From Saturday to Saturday, I have felt as if I have spent the whole week in one queue or another. Austinites, as a rule, are very polite. However, there is always the exception to the rule.
Last weekend we took the four legged beast to meet some more of his kind, at the Dogtoberfest event, held at the Domain, which is an animal friendly complex, comprising stores., restaurants and condominiums. It has a certain Mediterranean feel about it, as the main thoroughfare is often closed, and stalls, bands or other such features are set up to entertain the troops! It appears that a large number of residents are animal lovers, and the shops are not adverse to allowing quadrupeds to join their owners when browsing.
Most of the animals, last weekend, were dressed in the most imaginative costumes. With Halloween being just around the corner, there were several four legged animals dressed as eight legged monsters, and several dynamic duos, such as a two legged batman with a quadruped Robin! The inner beauty of the female bulldog was enhanced by a tutu, and the grace of the rottweiler intensified by fairy wings. Our fearless puppy was not in costume and did not enter any of the races.
Standing in line to 'spin the wheel', was the order of the day. Main Street was filled with stalls comprising most things 'animal'. I queued to spin several times, and although did not win the jackpot, came away with goodie bags and several new toys which were supposed to delight my dog! As Frank's lower jaw is slightly deformed, and is not the same length as the upper, playing Frisbee is not an option.
Despite the majority of people being very polite, the exceptions to the rule were out in force. Most of them were between three and four feet, and accompanied by an adult that was preoccupied with the tiara setting on the bloodhound rather than the activity of their offspring. Pushing their way into the line, they failed to acknowledge that there was a beginning, and more importantly, an end. The scowl that was formed across the face, when someone's foot accidentally slipped under theirs, as it came crashing to the floor (or shoe) was enough to turn milk sour! However, as I said, Austiintes, as a rule, are very polite. I am not originally from Austin! "How rude!", was the most polite thing I could think of to say, but this phrase did not seem to evoke any emotion, nor have any effect. "I am at the front, momma", was the usual response, from the yard tall being! 'Momma' then walked calmly, having readjusted the bangles around 'fido's' feet, and spun the wheel, all the time reinforcing the confidence of the child, by telling them how good they were to stand in the line, so awesomely! As far as I was concerned, the only thing awesome about the child was their ability to 'push in'. An anarchist in the making! My opposition was paled into insignificance as the host of the stall noticed the bejewelled animal, and made a big fuss of both the animal, and the animal!
Each time I joined a line, one of these smaller beings managed to slip in between me and the person who stood in front, and shout with a voice that was far too big for their size, to their adult, whom as the signs read, they must be accompanied by, that they were 'at the front!' Frank became more and more bewildered, and eventually, after collecting several shopping bags, Frisbees and treats, and having my flip-flopped feet stamped on by minors, I dragged my bruised toes towards the exit. It was as we were leaving the area that we noticed a stall that we had not visited. I checked the area for under aged hooligans, and as it was slightly off the beaten track, found there were none to be found. The young lady in charge was not particularly enamoured with my arrival. I was not another dashing young quarterback wannabe, nor was I in the form of eye candy that had been in front of me. When I won the 'birthday party for the dog' prize, she seemed even less impressed. "What is 'a birthday party for my dog', exactly", I asked, in my most polite voice. "We will send you an email to explain", she said, brushing me aside as quickly as possible, so that the bulging muscled college senior could step forward and impress her. Happier with her attitude than that of the preschooler who used my feet as a floor mat, I thanked her very much and left the area.
Frank was becoming less and less impressed with his surroundings. Even the Designer sections of Macy's failed to improve his mood. We walked him through the store, where many others of his kind were being treated to the delights of the human, but Michael Kors and Lauren just didn't seem to put the wag back in his tail. He was equally unimpressed at having to pose by the handbags, and jewellery counter.
The queues continued throughout the week, and the exceptions were once again to be found in all walks. The post office had several exceptions this week, which was rather surprising as it is usually an 'after you; no after you' scenario. I am surprised anyone is at the front of that queue as each person defers to the next, and everyone comes last! However, there were obviously some 'out of towners' in town, and while the usual, 'no please, you go first', was being played out, a lone being walked to the open desk and placed their cart load of packages on the counter! So shocked were the clerks that they did not dare to question the authority of the wayward customer! As I was in the middle of the queue, it did not occur to me to 'push in', and I stood open mouthed with the rest of the foreigners!
I received an email during the week, letting me know the details of my prize. However, it took me sometime to realise to what the email referred as it started, 'Thank you for stopping by our stand. I know our staff had a blast with y'all'. I decided not to repond with the truth! It was quite literally a party for my dog, but unfortunately, it was only me who could invite friends, and only one canine was allowed per group! Frank did not seem impressed, but then he didn't seem unimpressed!
This Saturday was the event, however, where the exception 'took the food out of my mouth', quite literally! Our weekly (as it has become) trip to Costco, (as the need for more photo's of my grandson is never ending,) resulted in yet more queues. We arrived later than usual, but the 'lunch' samples were still being offered. The gentleman offering slices of pizza seemed to be very popular. As we waited for him to remove the cooked item from the microwave, a young male child, probably of single figure age, pushed in front of me, and snatched the anti-penultimate bite, with the penultimate and last being taken by, I assume, the accompanying adults. 'How rude', I said in a rather loud voice, but this only seemed to fuel the youngster, and a broad grin appeared across his face. The pizza man sympathetically shrugged his shoulders. I was now standing at the front of the newly formed queue when I espied the same ruffian coming towards me. The pieces of pizza were placed on the tray, and as his hand extended to retrieve his second piece, Samantha and I lurched forward and prevented him from achieving his goal. We were now at war!
The chicken counter did not have a queue as of yet. It would be a minute of two before the dish was fully cooked, but the smell was quite intoxicating. As we did not have an agenda, waiting sixty seconds or so was not going to cause any misalignment in our proceedings. Suddenly, Samantha spotted the child, and motioned to me to be cautious. The adults by whom he was not accompanied, were not being beckoned as before, and this was now just between him and me. Although 'grown up', my maturity had vanished and I had become a pre-teen! As he went to my left, so I went to the left. As he went to my right, so I went to my right. He tried the quick 'left-right' shuffle, but I was way ahead of him! My elbows extended and there was no way through. I was then joined by my equally pre-adolescent child, who made the wall wider, and impossible to penetrate. We did not see the six foot real adult approach, and as the portions of chicken were pushed to the front of the counter, he took two, leaving us all in awe of his swift stealthiness! The young hand of our opposition came forth and attempted to take advantage of our stupor, but it was not to be. I regained composure instantaneously, and managed to swipe up two paper cups before he could shout, "Momma", let alone, "I am at the front!" I smiled, with a smile that said, 'Now that is awesome!' He retreated back to the pizza stand, and we watched as he pushed forward and, again, took the last piece of pie.
Whether he was following us, or whether he was led by the aroma of edible delicacies is still a mystery, but the battle resumed, and I deployed my elbows at will. It was only when we reached the sausages, did the cook tell him that he really did need to be 'accompanied by an adult', as they were the spicy jalapeno variety. By the time he had dragged him family to the stand, the queue had become a crowd, which was a little too large for any of them to penetrate.
Samantha and I made our way to the check out, and queued. I espied the young thug at another food stand, and the comment 'Doesn't he get fed at home?', echoed through the warehouse, rather more loudly than I had anticipated. It must have been the jalepeno sausages!
The migraine that set in Saturday afternoon was probably poetic justice! I would not be queuing for anything other than relief! The dog had come to visit while Samantha and Edward had some 'alone' time to clean their apartment. He did not seem to be particularly bothered by the fact that I was dozing in and out of consciousness and to my knowledge, he did not appear to have any lasting effects from last weeks outing. Nor did he appear to have developed a taste for designer shopping!
Exceptions are always a way of life, and I am sure I will encounter more, especially in this wonderful diverse city. The Formula 1 race is on its way from Russia, and while we will not be attending the event proper this year, the stands will be erected around the roads downtown, next weekend, and we shall certainly be enjoying the entertainment. No doubt there will be a lot of children, hopefully accompanied by adults, and no doubt there will be a lot of queues. I fully expect a few calls of "Momma, I am at the front", before they have even taken a place in line, and the awesomeness of the child will be reiterated in abundance, but that is par for the course, (pardon the pun) and another reason for me to write. After all, what would life be without ......... another story.