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Sunday, August 21, 2011


Living in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, it is not surprising that, once again, my week has been filled with a variety of characters, which I believe confirms that it takes all sorts to make the world go round.
During our gastronomic delight last weekend, Dana's tooth broke in half, and he had to make an emergency visit to the dentist on Tuesday morning, followed by an additional visit in the afternoon.  This meant that I was left in charge of the office.  Always an adventure! 

At three o'clock, I received a phone call from a very calm paralegal.  She wanted to talk to Dana.  When I said he was out of the office, the composed voice turned slightly agitated, and proceeded to complete panic when I told her that I was the only one available.  I am not sure if it was the 'woman to woman' experience (in the age of feminine equality, I am unsure as to why some feel it necessary to compete), or if it was the English accent, but her confidence in my ability to take care of anything, was non-existent.  Fortunately, I had heard the possibility of the project being discussed in the morning, and asked if it was to this that she referred.  Her voice became somewhat less terrorized.  I checked Dana's emails and told her that the project had been received.  She wanted the papers delivered that problem; In Midland....problem!  Midland, Texas, for those that are not familiar, is approximately 250 miles from Austin.  Ordinarily, this would not be a challenge, as we have 'people' all over the state, but to set up a service to be delivered to a company in another city, before five, having received the project after three, posed a slight dilemma.  I will not repeat the first word out of my mouth, although in my defence, it was only the letter of the word which was forming in my brain.  Samantha appeared at my desk moments afterwards.  At that particular time, the fact that she had cooked an egg in the car was not as impressive as I may have been at any other time.  She had placed a frying pan on the dashboard and cracked an egg onto the hot metal receptacle, where it had fried. (She had previously made 'car cookies'; that is cookies, cooked in the car, in the same way as the egg.  Eccentric?  It runs in the family!)
Samantha had left my desk, to an array of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from those who did not have to find someone to perform a near on impossible task, and I made a call to the lady in Midland, whom I hoped would be available to take care of the task in hand.  Voicemail has never been my favourite form of communication, and the lack of human response put just a modicum of pressure upon my already fraught temperament.  However, my performance based sense of self worth would not allow me to sit back and cry.  I took a deep breath, downloaded the project and put it into our database, before making the second call.  The elation at receiving a real person at the end of the telephone was short lived, as my hopeful deliverer of papers explained that she had not been in the office due to having a 'new grand-baby last night'.  The first letter of 'that word' once again formed in my mouth.  Failure seemed inevitable, and suddenly the egg on the dashboard seemed like it would be the only achievement of the day.  It would appear that I am truly blessed, as the new grandma was not going to spend the day doting on the infant, and she needed to return to work, and she was on her way to her office.  Less than thirty minutes later, she had delivered one paper, and was on the way to the other end of town to deliver the next.  My profuse thanks seemed to me to be less than adequate, but was accepted graciously.  My client did not respond with the same enthusiasm.  I am not sure if she was unsure as to whether I had indeed been successful, or if she just expected miracles to be commonplace.
Dana returned to the statement, 'I made you look bloody good today!'

Fortunately, the optomologist did not need as much time on Dana's eyes as the dentist did on his teeth, and my time of premiership was not as burdensome, and the contestants for my character assassination remained illusive; until this morning.

We had decided to go to a local diner, as they were offering an 'all you can eat' breakfast.  The chain has been experiencing closures around the State. and whilst we are not able to prevent total failure, we can do our bit to postpone the demise.  Standing at the counter, the question 'whaddya want?', was posed, in as non-gentile manner as such could be imagined.  'Do you have....?' was interrupted with, 'It's all here, this here; Whaddya want?'  A piece of french toast, some scrambled eggs and hash browns would have to suffice, at least for now.  The lady on the counter was probably his mother.  'Whaddya got?', she asked in the same affectionate growl. 

On our trip for 'seconds', we joined the queue and heard the, by now, familiar, 'Whaddya want?', followed by 'Breakfast or lunch.  I gotta a line waiting.  No she cant have that if she wants lunch!'  Another server appeared and asked, 'Whaddya want?'  Presumably this was a family run restaurant! I had visions of a staff training programme, with rows of potential employees, being asked by their tutor; 'Whaddya say?', and the response being, a resounding, 'Whaddya want!'; 'Whaddya want, what!'; Whaddya want, SIR!'

The check out girl at Walmart was, on the other hand, very gentile.  She asked us how our day was going, and then said that her day was going well.  Someone had agreed to cover her shift.  'Thank you, Jesus', she cried.  'I think I have heatstroke.  It's been so hot!  Not like this where I come from.  I come from up North.  Don't close schools for ice there!  Told my friends' kids, "You don't wanna go up North".  I just don't feel good.'  This last sentence was said as she was putting my cheese into the plastic bag.  'Been feeling sick for a few weeks now', she added as the milk was added to the bag. I made a mental note to use a wet wipe before putting said items into the fridge!  I 'wished' her better, and headed for the door.  
It was on exiting the store that I noticed two young people in military fatigues, quite deservedly being thanked for their services.  I am, as some know, not one for slushy emotion, but when I see people thanking others, who they do not know, for defending them, without question, I get quite tearful.  These two were the brave, and this was their home.  As for the other characters, including me, we are in the land of the free because of their selflessness.  I could get quite political here, but my personal opinions will remain on the tips of my fingers, if, by some chance, I think they may be ready to type...another story.

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