Saturday, May 23, 2009

These are the people in my neighborhood

Saturday morning. Early. Tim Hortons is the first stop on the garage sale tour. We then hit the sales, me with coffee in one hand, bagel in the other.

Every other person who sees me says, "Ooh. Coffee! Got one for me?" And all those who don't, say instead, "Ooh! Bagel! Where's mine?"

Oh how I must laugh and laugh and laugh at all this crazy Canadian Tim Horton humour. It's how Canadians spend most of their days. Either buying Tim Horton products or making these jokes.

Strangely I fall out of the mood by about the fourth garage sale. Still I have found no books.

"Ooh! Coffee!" says vendor man number four. "Where's mine?"

"Sorry," I say, dryly. "This was their last one."

"Well give me the coffee and I'll give you great deals!"

"You have no deals for me," I say. "You don't have what I want."

"What are you looking for?"


He laughs out loud. "Do I look like the kind of guy who reads books?"

"No, you don't," I say flatly, looking at him as I would a bug on my dinner.

"I had a stack of Maxims," he says as I turn and walk away. He cries, "That's reading material!"

Later I'm babysitting little Stella the dog while Cap'n Vino and Professor Plonk go wine hunting with Tasty Scortez (formerly known as Doc Swallows). Stella needs to pee. I need a coffee but these bastards have no coffee cream in the house. We head out for a walk.

"Hi there!" says Three-Doors-Down-Lady. Stella heaves on the leash. She will apparently die if she does not immediately leap into the arms of the neighbor.

"Do you know this dog?" I ask.

"Do I know this dog!" she cries. "Hahahahahaha!"

"Hi Stella!" she says as they finally embrace. They then have a rather one-sided conversation about the dog biscuits on hand and Stella's health and the explanation as to why Stella will not be receiving a biscuit on this day.

"Oh!" says Three-Doors-Down-Lady, finally looking up at me. "You must be [Professor Plonk's] brother!"

"No. Just a friend."

"I thought you were Plonk at first. You look so similar. You have the same hair."

As my hair is fine and blond and Plonk's is thick and black - I see exactly what she means. And of course, I have a beard and Plonk does not so of course - the resemblance must be startling to those without a very clever eye.

"Do you know if there's a variety store within walking distance?"

"Closest one is Jug Milk. It's that way," she says and points. "What do you need?"

"Cream for coffee."

"Oh, I've got cream. I'll give you some."

"No, that's okay. I want to buy my own. It tastes better when you pay for it."

"Hang on," she says and disappears inside the house. Stella is freaking out trying to figure out where the damn biscuits are.

She returns with a big plastic dairy jug and hands it to me. It's almost entirely empty. And it appears not to be cream but milk.

"Oh wait," she says and takes it back. "It's not clean." She disappears again and returns with the jug which is now somewhat watery and less milky. "There you go," she says, handing me the jug back. "They'll give you a quarter for it."

'Ooh,' I'm thinking. 'I hope it's a shiny one.' I guess she just hates anyone leaving her place empty handed - be they human or canine. Or else she thinks I'm a street person. Come to think of it, I hadn't time to shower yet today.

"So the Jug Milk - it's within walking distance, is it?"

"No," she says, "Not really."

I thank her and tell her it was nice meeting her and say goodbye. I drop the jug in the bed of the truck, enter the house and lock the door. I decide I can do without the coffee. I've been woken up sufficiently.

Next time I'll tell you about the dentist and the bus driver and the chick with the purple face.

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