One Thousand Words on Stuff I’ve Been Thinking About

The technical director came into the office the other day, asking why his corporate credit card was declined at Home Depot.

After some investigation, I discovered that it was declined because we hadn’t paid the bill. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

He’s new to the position, so the card is also new and I never even realized that the first month’s bill failed to arrive. I received the second month’s bill and processed it for payment, not noticing we’d missed a month.

It’s not a huge problem. We sent a check and it will be fine, except that he needed to rent a truck to move some risers and didn’t have his card to use.

So he and I headed for the Ryder office together. Him to get a truck and me to pay for it.

I hadn’t realized how embarrassed he was to have me go along until we got to the rental office.

The first words out of his mouth were to explain why I was there. “We had a glitch with my credit card, so she’s going to use hers.”

Before he could continue on with the story, the guy behind the counter said, “I understand that. I’ve had so many glitches with my credit cards they took them all away.”

There was an awkward silence and then the technical director went on to explain that it was his company card and the whole missing statement situation.

Then it was the Ryder guy’s turn to be embarrassed. He explained that he was working in real estate and development and the mid-2000s (I’m assuming he meant somewhere between 2000 – 2010 because wouldn’t’ the mid-2000s be 2050 or so?) weren’t kind to him. So now he was working at Ryder.

The whole exchanged morphed from the rental of a truck to a big, embarrassed apology fest. Embarrassment over needing a woman to pay for the truck, embarrassment over revealing too much personal information, embarrassment for working at Ryder.

It was even embarrassing for me, and I hardly said a word.

I wonder why both of these guys felt the need to over-explain their situations. Was my presence a threat to their masculinity in some way?

If so, they need to get over it. Women rent trucks too.

==

I heard a good word on Public Radio. “Presumptive.” I knew the word but never realized how much fun it is to say.

And if you pair it with the word “gubernatorial,” it’s even better.

I can’t think of anything that sounds better than being the “presumptive gubernatorial nominee.” I wouldn’t want to job, but love the title.

==

I’ve changed my mind about the writing workshop.

When I started, I didn’t like it. I felt like they all knew each other and I was on the outside looking in.

But now that there is only one week left, I’m sad. I think I’ll miss it.

Although I’m not a community person, it’s nice to have a group of people who share a similar interest, who feels the same way about writing.

In a way, writing seems a little silly. Isn’t it strange for grown-ups to spend their time scribbling stories? For adults with jobs and children and responsibilities to think about and create lives for pretend people?

But I don’t feel silly with the workshop folks.

For instance, I told a couple of non-writer friends that Sebastian wasn’t going to go to Vegas because Lenny confronted him. Instead, he’s going to Vegas with Charlene and that he would run into Lenny there.

They looked at me with blank expressions. “Who is Sebastian? Have I met Charlene?”

I felt ridiculous admitting that they are characters in my (what might possibly become a) novel, that these people are so alive in my mind that I sometimes forget that they are fictitious.

But when I told my fellow workshoppers about my plot discovery, they seemed excited for me. Or at least they understood why I was excited.

Maybe community is a good thing after all.

==

In several towns around my community, you’ll come across rows of houses that are alike, but different.

They were built as mill houses, I think. Homes for the people who worked in the Carter Overall factory or woolen mills.

And over the years, the owners have added a porch, replaces a roof, switched out a small window for a big one. So they aren’t identical any longer.

But if you just glance at them casually, you can look past the changes in the facade and see the indistinguishable bones, how they were a matching set of homes originally.

Whenever I get a glimpse into the past like this, I wonder about the people who lived there. Did they hate factory life but not have any other choice? Or were they pleased to be working in the mills instead on the farm?

And how are their lives different from the current inhabitants?

Judging by the condition of the houses, I would guess that like the homes, the people who are there now look different on the outside, but are pretty similar on the inside. Struggling to make ends meet, to make a life for themselves and their families.

Not much changes, I guess.

==

The other day I walked over to the grocery store to buy snacks for a show. The store shares a parking lot with a cheap Chinese food buffet restaurant. As I walked across it, the door to the restaurant opened and a dozen red hat ladies streamed out, bright in their red and purple hats and jackets.

I’ve always been vaguely disdainful of the Red Hat thing. It’s just Girl Scouts for the elderly, an excuse to wear gaudy color combinations and get a group discount.

But these ladies were so joyful, giggling and gossiping. They lingered on the steps, not wanting to part ways.

I thought, “They seem so happy. I could eat egg rolls with them.”

I could probably even forgive the whole red and purple thing.

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One thought on “One Thousand Words on Stuff I’ve Been Thinking About

  1. Wow! You were on a roll with all these! I enjoyed every one of them – a huge smile across my face… especially the one about the embarrassment-fest… and the red hat ladies!

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