See, in the Bayers Lake Superstore, you can hear people talking to you (in fact, you can hear them perfectly!), but you usually can't talk back to them. On a cell phone, I mean. I discovered this when trying to ask my mom what kind of pie crusts she wanted.
"Do you want normal or deep dish?"
"Normal or deep dish?"
"I can't hear you!"
"NORMAL OR DEEP DISH?!"
"I'm sorry, William, I can't hear you-"
"Okay, can you hear me now?"
"But you answered the question, obviously you can hear me-"
Unfortunately, this continued. Maybe it all happened because I only got five hours of sleep. Not that I'm complaining. The low point was:
"Okay, I'm going to spell it out. 'D.'"
... but we didn't get past the second letter, and Mom was basically like, "I'm hanging up now..." and it's good that that happened when it did because I got so caught up in the 'conversation' that I didn't notice the three families with loaded carts in front of me, staring aghast, nor the three families with loaded carts behind me, staring aghast. One man looked at me and said flatly, "I feel your pain."
At that moment I tried to make myself as small as possible and I vacated the frozen foods aisle with my head between my arms. Then I went to the electronics section and actually placed the call. By now Ruth had kind of been pushed forcibly out of my mind, which I believe was all to the good.
Today I wonder how much that happens to people in the service industry, and are the feelings ever mutual? In a sense it doesn't matter, because the logistics of the encounter prohibit any real socializing. It's much better to get smitten on the first day of a class, isn't it? Then again, people there are often so shy that I imagine it happens rarely.
* * *
Still no sign of Mistoffolees. (I still remember how people in high school used to make fun of me for his name. I didn't name him, but I guess I shouldn't have mentioned his name either, because the people asking the question were just trying to expose me to ridicule.) Mom went out yesterday and followed some of the tracks around, and she thinks a dog or coyote got him.
It's more of a sad situation than I assumed it would be. I'm not much of an animal person, but I miss letting him out and filling his dish, and I'd give a lot to have him come back. I would have been nicer to him the last I saw him if I had known; maybe I would have said "Goodbye," instead of "Out you go, Cat."
Maybe I've been drinking too much soy milk. (Actually, maybe I need a new doctor. The same one also told me that Tim Horton's puts nicotine and MSG in their coffee. This is absolutely untrue, and the reality is that Tim Horton's has less caffeine on average than Starbucks or Second Cup. Maybe it's just good coffee!)