Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What I Did on My Vacation

I'm off this week, just taking a deep breath between gigs. Yesterday I did some errands, then chores around the house when the apocalyptic thunderstorms hit. It's nice to have some time off, and although I feel slightly bad about taking Syd to daycare when I could be keeping her home with me, I don't feel bad enough to change my mind. Mommy needs some time alone.

This morning's itinerary consisted of a stop at the brake tag place and a visit to the Uptown Farmer's Market. My old brake tag place, on Carrollton, apparently no longer does vehicle inspections, so I headed over to State and Magazine. Either this sort of work attracts people of a certain disposition, or they train them to be on the mean end of the stern continuum, because this woman made her disdain for me quite clear.

"Sern till," she muttered, against the clank and clatter of machinery in the adjacent garage.

I leaned out my open window. "I'm sorry?"

"TURN. ON. YOUR. RIGHT. TURN. SIGNAL," she cried. I obeyed. She muttered something else, the content of which I deduced to include instructions about the left turn signal, and I obeyed again.


"I'm...I couldn't hear you."


We went on like this for the rest of the inspection--some muttering, a polite request for a repeat command, an over-enunciated and rather grating reply. The only point at which I could clearly understand what she said on the first attempt was when she passed me on the way to the back of the car; she said "Put your car in reverse, but keep your foot on the brake." Was she trying to tempt me? Seriously. It would have been so easy...

At the end of the inspection, she asked to see my insurance and car registration, at which point she discovered that I have had the car for over a year, with no brake tag. "You've had this car for over a year, and you haven't had a vehicle inspection?" I nodded, shamefully. "That's going to be ten extra dollars," she said, and scribbled something on her tablet. Ten dollars seems to me a small price to pay for civil irresponsibility, and I gladly forked it over and drove away with the echoes of her disdain ringing in my ears.

A stop at the Farmer's Market proved equally dismal, for entirely different reasons. Three people--not related in any way I could discern--butted in line ahead of me: one woman at the token stand, another in the strawberry line, and a third at the stand where I stood (dutifully) waiting to purchase alligator sausage. This last woman literally stepped in front of me to inquire about the price of soft-shelled crabs (which was, incidentally, written in large print on the sign in front of her). The vendor gave her the price, and she started to order, at which point I had no choice but to assert myself. "I was waiting in line," I told her, and for a moment she just stared at me, as though I was speaking a different language. I briefly wondered whether she did, in fact, speak another language--which would not have excused her rudeness--but then she muttered something that sounded like an apology and moved behind me (in front of another customer who was actually waiting in line).

What is the matter with these people? Is there some sort of Farmer's Market etiquette that allows for such behavior? On the way to my car, I spotted the soft-shelled crab lady approaching her own vehicle, a massive SUV with a "Mitt Romney 2008" sticker on the bumper. Several of what appeared to be miniature poodles scurried around inside and she yelled at them as she opened the door and heaved herself into the driver's seat. I felt inexplicably sad as I sat down in my own driver's seat: sad for those dogs, sad for the woman, sad for the state of our society in general.

I should probably avoid going out to Metairie today.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

It's only been one day without you and the place already feels different. I sat at your desk yesterday and it felt a little bit sacrilegious. I miss you!