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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Not During Rush Hour, Buddy


The traffic is horrendous.

“What do you suppose is going on,” he says, frowning slightly.  It’s the kind of statement not entirely directed at me, although it’s taken years to recognize this.  While he has been known, of course, to speak to me, Willie also speaks aloud to himself, the cat (who rarely deigns to respond) and the flower boxes (“Who would like a little water?  You?  Would you like a little water?  Of course you would…”)

‘Rhetorical’, I say to myself, and then say nothing.  I’ve been practicing this lately, saying less and listening more.  It’s a foreign concept to this extravert, and I fight the urge to mention my new-found reticence, judging correctly, I think, that this would go against my carefully cultivated introspection.

“Look at this. Mm mm mmm.  I can’t even change lanes.”  Willie, a man who rarely works his way up to an exclamation point, is genuinely concerned with the state of the roadways, as are all right-thinking Minnesotans at this time of year.  Spring, after all, is a many splendored thing, taking away snow and leaving behind pot holes.

“It’s Roseville,” I say.  “There’s something wrong with the roads here.”  I frown, then quickly un-frown.  One of my New Year’s Resolutions, just ahead of “Dash More, Plop Less” and just after “Be More Onomatopoeic”, is “Frowning Gives You Wrinkles – Cut it Out”. 

I pull out my book, the one I keep in my purse.    What would happen, I write, if I said less than half of what I was thinking?

“There’s something about the entrance ramps,” Willie says, almost to himself.  “You just can’t – ugh – get – hmm – over.”

With this last word, he is finally able to move into the lane he wants.  Grinning, he waves to the person behind him via the rearview mirror:  Thanks, buddy.

He looks over at me.  “That was easy,” he says.  “Normally, I get screwed in Roseville.”

And I smile, silently take out my book again.

Willie, I write, smiling maniacally, is coming on to me in traffic...

31 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Hey...what gives...you're not on the bus? I wonder what WOULD happen if I said less than half of what I was thinking? Hmmmm.

Pearl said...

Delores, sometimes, a gal's just got to get somewhere not on the bus line. :-)

Jackie said...

I'm going to ponder, "What would happen if I said less than half of what I was thinking?"
I need to do more of that....

Vicus Scurra said...

Sublime

Lorna said...

I love this style of writing.

bill lisleman said...

" I said less than half of what I was thinking" Pearl if you write a guide about this idea I would buy it for my wife. Actually if it was hardcover I might not since that would hurt my face. Paperback would be ok.

terlee said...

Too funny...and so glad Willie is flirting with you in Roseville.

(I should know by now not to have a mouthful of coffee when I read your posts)

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Big pot-hole problem in England too after unusually snowy winter and wet summer. (Though where I live, we have missed out on the snow.)

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
The trouble with saying is that in that moment we are rarely thinking...

Fantastic thinking here, 'cos writing lends itself to that. Thinking. Then writing. Works well. It's practice for when we have to actually do the saying.

Okay YAM, time to stop that. It's Pearl's place... shoulda thought o' that afore ye started sayin'...

jenny_o said...

But it's so dang DIFFICULT to stop saying what we're thinking, or is that just me? SO difficult.

If we said less than half of what we are thinking, our brains will explode. That's what will happen.

Just don't stop writing it down, please!

vanilla said...

Riding with Willie would be a blast, but riding along inside your head, oh, my!

Susan Kane said...

Your stream of consciousness must be amazing or appalling, which one? Oh, maybe brilliant. We'll never know.

klahanie said...

Hey Pearl,

Good thing I'm sitting comfortably. No mention of a bus and all things Metro! Are you okay? :)

Why do they call it "rush hour", Pearl? If anything, it's the opposite.

Yes, still your starstruck fan!

Gary :)

Joanne Noragon said...

I know a Willie, my brother-in-law. He quietly talks through life. "Would you like some food in the bowl?" to a cat food dish with no cat in sight. "Now how do you use this?" to a new can in the grocery store.

Hannah Denski said...

How funny, I mostly think to myself of only I said at least half of what I think...world would be a different place.

Easy rider, eh?

: ) x

Shelly said...

I'm here late after hours of mind-eroding testing, but I have to say your ending made me snort, and so loudly a person from the hall looked in to be sure I was OK.

Scarlet Blue said...

I keep my eyebrows raised in a surprised manner at all times to keep the frown lines at bay... and then grow my fringe long to disguise my strange expression.
It's complicated, this growing old business.
Sx

Kana said...

Good gravy, you say at least half your thoughts aloud? Your communication skills must be off the CHART. Low self-esteem helps me hold my tongue -- except, notably, on the bloggernet. If I did do that, though, I strongly suspect I wouldn't have any time left to actually DO any of the things I'd mentioned. You must be a miracle of multitasking as well.

Eva Gallant said...

Just don't ever stop writing what you're thinking! The blog world would be a wasteland!

Mr. Charleston said...

Onomatopoeic?? What the heck Pearl! Are trying to keep us confused or just pulling our lariats? No wonder Willie is coming on to you, who could resist an Onomatopoeic?

Gigi said...

If I said ANY of what I was thinking most of the time I'd probably be run out of town. But to be fair, what I'm thinking is usually true and applies to those that would run me out of town.

Daisy said...

My husband talks to himself all the time. It drives me crazy when he does that. :-)

sage said...

I don't know what would happen if you said 1/2 of what you thought but I know if you wrote 1/2 of what your write, we'd be deprived.

HermanTurnip said...

More power to Willie for being a "waver". I wish more people joined us in thanking those who let us squeeze in front of 'em. The world, I think, would be a much nicer place if people waved to each other more...

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

You know what gets me about "rush hour" is that everyone is is such a rush and that it takes them longer to get were they are going.....

Rose L said...

OHHH! So you write fiction! LOL

Elephant's Child said...

I do like Waving Willie. And I should say much less than half of what I am thinking. Much.

River said...

I'm not a talker, so I ALWAYS say less than half of what I'm thinking. That's probably a good thing, given what some of my thoughts are.

Mitchell is Moving said...

I myself have never been screwed in Roseville.

Linda O'Connell said...

You always have to be on the lookout. Sounds like Willy gives you lots of material.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Yes, always in Roseville, not so much by Eagan.