Right through the indulgent parts

I get behind a guy in the Costco parking lot who’s got a buck with gnarled antlers next to a sticker of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peeing on the name Obama, and next to that, it’s a take-off on the family car decals but a row of rifles that says My Family, all caps. It’s too late in the parking lot even though I got here early. You get there 15 minutes before it opens and they let you in, you muscle your way through to get a cart and rush so you can get out before it gets too crowded, before the sampling starts. There must be a thousand parking spots and they’re full all day, every day. It’s the Third of July and they’re closed tomorrow, so that, combined with deals on portable AC’s, has the line wrapped around the building with everyone scowling in the sun. I get clipped in the heel by a woman’s cart behind me who apologizes but I don’t turn around to acknowledge her, I don’t even feel it.

I pressure wash the deck before the sun gets too high and it smells like the water rides at the amusement park where I grew up in Allentown, PA. We got ribeyes, pink Crémant and corn in the husk and I grilled the steaks on my mother-in-law’s broken down grill which wobbles when you touch it and catches fire easy, and I’m spraying it to keep the flames at bay and it’s bobbing and seems it might just blow up or collapse and Dawn and her mom just keep on making small talk like nothing’s happening.

And although we’re moving to Europe to become expats for some time and there are parts of our country that sicken me, we are more alike than not, even the guy with the bad car decals I want to like, as long as I don’t have to look at him.

Lily mistakes anti-fungal cream for toothpaste since it’s in a similar tube, so Dawn calls Poison Control and I chastise her, and we nearly get in a fight about it, but I should just shut up; that’s usually it.

The ATM is broken where I take and deposit cash, there’s a red light that’s supposed to signal that but doesn’t, so a girl gets on the loudspeaker and says it’s broken, and I do a modified K turn to pull up to the drive thru for the first time in forever, have to fill out a slip, and the girl is the kind you might come back to if you’re a guy who needs some cash — why not have a human, if only for a bit?

I’ve near chewed the skin off my thumbs I’m so nervous, even though my shirt has a tag in it that says RELAXED I can’t, we’re in between homes, and I circle and pace and drink like a dog, in long laps with no breath between, living faster than I should.

When I get to the checkout they’ve just opened a new line and I jump on it but can’t keep up with the conveyor belt to load my things fast enough, the olive oil, the raw almonds, the bottles of wine, the toilet paper, the lemons — but I tell the guy to make sure he has a nice holiday and thank you, have a good day.

Outside there are guys with orange vests hauling the shopping carts with straps like they’re cattle, modern day cowboys, rounding them up, forcing them back into the stalls.

Categories: humor

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. I’ll be interested to see if you miss American customer service as much as I do after a while. Now when I go ‘home’ and someone says to me, “Can I help you?” I say, “Why yes, yes you can.”


    • Yes, I’ve been abroad enough to get that – especially while living in France it seems. Trying to get people to do work on your house, for example. Takes weeks, when you’re used to it taking a couple hours. You’re right though, we’ll miss it I’m sure. I do like savoring the differences though in the cultures: makes you develop a greater appreciation for your own as you learn about a new place and what they value. We missed the Fourth last year as we were in Germany then, so it was nice to celebrate the holiday at a small-town parade in a town called Issaquah, with kids and dogs and old folks, all decked out in their red, white and blue.


  2. I can’t reconcile America. From the outside, it’s all too disparate. And desperate, for that matter. I think you have to be in it to get it. All about confidence, the kid who thinks he can do everything, even though he can’t, and yet that’s kind of endearing. We love that kid. We’re jealous of that kid because, no matter how much we pretend or try, we’ll never be that kid.


    • What is with these wildfires on Vancouver island? They’re gumming up my view of the moon and turning the sun into a marble when it sets.
      Seriously, I love your insights here on America; I get the image of that kid who thinks she can do anything and can’t, but seems to then, like beating Japan yesterday.
      I love my country, for however screwed up it is from the outside, from the inside. I had to unplug entirely from the news though for the past six months. So I get all the benefits of living here without any of the responsibility of having to hear about what’s going on, or do anything about it. Which makes me feel like a turd.
      Thanks for scattering my posts with your pixie dust this morning, I appreciate it.


  3. Not dealing with the crowds is one of the joys of going to Costco in Sequim, but the old people still block the aisles waiting to get a free sample. The guy with the family of guns must be one of my neighbors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t go on a rant about Costco because I’m addicted to it, even with the lot totally full and my common sense telling me to just go to QFC and pay a little more, I still parked and took it on, it’s embedded in me. Though I think about what it’s like in Las Vegas sometimes when I’m at Costco, the fall of the Roman empire, the gluttony.


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