The piano piece that Chickadee was never able to master before the recital-that-wasn’t is stuck in my head. Da-da-da-dada, da-da-da-dada, dadadadadadadadadaddaaaaaaaaa ARGH. There’s now a 50-50 chance I can play it better than she can, and I don’t even play piano. At the very least, I can da-da-da it for you, though I may need to rock in the corner while I do so. I have Exciting Follow-up Piano News for you in a minute, though, so there’s that.
At the moment I am looking outside and feeling decidedly weird. While I enjoy not having to deal with snow here in the south, I’m not sure I fully appreciated the weather alternatives to blizzards, before moving down here. For example: it’s the end of October. Back home, we’d be ready for the first big snow ’round about now. But here, when I took the dog out at 6 this morning, it was 65 degrees outside. And now, the light in the yard is hazy and yellow because HI TORNADO WATCH.
I’ll be sure to let you know if I have to abandon this post halfway through to go hide in the storage space under the stairs. Or—more likely—to go try to wrestle open the door to the storage space under the stairs, blocked though it usually is by laundry baskets and the electric broom. (Emergency preparedness: The preparations weren’t optional? Whoops!)
Whoa, the yellowness just gave way to a whole lot of darkness. The storm’s a-comin’, it just remains to be seen whether it’s just a good rain or if the house gets swept off to Kansas.
(Don’t worry, either way you’ll be able to find me as I hum da-da-da-dada….)
Anyway! Here’s a few things I’d better tell you before my house is destroyed. Or before it rains a little. Whichever.
Thing the first: I was doing my grocery shopping at Publix yesterday, as I am wont to do on a Sunday. Should you wish to stalk me, hitting Publix on a Sunday afternoon is the way to do it. I am nothing if not predictable in my milk-and-bread-buying habits. There are many things I love about shopping there, including the fact that I use a set of bags from this place and one of the cashiers is fascinated with them, and now yells out, “HEY! HOT SACKS!” whenever he sees me, which is entertaining, because it sounds like a young cashier is yelling HEY HOT SEX at a middle-aged patron. Scandalous! The expressions on the other shoppers’ faces make it totally worth the embarrassment.
Anyway, yesterday I saw something (again) that reminded me I keep meaning to bring this up.
In the tradition of true southern hospitality, after you’re rung up at Publix, the bagger offers to take your groceries out to your car for you. This is rather charming, no? I think it is. But I also always tell them I can get it myself.
Now. If you want help with your groceries, okay. They offer, you’re certainly allowed to accept. But. BUT. People. The store I shop at isn’t very big, which means the parking lot is small. Even parked as far away as possible, you’re not that far away. And you have a handy grocery cart in which to transport your purchases, so it’s not like the only alternative to the minimum-wage worker (who, by the way, you are expressly forbidden to tip for their assistance—store policy) assisting you is to strap those bags to your back.
In my expert opinion, here are the people who are allowed to accept the “take these out to your car for you” offer:
1) Old people.
2) People with disabilities.
3) Parents wrangling small children.
The rest of you need to MAN UP, and that goes double for the college students. Every time I see a Publix worker not just wheeling the cart out but then LOADING THE CAR for able-bodied people who are, most often, too busy texting to be bothered with such a plebeian task, I want to kick someone in the shins. Publix baggers are not your servants. It’s VERY NICE that they’re willing to take your groceries out. But c’mon. Don’t be a douche.
Thing the second: Licorice is in dire need of grooming. Life has been busy, the groomer we used to take her to did a terrible job last time, so I’ve been meaning to find someone new but haven’t gotten around to it. I’m a terrible doggie mommy, okay? Her face is disappearing and it’s all my fault.
That said, I’m actually the world’s greatest doggie mommy AND I WANT A MEDAL because I discovered yesterday that one side effect of her fur growing longer is that it tends to get a big tangled and matt-y in certain places. Like, on her butt. And so it was that I spent half an hour yesterday evening DETANGLING MY DOG’S BUTT HAIR. Because I love her.
Licorice wasn’t so impressed, by the way. She spent the entire time I was grooming her looking very put out, and then tried to eat the little pile of snarled butt-hairs I’d extracted. I am starting to think she might not be as smart as we’d originally thought.
Thing the third: Here’s the one you’ve been waiting for: Last night after dinner, the phone rang. It was Mr. PianoGuy, and he wanted to know if I had a couple of minutes to talk. I said sure. With great misery in his voice and amid starts and stops, he managed to say that it’s just been eating away at him, he thinks he owes me an apology, he was trying to say something else and it just came out all wrong, but he is so sorry that he said what he did about my family and me and Otto, it wasn’t what he meant and he wishes he could take it back.
I’m not going to lie, I was kind of impressed.
I thanked him for calling, and for the apology.
“I hope… well, I hope my having said that isn’t the reason you decided to stop lessons,” he said.
“Well, I have to be honest. It’s certainly part of it. But it’s more than that; they’re not enjoying it any more and I just think they need a break. Also, I think we need to try a different teacher. There’s something that’s not working there, anymore. You’ve taught them a lot and we appreciate it. But I think they need a different approach.”
He asked what I would change; I pointed out that Monkey, for sure, needs a gentler touch, and Chickadee’s resistance at this point tells me that she’s not motivated, either.
“I suppose that’s a failure on my part, too,” he said, sounding downright sad.
I thought to myself that HELL YES that was a failure on his part, but I also felt bad for him. He’d called. He’d apologized. I hadn’t expected him to even realize what he’d done, much less swallow his pride and try to make it right. So I replied, “Well, I think it’s a lot of factors. I don’t see it as a failure so much as just the current reality, and the reason doesn’t really matter.”
Had the conversation ended right there, I really would’ve felt badly about my prior diatribe and accompanying unkind thoughts.
Mr. PianoGuy couldn’t let it lie. The next thing he said was, “And… I know I said it wrong, I know I did, but what I was TRYING to say… I was trying to relate it to my childhood experience, and I didn’t say it right, but what I MEANT was that maybe Chickadee feels a tremendous amount of pressure to be perfect, you know, FOR Otto. Because she cares about him so much. That’s what I meant.”
Oh, Mr. PianoGuy. If only you’d quit while you were ahead! While the feet were out of your mouth!
I managed to keep my voice light and point out that Chickadee feels a tremendous amount of pressure to be perfect because she is a natural-born perfectionist despite anything anyone says or does, and thank you again for calling, we appreciate it.
[Otto: Do you think he read your blog?
Me: I… don’t think he does.
Otto: Then what do you suppose prompted that?
Me: Maybe he mentioned it to his wife and she was all YOU SAID WHAT??
Me: That’s how most men find out they’re wrong.
Me: I AM JUST SAYING.
Otto: I hear you just saying.]
And then, because I am a child, we called Chickadee downstairs. First, Otto apologized to her for breaking her home and told her that he hopes that someday she’ll be able to recover from the awfulness that is her current life, and she nodded along and did her best to look as pitiful as possible while agreeing that yes, it’s such a burden. And then I told her that Mr. PianoGuy had called and explained that actually what he MEANT was not that Otto was so awful, or anything, but that she probably felt TREMENDOUS PRESSURE to be perfect for Otto, and is that it, Honey? She nodded in agreement, then asked if he’d really said that. When I confirmed that he had, she slapped a hand to her forehead. “That is the dumbest thing I ever heard,” she said.
I have to say I hope that Chickie’s recital piece is stuck in Mr. PianoGuy’s head, too. Particularly if he’s been letting the Publix baggers load his groceries into his car.