Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Portraits in Fatigues

Walmart. A foot of new snow, six below, and I'm buying ice. The guy in fatigues (real, not redneck), is next to be cashed out, and he's looking nervously back into the store. His eyes light up, and he puts his fingers to his lips and whistles. Beautiful timber and tone. Impressive critical life skill I never could learn. I see a shadow from the corner of my vision, and with a sweep of the ponytail, the man's wife skids up to the register like a ski jumper finishing a successful run. She drops a tiny jar of something on the counter, and punches him on the arm.
"You did NOT just whistle for me like a DOG!"
He didn't flinch. "You shouldn't run off like one."
Hands went to hips. Gawd she's energetic. "WE don't do that!"
"Mmm hmm", he mumbled as he dug out his card.
"Seriously", she said the way people say in that less-than-serious distracted way to indicate they are ending this part of the conversation, moving on.
The cashier is a cute teenager with about three pounds of makeup, and she's loving this exchange.
From the ponytail, "I want something."
Another "Mmm hmm."
"Seriously!", she said in the way the term is used to bring focus, intensity to the dialogue.
From the uniform, "I'm calling your Dad."
"Seriously?", she said disbelievingly.
"Mmm hmm."
She punches him in the arm again, playfully.
"Seriously (dismissive), when we get the money, I want something."
"What?", he asked as they walked out, bumping shoulders.
I didn't hear what something she wanted.
"Geez", the cashier asked me. "I wonder how long THAT marriage will last."
"Seriously!", I said just to say something.
But I saw the look in his eye when he spotted her across the store, and I'm guessing they have a better start than most.

No comments: