do it.”

I patted her bobbing head.“Okay. Here are the rainbarrels. They are all over the place these days, there are so many that they are invisible if you know what I mean. Why, you walk by them in the neighborhood and don’t even notice them. Too big for my Cabrio. Oh, here’s a collapsible one…. But is it big enough?”

I looked around and noticed the outline of a person who was squatting behind the rainbarrel giving it a look. He stood up, then walked away.

My friend bolted upright, her upper body rocketing out of the cart. “OMG. Did you see that man? I thought it was HIM for a minute.”

I put my hand on her shoulders, and guided her back down to ground level. “Come on, let’s go. Anyway,I think that’s about right, and it will fit in my car, too. ”

I walked over and picked up the collapsible rainbarrel and added it to the cart. I pushed against the cart, aiming it for the front of the store and we headed towards the checkout.

We wove our way through the store in quiet. Then, her voice released slow syllables, “ Uh, what are you getting these things for, anyway?”

A lightbulb flashed in my mind’s eye as I inventoried our cart and replayed her store ramblings.

I smiled. “You mean why did I get a length of netting big enough to wrap, say, a body ? and why did I get bungie cords long enough to wrap around a body so the limbs wouldn't fall out? And Why did I get a rainbarrel big enough to hold an average sized person? And Why did I get a pitchfork strong enough to dig a big hole?”

She stood- frozen in the homedepo, her eyes wide as full moon. I could see the hairs standing up on her arms. She had a hard grip on the cart.
“Uh, yeah. Why DID you get those things?”
“I got these things for the garden, of course, what did you think?”

And we headed home.


Anonymous said...

Remind me not to go to Home Depot to visit. Murder Mysteries may evolve next! Loonygin

Auntie Knickers said...

Heeheehee! You have a future in mystery writing!