An Ode to My Forearms

Yesterday, my sister took me rock climbing for a late birthday present.  When I first walked in, there were summer camp kids climbing the easiest walls, and some guys, ripped and shirtless, climbing the most difficult walls.  They had some pretty cool tats and some pretty cool moves.  I was very intimidated.  After a while, I got over my embarrassment and climbed the easier walls until my hands just couldn’t handle it anymore.

This morning, I woke up, and my arms were gone.  (I’m typing with my nose right now, so if there are any typos, please forgive me.)  Rock climbing strained my forearms so much that they packed up my bones and ligaments, and convinced my hands to crawl off into the night.  I’m pretty good at opening doors with my foot, so I didn’t have much trouble getting out of the house, but driving was quite difficult.  Thankfully, I didn’t get pulled over for being an armless driver.  My knees were sufficient. 

But really, my arms hurt.  A lot.  When I tried to squeeze toothpaste onto my toothbrush, I kept saying “ouch, ouch, ouch…”  It was pathetic.  As I drove to a meeting, I tried to use my fingers as little as possible, so that my forearms wouldn’t commit suicide or divorce my elbows.  They are feeling a bit better now, so I’m sure they won’t leave me yet. 

Moral of the story: Appreciate your forearms.  You never realize how much they do for you until they suddenly hand you a resignation letter and leave in the middle of the night. 

Just In: Mr. Barista Longs for Lover’s Lane

One lazy afternoon I was determined to people watch, so I settled down in a busy coffee shop. I read a book, edited my story, and observed the flux of caffeine addicts.

After I edited a page of my story, a man sat on my left. Later, another man sat on my right. They apprently were co-workers, and were surprised to see each other. They started talking across me—stats, customer relations, graphic design. I was caught in the crossfire as they talked shop. Eventually, one of them realized how sandwiched I was. He stood and walked over to his co-worker to continue the conversation.

The most interesting event of the afternoon, however, occured much earlier.

When I walked in, the barista was talking with a customer—apparently a friend—saying that they needed to hang out soon. The friend agreed, and taking his girlfriend’s hand, picked up his drink and walked out. When I ordered my drink, Mr. Barista was still distracted. He over charged me, but thankfully caught his mistake. Poor Mr. Barista spent a few minutes trying to open the cash register again. He hid flustered nerves under a thin layer of professionalism.

My theory is that Mr. Barista doesn’t see his friend very often, and was surprised to see him with his girlfriend. Since Mr. Barista was dumped a few months ago, he’s naturally a little bit jealous. As all of this churned about in his mind, he messed up my order. He likes his job and takes it seriously, so he didn’t want to flaunt such a mistake in front of his manager. First he tried to fix it by himself, but then he had to ask where to find the key to the cash register. In the end, he recovered and diligently took my order and then went to wash windows.

Sarah the Sleuth strikes again. Of course, the entire backstory is imagined, but it’s entertaining at least.

[Mysterious profile is provided by an obliging friend]

Fresh Raspberries

Yesterday I dropped into the grocery store to buy some raspberries and saw a little old lady, whose middle aged daughter was helping her shop. As the lady walked by, she looked up at me. She said, “you’re pretty,” and kept walking. I was so surprised that I could barely say “thank you.” As I stood in line, grinning from ear to ear, the daughter smiled back at me. Thanks little old lady; you made my day.

A Tottering Tragedy

In Albertson’s, the express line was backed up by a tottering man who reeked of alcohol and urine. As the second person in line, I received the apologetic and worried glances from the cashier—a girl about my age. Poor dear. She told the man several times, “swipe your card again,” and he would hunch, pull his shirt up, pull it down, and try again. He fumbled with the card, with the machine, and with the little numbers you punch your pin into.

After a while, the girl called a manager, who came over and observed the situation. As the man attempted to slide his card yet again, he was told, “sir, we don’t sell alcohol to people already under the influence.” And with that he tottered out. The girl was very relieved. The manager gently scolded her, telling her that she should always call if someone like that came in. With a smile and a shaky laugh, she looked at me and said, “poor guy.” As I walked out, I heard her tell the young man bagging the groceries, “I didn’t want to call, because I didn’t know if he had some shaking problem.”

With people watching, you find quirks, attitudes and tragedies. The man was repulsive, but the girl felt sorry for him. She gave him the benefit of the doubt, even though he was obviously drunk. I wonder how the man became like that. He looked like he was forty. After many years of attempting to make something of his life, he was left attempting to buy more liquid death at the grocery store.