Friday, November 27, 2009

Actual Conversation

Innocent as all get out, today the Matron decided to swing by her favorite bagel shop for carbohydrates, the perfect post-Turkey topping.

Besides the fact that there are nearly 700 calories in a single peanut butter cookie, the other thing she finds disturbing at her local Bruegger's is that the woman who's been working that counter for at least the past 18 (Lord help her, the Matron has been haunting that shop that long) years, is the Matron's EXACT age (a new number, still less than 50 but now a wee bit more than 45ish) and in all of those 18 years, has smiled a great big entirely toothless smile.

Too many peanut butter cookies, perhaps? Or another victim of the current health insurance system. . . . .

Every time the Matron chats with this woman, she wants to chat about free and reduced dental clinics or call her own dentist and ask if he'll donate time and material. But she reigns in the impulse and simply, makes small talk, while the woman bags up her bagels.

So she is ALREADY slightly uncomfortable always and forever, when she has this exchange today. Did she mention the other bothersome element is that they share an age?

Matron: "How are you today?"

Worker: "I'm tired. We had the big old dinner with all the relatives, and of course there was too much drinking and my cousin Frank got out of hand. The police were there within 5 minutes but the whole jail and hospital thing just dragged me out."

Matron: "Oh! Why, that sounds exhausting. Uh, 9 plain and 3 garlic bagels, please."

Worker (showing no sign of interest in picking up a bagel at all): "Of course, then my mother had her car repossessed on Wednesday so we had to take a bus and then depend on my daughter's boyfriend to get home after seeing to Uncle Tom at the hospital. Frank should know better than to wear brass knuckles with family. Good Lord."

Matron: "I'm glad your daughter has a boyfriend."

Worker: "Don't be. That low life hasn't had a job in the three years he's known my daughter and being a felon and all doesn't seem to have that much of a future. Free-loading on my daughter's job at the Goodwill."

At least the bagels are now nearly in a bag.

Matron (memory, ringing): "Oh. Didn't your daughter and this boyfriend have a baby? A girl?"

Worker: "Oh yes! My Brianna had a sweet little dwarf baby 17 months ago. Them dwarf babies are so teeny tiny, like dolls them dwarfs. Big heads, too."

Matron: "Dwarf baby?"

Worker: "You know, a dwarf baby like them Sleeping Beauty buddies but a girl and real. Big head, too. She is the teeniest tiniest thing, though. Brianna gets to sometimes bring her along to the Goodwill. That's a fun day because shoppers always enjoy a dwarf baby."

Merciful lord, but the Matron -- who was handed her bag and noted a listening customer standing beside her -- had absolutely no idea whatsoever how one should politely and appropriately respond to just this precise situation of the dwarf baby at all, let alone a dwarf baby on display at the Goodwill.

Buddha-Allah-God-Oprah-Universe help her: this is actually what came out of her mouth

"Little body, big heart!"

It wasn't even a question or quip but a command, as in Exit Strategy. With that pearl of wisdom launched, the Matron turned on a heel and scuttled out. So weak-kneed is she that the addition of a dwarf baby to the toothless worker's ensemble might just mean she either needs to find a new bagel location or add a whole new vocabulary to her bantering skills.


smalltownmom said...

My, she had a lot to share.

Anonymous said...

...and then they voted.

Ree said...

But wait! You didn't ask for pictures? What kind of customer are you??? ;)

Suburban Correspondent said...

Definitely a victim of our lousy health care system...and I doubt that this round of health reform is going to fix that.

MJ said...

Welcome to my world. Figuratively speaking, that woman has been my client. I now deal with wealthier clients but they still find themselves in similar situations, albeit perhaps with a better dental health plan. Some days I just shake my head; some nights I lose lots of sleep.

MidLifeMama said...

This made me laugh out loud, which caused my husband to ask what I was laughing at, so I read the whole thing to him. And it was just as good out loud. I thought I was the only person to have out of body experiences at Brueggers. I met Jesus there one time. Or at the very least a nice crazy man who thought he was Jesus.

Daisy said...

Oh, my. Did she really mean a baby with dwarfism? Or perhaps just a preemie, very tiny? Friends had a daughter with dwarfism; they were great parents. We served on Head Start board together.

Heather said...

You really have a way with words in person eh?

Anonymous said...

You know those annoying people who shop while on cell phones, point to things they want while on cell phones, and pay while on cell phones?

This is clearly the place to become one of those people.

Hay said...

Breaks my heart, truly.

~annie said...

That story right there is proof that parallel universes are not science fiction. Encounters like that always leave me drained, but immensly appreciative of my own little world.

debcurlydog said...

Wow, even with that story it makes me miss Brueggers :/
That seems to be the norm down here in Florida, a lot of "crackers" as they call themselves. A friend once said that our county seemed to be the armpit of Florida. Makes me wonder sometimes why we moved to the Tampa bay area from Minneapolis.

Ed Kohler said...

At times like the encounter you described, I wish I was treated more like a number.

Anonymous said...

are you sure you don't live further south?
that sounds an awful lot like some folks I know around here.