Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dadaism isn't Dead

For two years our doors looked like this:

I tried to install new knobs, but the tubular latches that come with new knobs were too large for the little hole on the side of the door they were supposed to go through. Eventually, I bought a special file that fits in a drill, and enlarged the hole. I created a little pile of actual sawdust in the process: MA-CHO!

But unsuccessful: I soon discovered that the big hole the door knob goes through was too big to install modern handles in. I needed a giant backplate instead of the tiny round one. After a fruitless six months search, my dad said he'd had the same problem, I should go to Lowes.

When I went to Lowes for the 90th time in search of backplates -- oh, yes, I had gone and not found any many times before -- I found them immediately because I was channeling my father. He would think what I had failed to: I need a giant backplate, and if the the only big backplate the store carries is a crazy, giant sized rectangle meant for a door with an old fashioned key lock, that's what I'm looking for.

I tossed several backplates into my cart, browsed my way back towards the counter, and we have finally arrived at the story I intended to tell:

I found myself, at Lowes, in the large powertool section. I was searching for water pressure washers. Some seventy or eighty year old white man came up to me and said, "You finding it?"

No I said, asked where the power washers were, and noticed his hedging and confused body language. "Oh, I'm sorry!" I said, simulaneously realizing he had no Lowes uniform and noticing his wife was behind him, checking out the rotary saws, "You're just another customer. I thought you worked here but you were just being friendly!"

"Yes, I am friendly!" he nodded, looking relieved. But I was a bit flustered, I am terrible at chatting with nice people in stores, it makes me nervous. So I was trying to flee -- one of the 200 main reasons I didn't become a General.

"Are you a member of that group?" he said as I turned away. He motioned towards my Code Pink, Women For Peace T-Shirt.

In Texas, you never know where a question like that might take you. Friendly old men in mega-hardware stores could swing either directio on the political scale, but "that group" is particularly ominous phrasing. The only thing worse than making small talk with a friendly old man in a store would be watching the friendly old man transform into a raving lunatic. In the power tool section of the store.

So, again, he says: "Are you a member of that [Code Pink, Women for Peace] group?"

And so I say about the most nonsensical thing possible: "Guess we all are, bye."

I know, I know. We all are what? Women? For Peace? Members of Code Pink. I was five or six steps away from him, turned towards the lighting aisle, but still tuned into his voice when I heard him say in this voice that sounded totally baffled but convinced:

"We sure are!"

It was good to agree, but what were we agreeing on?


GreenDaddy said...

I think that the old man may have actually been Walt Whitman, which would make him 187 years old. What he was saying is, We sure are...all leaves of grass. We are all river men. We are all men of the mountains. We are all women of peace.

MaGreen said...

ho ho ho. funny post ma green. er. this is me isn't it. anyway, a friend emailed to say she couldn't post and i'm checking it out.

Jessi Louise said...

people who start up conversations with me in public places usually startle me anyway, even without having a possible power tool incident in the mix. At least he turned out to be a woman for peace too.

cake said...

what i really want to know is, what do your doors look like NOW?

ps. i am the friend, and it looks like now i can post. my bad, sorry.