Tag Archives: random conversations

Just a typical lunch conversation

10 Jun

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“Hey, do you want to see four dead mice and a dead chipmunk?” my dad asks while we’re eating lunch. I’ve just arrived in Michigan for my nephew’s graduation.

“Where are they?” I ask, thinking they’ve just been caught in a trap. “Attic? Garage?”

“Basement,” my mom says, with a roll of her eyes.

“Why do you have these in the basement?” I ask.

“I’m cultivating dermestid beetles,” my dad announces proudly.

“And why are you cultivating dermestid beetles?”

“So I’ll have enough to clean the deer skeleton I picked up,” he replies, as if it should’ve been obvious.

“And where is this deer skeleton?”

He stops eating and points at the floor.

“Under the porch?” I ask, now imagining a rotting carcass as I put a fork full of sauerkraut in my mouth.

He nods.

“Did you get the whole thing?” my mom asks, surprisingly supportive for someone who prides herself on an immaculate house.

“Close,” he says. “I was able to pick up almost everything but I think I missed a few ribs.”

There are a number of relevant questions… Where did he find this skeleton? What does he plan to do with it? Exactly how did he pick it up? How long has it been under the porch?

Instead, I settle on, “Isn’t it stinky?” since I’m now sniffing around like a pig seeking truffles.

“Nah,” he says. “The maggots did a pretty good job with it. The beetles are just to finish the job so it’s perfectly clean.”

Of course.

Isn’t this how YOUR visits home sound – or is your dad not a biologist?

I wonder if I’ll ever be this friendly.

18 Jul

"Excuse me. Can I bother you while we wait?"

Standing in line at Trader Joe’s this weekend, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “I don’t have my glasses,” the short older woman behind me said in a Long Island accent. “Can you tell me how much fat and sugar these have in them?” She gestured to a pack of muffins.

I obliged, and she looked horrified when I told her there were 26 grams of sugar in the muffins.

“I guess I’ll have to give them to my husband,” she recovered. I looked at her her plump figure: doubtful.

I would’ve returned to minding my business, but she felt compelled to give me a nutritional lesson. “Anything more than 9 grams of fat or 9 grams of sugar is just off limits. I mean, I think trans fats are bullshit, but otherwise, you just have to stay below nine.”

I nodded, as if I read nutritional labels for kicks, trying to conceal my stack of frozen mini tacos and eggrolls.

She took it in, then looked at me, changing the topic. “Are you going to the pool today?”

As it turns out, I was planning to go to the pool — to Alan’s pool, but still the question threw me. How random? I mean, how many people in DC have a pool to go to?

I said I was, and she responded, “It is pretty tough around 2pm. Just too intense. And the sun damage? Forget about it!”

I told her I wear SPF 70, a hat and sunglasses. She shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. The damage has already been done. I lived on a beach my whole life and if it weren’t for Botox – Thank God – I’d look like a crow.”

A leather satchel or a dried apple would’ve been a more apt comparison, since I don’t think of crows as looking particularly weathered. I’m guessing she meant some sort of “crow’s feet” reference.

Fortunately, before I could respond (presumably  she was fishing for a compliment or commiseration), one of the cashiers gave me a wave. “Next customer!”

Relieved, I turned to the woman and nodded, pleased at my restraint for resisting the urge to whisper, “caw, caw…” in farewell.