Holy get me the fuck out of here.
While I was happily sequestered away at my desk all day, our frail island home hath been overrun. It happens every year at this time, this was no real surprise. But I was unaware that this year we had issued specially engraved invitations reading WELCOME IDIOTS.
On my tiny little commute home today, I was almost rear-ended twice by cars with out-of-state licenses who thought the speed limit on Route 6A was posted as TEN MILES AN HOUR FASTER THAN THE PERSON YOU ARE TAILGATING.
When I turned on my blinker (novel idea) and waited patiently for the steady stream of traffic to slow enough for me to turn into the parking lot of the grocery store, a man in an SUV that I had NO intention of turning in front of loomed over me menacingly as he oozed humongously by, ACTUALLY WAGGLING HIS FOREFINGER AT ME SLOWLY LIKE A SCHOOLMARM OF THE DAYS OF YORE. Or of Van Halen videos from the 80s.
So yeah, days of yore. The 80s are totally yore by now.
I tried to get my little shopping done and get the hell out — I just wanted a little raw bar (four oysters and 12 littlenecks, please) to celebrate the three-day weekend with, a little hit of carbohydrates before I go on my next restrictive diet (hello, spicy crab cakes! Hop right on in here!) and maybe a little smoked bluefish to toast the sad passing of that great champion of smoked bluefish paté, Vineyard author Philip Craig.
Goddammit, I never did get to go surfcasting with him.
So I went up to the checkout melée, where a couple of recent-arrival ladies of leisure (watch for the sailboat-themed capri pants — dead giveaway) were standing, awkwardly, in the wrong place to actually be in line, exhibiting an equal mixture of embarrassment and angry frustration.
Thoughtfully, the store had one of its managers posted at the head of the line to help just such ladies out.
A register would open up, and he’d gesture towards it with all the sensitivity and grace of George Clooney, saying Ma’am, Marie can take you now, right over there in the yellow shirt…
But of course we can’t let such incidents pass without comment, can we? Not when we are embarrassed and filled with fear and shame because we don’t know how things are done in our adopted home for all of 72 hours!
Do you not know who we are? We are ladies of leisure! We must be self-assured at all times, even when the only way to do so is to place blame on innocent bystanders who are only trying to help!
So this one lady, she has a totally unfortunate squash-like face, like a squash that grew up all wrong cause it was all mushed up against another squash, maybe even a pumpkin, this one lady goes, she squinches up her mean little squash face and she goes
You really need a sign, you know
Because NONE of us get this!
She sort of says this to both the store manager and me, because we are standing near to each other, and because we are easily identifiable as not part of her tribe.
By this she is referring to how to take turns.
which I’m pretty sure has been covered somewhere in the standard curriculum.
Me, I’m standing there where I always stand, where this line always forms, and I am already perhaps a little tetchy.
I kind of gaze off into the middle distance, thinking about what it is I want to say, exploring rapidly all the good and humane reasons for not saying it, and then I smile.
But this is how we do it all year!
smile gently again and then,
I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it by Monday…
the store manager suddenly finds an open register and sends me right on over to it
and I take it
even though it is not my turn
because she is thinking about punching me
with her many diamond rings.
I am just glad she is not MY houseguest. She would get NONE of my raw bar.