First, a poor excuse for an update on my last post. I still don’t know much more about what happened across the street last Wednesday. I haven’t seen our neighbors’ grandson, which unsettles me, but I also haven’t seen any relevant fire call or death notices in the paper. *shudder* The adults have been around, and nobody seems particularly distressed or out of sorts, which is a good sign, I suppose. But we’re not exactly dealing with well-balanced individuals here. So I’ll have to touch base with some of my friends in social services and the local police department to see if any light can be shed. (We civil servants travel in packs. And our name is Legion…)
On to the rest of the circus. Saturday my best friend and I attended the Wausau Art Festival, which was much more of an actual Festival With Capital Letters than we’d anticipated. We had no idea where to park or where the main festivities were happening. So we had to play lemmings for a while, following the rest of the herd toward the hum of electricity and voices. Luckily, we didn’t end up at a Baptist revival but at a place that served glorious fried foodstuffs and meat products on sticks and caramel apples and enough cotton candy to induce twitching until Yom Kippur.
The day was a success: clear skies, sun, moderately-priced yet fun home décor, live music, dozens of talented artists displaying their work, and I think I already mentioned the fried foodstuffs. So I should have known that the night would be a smashing disappointment.
The night actually culminated with my decision to never again patronize one of the major grocery stores in my city. But it began with something that seemed like a good idea at the time: hey, let’s make Bloody Marys! But we don’t want to go to a bar and order a Bloody Mary like a normal person. Mostly because we feel fat, our outfits might lead one to believe that Phil Collins’ “Don’t Care Any More” is our closet’s National Anthem, and our hair smells and looks like vomit on a school bus. So let’s make Bloody Marys in the comfort of our own home!
Since we didn’t have any of the key ingredients (the first sign of a bad idea), I had to leave the comfort of my home to seek them out in the community. So off I zipped to a local grocery store to buy tomato juice, vodka, garlic, Tabasco sauce, pickles, olives, celery salt, and celery. (We already had Worcester sauce. You know, to season all the dead animals I don’t eat.)
And guess what? The store was OUT OF CELERY. What kind of grocery store is out of celery? A grocery store that hates vegetables and the people who eat them, that’s what kind. And guess what else? I had to stand in line* behind the entire population of Houston, which had conspired to drive to Wisconsin to stock up on a month’s worth of groceries that very night at this particular store. So I got in line with my basket of Bloody Mary fixings, an eternity of space, time, and annoyance stretching between me and delicious, spicy intoxication.
But what was this? An empty check-out lane right next to this Soviet-era bread line? My heart soared as it did when I discovered I’d lost five pounds from the flu last winter. I left my place in line with a bounce in my step, dancing my way to the empty check-out lane. I was giddy with excitement. How could this lane be empty? I chuckled to myself at the failure of my fellow shoppers’ powers of observation. Ha! Ha! Silly sheeple, I thought. I scoff at your willingness to trade valuable time and energy for an evening shifting your weight back and forth as you wait in line to pay for your Lunchables and Captain Crunch.
And then I saw the sign. “Alcohol-free lane.” The clerk smirked as my smile fell off my face and the lightness fled my step. I peered into the gaping maw of disappointment. So THIS is how it feels to be a Packer fan this season!
By the time I left the store, I’d witnessed an irrational argument between the man in line behind me and a clerk over this “alcohol-free” lane policy. I’d also grown eligible to collect Social Security and developed four new age spots, cankles, mild arthritis, high blood pressure, and inexplicably, restless leg syndrome. I have much to ask my doctor about.
So how were the Bloody Marys? Well, take my advice. Don’t add creamy horseradish, extra lemon, or lime-flavored pickles to your concoction. Just stick to the basics.
Later this week: fun things to do, see, taste, smell, or hear this fall. They have nothing to do with Regis Philbin, I promise.
*Is it “on line” or “in line?” Have I just fallen victim to another Wisconsinism?