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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ma'am, Do You Have a Permit to Carry That?


A re-worked re-post from last April...

Sometimes, on the bus, you want to look anywhere but, oh, aheadup, or over there. The antics of human beings, even if said beings are fascinating creatures and our brothers and sisters in a Brotherhood of Man sort of way (a phrase I always see in my head as capitalized, no doubt because of my hippie-infused, 70s-style education) sometimes do not bear close inspection.

Not that I’m judging.

Still. It’s a city bus, and when you can no longer bear noticing that little Ray-Ray’s being supplied a baby bottle full of Tahitian Treat, that the guy at the front of the bus just may have a sinus infection of some sort, or that the girl standing in the aisle next to you is wearing a stained pair of pants whose bottom ironically proclaims itself “Juicy”, then you do, no doubt, what generations of cave men did before you.

You go searching through your purse.

How long, for example, has this receipt been here? Did I really buy a pound of bridge mix? Whose phone number is this? Should I call it? How old is this gum?

And where did I get this rock?

It’s a rock. I stare at it, careful not to pull it out of my purse, fearful that it be deemed a weapon by some heretofore missing Bus Security.

It is the rock my father gave to me for Easter.

“Pearl, Pearl,” he proclaims, enjoying himself. “Your mother and I have too much stuff for the house but not enough for a garage sale. You want any of this?”

Hmm. A sun hat. A pair of shoes. Drinking glass holders that screw into the ground. A popcorn popper.

And a rock.

“What the –“

“Isn’t that nice?” Dad holds it up, examines your standard sedimentary rock. “Your mother just loves rocks, you know.” He shouts into the kitchen. “Isn’t that right, Midge? Don’t you just love rocks?”

“For cryin’ out loud, Paul,” my mother bellows back. “You’re gonna make the cat go into labor.”

As a quick aside, it appears Midge’s Home for Wayward Kittehs is back in business. The current abandoned cat, a sleek black teenager who goes on to have a litter of five two days later spends the day waddling from outstretched hand to outstretched hand, hoping that a slice of ham will fall from it.


I pick the rock up. I suspect my love of rocks is an inherited condition, like high arches or chancre sores. There were large walls made entirely of rocks at my grandparents’ farm. My mother, sister, and I all have rock arrangements in our gardens.

“I’ll take the rock,” I say, shoving it into my purse.

“Pearl’s taking the rock, Mumma!” my dad yells.

“That’s great, Paul,” my mother deadpans. “You feel free to keep that to yourself now.”

My dad winks at me, places an index finger along the side of his nose in an old-school sign of acknowledgement. “She loves it, your mother. She loves when I yell at her from another room.”

And here on the bus, the rock is still in my purse, and I find myself smiling absentmindedly.

I got a rock for Easter.

21 comments:

Pat said...

Now see Pearl this is where a kindle would come in handy - on the bus.
Please put that rock down!

esbboston said...

I used to collect rocks for one of my students a long time ago. At least I now know what to send you for gifts on religious holidaze. I have a few pretty rocks myself.

Beach Bum said...

Old married folks are a hoot, except for my in-laws. My recently departed dad-in-law and still lively and moving to a retirement home mom-in-law use to yell at each other from across their house. Far from being a comfortable show of affection after years of living together their exchanges while so tense I half expected knives to be pulled at any minute.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Now you have a Pet Rock. What more could you ask? You should be a prospector. You could find a lot more Pet Rocks. ":) ~R

powdergirl said...

Funny about people and rocks, I think every one loves them. Our beach has a wide stretch of small rock that washes up at the foreshore, no one ever goes down there without picking up a few rocks and examining them, sometimes they put them in their pockets, and sometimes they put them back on the beach, but everyone has a look at a few that catch their eye. I could look at rocks all day : )

Camille said...

Heavens...I collect rocks too. Not large ones mind you - just small and cute little chunks to remind me of a lovely spot on planet earth. I'm so proud of you for outing your rock obsession - I'm still a bit in the closet but you've give me courage. Hello; my name is Camille - and I collect rocks....

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

A rock AND a memory.

terlee said...

At least it's not fattening, like everything else at Easter.

Friko said...

What's not to like about that?

A rock is a wonderful present. You can hold it, weigh it, throw it at someone you hate, chuck it into a puddle to spatter the clothes of someone just walking past.

Or you can sit in a bus and smile at it, in memory of the good time when your silly dad gave it to you.

fishducky said...

This reminded me of PEANUTS' Charlie Brown getting a rock in his Christmas stocking.

R. Jacob said...

I am betting that somewhere in the bowels of the purse, there is tucked away a little kitchen sink!
with working faucet...

Belle said...

I love this story because of the interaction between your parents and rocks. I love rocks, my daughter Christine loves rocks, her daughter Cherish loves rocks. We are the only ones. Why? No clue.

Linda Myers said...

Just yesterday I found a rock on the dining room windowsill. I didn't remember where I got it. Neither did my husband.

So I threw it outside.

I should have sent it to you.

jenny_o said...

Rocks - free, solid in the hand, emergency weapon and/or hammer, and a little piece of the big rock we live on. What's not to like?

Happy Easter!

Jadzia@Toddlerisms said...

I love the "your mother loves it when I yell across the house" line. My husband will undoubtedly be whipping that one out someday, twenty or thirty years from now. Unbeknownst to him, however, I will have my trusty rock at the ready.

The Elephant's Child said...

Rock fetish in this house too.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Wonderful post, Pearl, with all my favorite elements of your stories -- bus, cats and parents! And an Easter rock! Perfect!!

IndigoWrath said...

I got a duck. He's doing well. Hey, a duck that good-looking, you don't eat it all at once, right?

Gigi said...

Reminds me of all the rocks that my little guy used to "collect" and ask me to hold in my pocket or purse.

Come to think of it, he *may* have come by his rock-loving honestly.

Linda O'Connell said...

You rock! Your father and my husband actually BELIEVE that we women like it when they shout across the house. When I shout AT mine, he says, "Whatttt?" But, if I whisper ABOUT him, he can hear every word :)

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

That's when you need to take up crochet! One hook, some yarn and it's off to your favorite zone. :o) At least that's what I'd do. But then again I'm a hooker and that's what I do, although I don't ride the bus. I've had rocks in my purse too before....isn't that what purses are for? Everything but the kitchen sink!! :o)