Saturday, February 5, 2011

friends and neighbors

While you were at the library's Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread Sociable or the opening show of Roméo et Juliette, I was driving all over creation on errands. And it was certainly a day for people-watching.

• In Claremont, there's a guy I see walking -- no, marching -- around who looks like a cross between a used-car salesman and a Jedi knight: way-too-big suit in a weird color of brown with big flappy pants that only reach his shins, a long loose black vest underneath that goes almost to his knees, and a crisp white shirt. Buddy Holly glasses. He's wearing the same thing, every time I see him. Wish I knew his story!

• At Upland Farmers Market (the store, not the weekly event), an elderly Desi lady in a sari with a Northface fleece jacket over it, barreling around angrily, picking up objects, and yelling across the store at the cashier, "How much this?!" For certain items, her husband would reply to the answer with "You take [half the amount mentioned?" After 10 minutes of entertainment (for everyone but the poor cashier, who is the owner's daughter), they stomped out without buying anything, complaining loudly to each other in some subcontinental language. They got into a brand new minivan, him driving and her sitting in the backwards-facing seat in the way-back.

• Stuck in line at the Garey Stater Brothers, I was surprised to see how many people try to shoplift a couple of small items by leaving them in the cart when they put everything else on the conveyor belt. Los Bros is onto them though; a clerk politely asks, "Did you want that jar of mustard in your cart?" The woman in front of me did it (and got nabbed), and ended up not having enough money and having to remove some stuff. I was relieved to see that she didn't remove the rice, beans, giant bag of frozen spinach, or 89¢ package of ham hocks; instead, the Doritos, Sprite, and canned refried beans were returned to the shelves.

I suspect everyone's a big old character if you just knew them well enough.

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