I like you just a smidge more now. Just a smidge.
This IS a love letter, balv, and it’s nice.
I was just thinking about this anecdote of mine from a past job, thought you might like it. When I started the job before last I had a cubicle and I decorated it with, among other things, a signed copy of this record insert. Now, I don’t actually look anything like Kat Day from obscure UK duo The KVB, but by the time a THIRD person came up and started talking to me about this record sleeve it occurred to me that somehow the entire office had come to the conclusion that this was, in fact, a photo of me (!!!) and that I apparently liked this photo of myself (!!!) so much that I signed it (!!!) and HUNG IT IN MY DESK TO LOOK AT ALL DAY. I was mortified.
you have hairy arms
One hairy arm.
All I see is a blur.
click on it…it’s “spoiler’ed”
I also have a bad habit of putting my foot in my mouth. This happened February of last year.
Three of my kids had been sleeping in my bed pretty much every night since their mom died in May of '19. It was as much for me as it was them. I couldn’t stand being in there alone.
The cramped quarters were wreaking havoc on my back and it was just time. As much as I knew it was going to hurt; it was just time. Getting them out was proving to be a daunting task. I tried everything and nothing was working. I decide to buy the three little ones new beds. Well, I also decided to purchase myself one too. I thought a fresh start with fun new beds might do the trick. I go into a locally owned furniture shop. It’s a big place consisting of multiple buildings divided by which room you are looking to furnish. I remember what I was wearing. I was wearing an old bootleg Cibo Matto t-shirt and a denim jacket. No one helped me for 20 minutes. They even had an “bell” that would sound when someone would open the door. I know this because it opened four other times and those admittedly more respectable looking patrons were seen to almost immediately. Also, the clothing thing isn’t super important. But in my head I am thinking that these fuckers are judging me based on what I am wearing…or they hate Cibo Matto. I don’t know how anyone else is wired, but when shit like that happens to me I stage my retribution in my head. I typically concoct how, in a perfect world, I will detonate and if the detonation doesn’t go how I wanted, I relive that shit and think about what I should have said for the rest of my life. In my head I am adding up the money they are missing out on and how I am going to waste their time and then let them know. I get frustrated and approach this fairly, um, paunchy 20-something year old woman who was sitting behind her desk the whole fucking time. She was wearing a purple shirt that accentuated folds that don’t want to be accentuated. She also had a bag of Christmas Oreos on her desk. In February. Honestly, none of this matters.
I politely ask “do you guys sell stuff here?” She apologizes and calls for someone to come help me. Which means I am right. Everything in my head has been right. The owner of the place comes and helps me. He had shoes like Frankenstein’s Monster if the monster was solely (no pun intended) concerned with comfort. They were so wide! Like a sensible Nanook of the North snow shoe. He also apologizes for the lack of attention. Because I am dumb, he easily smooths things over by giving me some jalapeno strawberry preserves made by some Amish people that also make two of the beds I am wanting to buy. Keep in mind, these were two of the beds that before the Amish Smucker’s olive branch offering I was going to tell them they were missing out on selling. I still haven’t touched that jar, which only goes to show how much of a paper tiger I can be. I tell him what I am doing there. He is confused because typically people don’t buy 4 new beds. I explain the situation and he is more than happy to help. He turns out to be a sweet guy. Soooo sweet. He even explained his need for the diabetic shoes. We walk around and I tell him what I want. I forgot to mention this part- I probably smell like whiskey. At the time I wasn’t in a good place and I thought whiskey would help give me the courage to actually do something to help us move forward. It did and I stand by that decision. So we walk around and I point at shit like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I ask how long it would take for delivery. He checks his inventory. He informs me that two of the four beds, both of which happen to be the Amish fusion chef beds, aren’t in stock. I guess he wasn’t expecting me to Rumspringa that on him. Because I was already in my head about this whole endeavor, I ask him “If they are on the floor, doesn’t that mean they are in stock?” He explains why he can’t sell me the floor models but he relents. He tells me that he can deliver three of the four that night. He tells me that him and his delivery guys will deliver and assemble the beds after they close. I tell him that I will get them pizza.
They arrive. It’s him, a woman, and two teenagers. One a boy and the other a girl in a walking boot brace. He introduces me. The woman, whose face made Melania Trump’s look natural, is his wife. Her face was so tight she could blink her asshole. She seems annoyed to be there with her husband. She never explicitly said it, nor implied it, but he definitely doesn’t go down on her. They just have THAT kind of vibe to them. Or maybe he does and it’s all flat-tongued. I don’t know. The two teenagers were his kids. The son was on the spectrum (dad’s words, not mine) and the daughter wasn’t (again, dad’s words…not mine). I jokingly say they are the Von Trapp family of furniture. The son tells me, pretty emphatically, “We aren’t trapped!” Know the room. They get shit in and start assembling. According to his dad, his son is like a furniture savant. Like a Rain Man of oak. The son has a discussion with his younger sister about bolts. He’s charming in an exact opposite of Meade kind of way. He does lose his shit on his mom at one point. I think it had something to do with the ratchet straps and the way she was rolled them up. At the time it made sense to me, now I’m not so sure. The daughter tells me that she saw me looking at a loft bed earlier. The wife thanks me for the pizza. She tells me it’s nice not to have to go out for dinner. She says they only have a microwave at home so they go out to dinner every night. The proprietor chimes in and says “Oh, did I tell you I live at the store?” I, again, because I am dumb, ask “Oh, you’re like Geppetto?” Honestly, it didn’t matter what he said next because I knew that I said something dumb. Instantly. The fairly solid Von Trapp family quip didn’t land, why would this? First of all, it’s a Pinocchio joke. Secondly, I don’t know their situation. Thirdly, it’s a fucking Pinocchio joke. The dad wearing the shoes says, and not in a shitty way, says “I don’t know who that is…did he lose his home in a house fire too?” I obviously feel like shit.
By the way…I might have spent 3-5 minutes trying to think of the word “accentuate.”
Aww. Another great story.
You helped his family by buying those beds and he helped your family move on from a tragedy just a little bit.
god damn it nick. these are gold. keep em coming!
i had to google cibo matto
Midwest sounds brutal, Nick. Do people not watch Disney films or have Disney + there? Excellent tale, though.
How long was the awkward silence after that…?
I watch a lot of French TV (we have a subscription) and some of the programming is from Belgium, and noticeably different in style and types of people. I have taken to calling Belgium ‘France’s Indiana’.
odd. i would not have thought that. beligium is fucking bad ass and one of my favorite countries/places
I don’t think the silence was too long. Long enough to make me feel like shit though. I explained the joke which obviously means it wasn’t a good joke. The “crew” came back a week later to deliver my bed. They came bearing gifts.
I could write a lot more about their family dynamic. The son left his coat behind at my house. Three candy canes fell out of the pocket when I picked it up. The dad was super kind to me…not so much to his kids. Despite his son’s wizardry, he instructed him in a very stern demanding voice. He acted like his daughter was of little help. Keep in mind, she had a fucking walking boot and was awaiting surgery. The kids seemed culty. Like they were way too enthusiastic to be in a stranger’s house and away from the compound. The daughter especially. His wife talked as if she had taken more Xanax than me. Her face had been subjected to extensive plastic surgery. Fuck, just saying that right now makes me feel shitty. Maybe her OG face was burned in their house fire. They were weird. Possibly my favorite thing about them was that they drove a box truck to my house. That means that they rode four wide in a normal cab truck.
I understand that none of these stories have a “redemption arc.” I’m working on that.
I love pepper jams and jellies. Also, it appears you’re kind of a dick, Sir.
I’m kind of addicted to amish apple butter.
Apple butter is the jam. See what I did there?