Beauty vs Brains

Obviously, that title doesn’t refer to me.  If a Mama bear got a good look at me, she’d abandon her cub. And, even if I could get both the hamsters in my head on the little wheel at the same time, I’d still only be able to outwit a clothespin, one of the push-on type, those spring-clip ones are wily.

Damn!  Did I just date myself?  Just lost the young crowd.  What’s a clothespin Dad?  My tablet can’t find it.

Maybe it’s a function of growing up poor.  I just have no ego when it comes to dressing to go out.  Wifely translation; You’re just a grubby old man that I’m ashamed to be seen with in public.  Clean and neat, I can see, but not Dressing Up, to go to the supermarket, or pharmacy.  A polo shirt, a pair of black jeans and a pair of boots – I’m ready to go.

Conversation with wife;

Her; You’re not going out in that, are you?

Me; Damned right I am!

Her; What if we run into (pick one, or all A. The President B. The Pope C. The Queen of England D. Somebody else who I don’t give a shit about their opinion about how I dress.)

Me; If they say something shitty about my clothes, I’ll tell them to go F**k themselves.

This means we don’t leave the house for a week, because she is convinced that a priest is lurking just around the corner of the garage, waiting to jump out, point at me and laugh.

If you don’t want me to wear this shirt, don’t hang it up in the closet.  I/we have a pile of secondary shirts which never leave the house.  I suffer from congenital body tremors which are increasing with age, especially in the right arm and hand.  I drop more food on myself than I used to.  I wear those special shirts just to eat in.  The good ones I wear in rotation.

Across the street from our favorite grocery store, is a lovely little specialty shop named Eurofoods.  It is what it says.  Imported food from all over Europe, specializing in Polish.  Just as you enter the store, there is a 50 foot long deli counter, stretching from front to back.  Pre-cooked stuff like cabbage rolls and soup, all kinds of wieners and wursts, hams and luncheon meats for slicing, schnitzel, pork roasts, stew meat, ground beef and dozens of kinds of cheeses.

Protocol has been that, as you enter, you stand in line until one of the clerks looks you in the eye, and says, “May I help you?”  Then you proceed down the counter.  Apparently there were those who didn’t feel that they should have to stand in line and just marched over to the section of the counter which contained whatever they wanted, and started giving directions to the clerk who was already serving someone else.  Some customers objected – strongly.  I heard that there were a couple of “spirited discussions.”

The owner decided to put in one of those number-ticket spitters, to prevent further problems.  Since about the first of October, there have been signs saying, “As of November 7/2011, you will be required to take a ticket to receive service at the deli counter.”  There is an outer door and an inner door, and there is one of these signs on each of them  Now, had it been me, I would have placed this infernal device at the left end of the counter, immediately adjacent to the door.  It sits, instead, at the middle of the counter.  On the counter, by the door, is an 8 1/2 by 11 sign, big, black block letters, “Take a number”, and three large red arrows.  Ten or twelve feet further down is another, identical sign, pointing to the Bingo machine.

I had told the wife about the new system but she doesn’t get out a lot.  A recent visit was the first time she’d seen the new system in action.  I stood her in line, walked 20/25 feet down the counter, took a number, and walked back to join her.  Then I expressed my opinion about how silly it was to put the machine in the center, and make you walk all the way down, and then, all the way back, to stand in line.  Suddenly, the woman two places ahead of us, got out of line, walked down and got a ticket, and walked back, and stood in the same spot she just left.

I was all for letting the law of survival of the fittest prevail.  The clerk would have called out, Number 43, and I would have stepped forward and said, “That’s me.”  I don’t know what got into the wife that day.  Usually she is quiet and non-confrontational.  Perhaps it was the way this woman swaggered back into line.  Maybe it was the aura of entitlement that she gave off.  Even then the wife wasn’t loud or nasty, she just firmly stated, My number’s ahead of you.–But I vas here first.–My number’s ahead of you.–But I have stood in line.–My number’s ahead of you.  So she left her coveted spot and went to stand behind the man who came in behind me, and took a number.

And then the bitching started.  I have trouble taking information out of ambient noise, but I got things like Rude people, Have no respect, D’ey’re just pushy.  Well! that got my dandruff up.  In a loud clear voice, which carried out to the loading dock I said, “Dear me!  I am really sorry that you didn’t bother to read the signs and obey the rules.  I feel so badly that I may cry.  Oh, boo hoo.”  Suddenly it got much quieter.

Perhaps one of the things that helped set the wife off, was the level of dress on the pseudo-contessa, that went with the swagger and entitlement.  A pair of shoes worth a week of my wages, a dress that would have paid to feed a family in India for six months, a fur-trimmed, wool stole with a cameo holding it together, a silver necklace with amber.  If the watch on the left wrist wasn’t a lady’s Rolex, it was trying hard to convince us it was, the right wrist had silver bracelets and bangles, gold and silver rings on about 11 fingers, two pair of diamond(?) ear-studs.  Her coiffure was immaculate, not a hair out of place.  Her make-up looked like a professional had been paid to apply it and, if it was the same salon operator, she had a retirement fund going, just doing the nails.  All this gorgeousness to pick up pickled pig’s knuckles and sauerkraut at a Polish market?  Get thee behind me Satan, and next time, take a number.

After all this drama had played itself out, and peace and tranquility had returned to our little corner market, the old man in front of me, who is now next in line, walked over to the machine and took a number.  The clerk said Number 43.  I stepped forward with a smile on my face and never looked back at the train wreck.