Thursday, August 03, 2006


today's philly moment: i'm only allowed to go out after dark or before about noon during this heatwave, so this morning, i stopped into the drugstore around the corner from my place to pick up something up right quick. as i started toward the register, i noticed that the lady at the counter was working on a crossword puzzle. she took her time putting the paper down to get to me. i stood there patiently and waited for her to ring me through. it reminded me of being down south, 'cause folks there just don't rush to do everything as much as they do here. in the northeast cities, we walk, talk, think and move faster, even if we don't have to. so when this lady didn't get right to me, it didn't bother me so much (since it's too hot to be in a rush anyway). she started to ring me through, over her puzzle, and then asked me:

"do you know how to spell hieroglyphic?"

i told her that i did, and she gave me the pen and pushed the puzzle toward me to fill out the word. she'd already put in the h-i-e-r-o into the first few boxes, and i looked at the other boxes to see if the rest of the word fit. nope, it didn't. i told her that the i-c wouldn't fit, and that maybe the word was just hieroglyph. she had the word spelled correctly in the top margin of the paper, and i told her to leave off the end and see if it worked.

i noticed that she'd finished ringing me through, had given me my change, and that it was time to go.

"good luck with that. i don't fool with those things."

she laughed that conspiratorial yeah-girlfriend laugh we learn from our mothers and aunties, and i headed out.

it didn't occur to me until i was outside of the store that i sounded real country when i said my last few words, as if her leisurely pace reached into me and pulled out the chesterfield county accent that surrounds me everytime i go down home. in any case, don't let it be said that folks here are automatons who don't know how to be friendly.