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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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...

19 comments:

Shelly said...

You are a master at picking up on all those almost hidden nuances of speech~ :)

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

It happens. We all get screwed in Roseville.
And the drive-thru.
"They'll *bleep* ya in the drive-thru!"

Steve said...

Willie sounds like a character

jenny_o said...

Poor Willie. Although, he should KNOW you by now, and realize that if you're smiling, he's probably just said something really good. And publishable.

vanilla said...

Oh, Roseville is the place to be in the almost-Springtime!

Delores said...

If I was Willie I wouldn't talk around you.... still, I like your idea of saying less than half of what you are thinking. I don't know if I could restrain myself. I've tried with little success.

Franklin Bruce Taylor said...

Willy, boy, y'better watch yourself around Pearl.

Jono said...

Come to think of it, I never did get screwed in Roseville. Damn!

Leenie B said...

I don't care how much you say or how much you listen as long as you keep writing down and sharing good stuff like that.

HermanTurnip said...

Ah Willie...I find that I have to consciously enforce that brain/mouth filter, otherwise bizarre thoughts get transmitted to others without my realizing it.... ;-)

Jen said...

I say less than half of what I think ... and I STILL talk too much.

Nessa Locke said...

Priceless.

Linda O'Connell said...

You are my jolt of coffee, punch line, make me laugh out loud favorite blogger.

Pat Tillett said...

Shoot, I don't even know where Roseville is. One thing I do know, is that Willie is a player...

lgsquirrel said...

Haha. Wonder what else you have written in that book?

Daisy said...

That Willie is a sly one. :)

Diane Tolley said...

So many hidden things come out in heavy traffic.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

If you say half of what you are thinking, you will leave a lot of people scratching their heads. That right there is exactly how people become enigmas. Which is on my resolution list. Note to self: Say half of what you are thinking. Maybe 25% in your case.

Daisy said...

Didn't you take the bus that day? Or is Willie your bus driver?