I gave myself a prompt for today’s post: write a piece that uses other people’s words, whether things they said to me directly or things I overheard in passing. I don’t know quite where this will take us thematically, but here they are, a selection of the voices I heard today, in their own words:
JANIE: Nia student, 8:50 a.m. (to me): Omigod, what comes out your mouth is what’s in my head. It’s almost scary. But cool.
TWO 40-SOMETHING WHOLE FOODS WORKERS: Unpacking bulk nuts in front of the bulk foods bins, 10:00 a.m. (overheard): You have to grant that! He inherited the cost of two wars that Dubya started and didn’t even begin to think about paying for. He bailed out the banking system to stave off a depression. You can’t tell me that’s not true. I don’t care what those Republican assholes say. Those are deluxe mixed nuts.
(Note: it’s all downhill after that one.)
TWO MOMS: Loading their dogs back in the car after walking at Cat Rock conservation trails in Weston, MA. Both women were caked in mud up to the knees, 11:15 a.m. (overheard): Well, that was the dogs taking the owners for a walk.
DOGWALKER ON THE SAME TRAILS: After yelling at Westley for running up to greet the five dogs she was leash training, 11:45 a.m. (to me): I really worry about the pack mentality with these guys on the leash. It can get ugly fast.
LADY WITH A PINK UMBRELLA ON THE SAME TRAILS: Her white poodle covered in mud, 11:50 a.m. (overheard): Well, aren’t we having a lovely slog, Muffin?
TWO GUYS: In the mall, 1:00 p.m. (overheard): Who knows their neck size anyway? What is that, even?
DISPIRITED SALESLADY: Visionworks Store, after giving me an estimate of $600 dollars for new glasses, 1:15 p.m. (to me): Well, of course, Costco is far cheaper, and the quality is really just about the same.
NICE SALES GUY: Costco Vision Center, 1:45 p.m.(to me): You’d be amazed by how many people lose their prescription glasses. One guy lost them in the store the day he picked them up. You shouldn’t feel bad about that at all.
OTHER SHOPPER IN THE COSTCO VISION CENTER: 1:50 p.m. (to me): I like the red ones on you. Not everyone can pull those off.
JAMIE: On the speaker phone from her kitchen, 4:15 p.m. (to me): The word “incubator” so resonates for me. It says growth and movement, development. I really like it.
MIA: From the second floor. I am downstairs writing in the kitchen, 4:47 p.m. (to me): MOOOOOOOOOM?!
JOHN: Checking in by cell, 5:00 p.m. (to me): Well, the doctor pounded up and down my spine. He said if it was a bad fracture I’d be in a whole lot more pain, so that’s good news.
Perhaps the best exchange I had today was silent. There wasn’t much parking at the mall (this always amazes me, by the way, our American ability to consume. But hey, I was there, too.) Cars were prowling up and down the aisles like cats waiting for their prey to make the first move. Another car and I arrived at an open space at exactly the same moment, traveling from different directions. I even think he might have been there first. He made a gallant gesture, as if he were doffing his hat. I couldn’t quite tell if he was mouthing the words “All yours” or “Up Yours.” Either way, he was smiling.