Betty Duffy

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A few weird things I've heard and seen this week

My dad helped chaperone a camp for Catholic boys, ages ten to eighteen. A priest leads the camp, and along with many retreat-like activities, the boys do outdoor adventures. One such adventure was a canoe trip down a muddy slow-flow river.

I can recall my college days, taking a similar canoe trip with my sorority sisters. We set off from the canoe launch with several rented canoes tied together so that we could more easily pass the beer from one boat to the next. We did zero paddling because the day was about soaking up the rays and the suds, and the slower we moved, the longer the party.

My guess is that this boys’ camp was a more wholesome affair, as at least one or two of the campers was considering the priesthood. The boys had pulled onto a sandbank to do some fishing. I believe the camp had a Lord of the Rings theme to it, so Father M must have been talking on some point or another about the book; maybe they were trying, like Gollum, to catch a fish with their bare hands, when shrieking downstream comes a flotilla of bikini-clad sorority girls.

They pulled up to shore alongside the sheepish campers (insert downcast eyes and sideways glances here), handed their camera to Father M (who was not in cassock and collar because it was a canoe trip), slung their arms over one another’s half naked bodies and said, “Can you take our picture?”

Got my haircut this afternoon at a new place out by my parents. Whenever I’m staking out a new haircutter, I look around at the stylists in the salon to get an idea of the kind of haircut I might expect. And one of the stylists had eighties hair, the big bangs, the long perm. She was giving someone a straightening treatment and saying, “You learn so much as you go along,” which might be the least assuring words to cross a hair-stylist’s lips.

I might have left the salon right then except that I don’t do that kind of thing, walk out on an appointment I’ve made, and I also noticed all the other stylists at their booths seemed a little annoyed by what she was saying, pinch-lipped and silent.

I had my head in the bowl, getting my hair washed, thinking, “This is worth whatever I’m going to end up paying for it,” when their lady with the eighties hair yelled across the salon: “Hey Jeannie, when the light comes in through that window, you look like a big lump of skin! It’s so weird what the sun will do to a scar.”

I looked up from my bowl to see if she really said what I thought she said. NO ONE in the salon acknowleged it. Whoever and wherever Jeannie was, she had no response to that statement. And I guess I don’t either. Just thought it was interesting. And actually, my haircut turned out kind of cute.

We’re having the wood floors refinished in our bedroom this week, so I’ve been staying at my parents’ house with the kids. The fumes are really unbearable. At night I can hear my parents talking in their bedroom in muffled tones. Mom’s high voice, Dad’s low, a steady back and forth. And I stand on the stairs like I did twenty years ago trying to make out what they’re saying. Are they talking about me? Are they annoyed with my dog? With my kids? With me?

How close can I get before the stairs creak and they know I’m listening? But damned if I can’t make out a word.

The guy who owns our local bakery, the one who stands in the back room of the shop over a vat of butter cream and long johns mixing up the days’ wares, Lenny is his name, and he packs a gun in his apron.


Emily J. said...

You never know when you might have to shoot someone.

karyn said...

I remember how soothing it was as a child to hear my parents' voices going back and forth as I waited for sleep. I sometimes wonder if my children are reassured listening to my husband and I putter around the house, discussing the day, cleaning the last dishes, etc.