Sunday, February 8, 2009

A moment 40 years in the making.

Another great Walmart story.

I am there shopping with Jenna in one of the aisles. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a couple walking in the large aisle perpendicular to mine. They are in their mid 60's, retired, probably lower middle class, tightly permed hair on her, flannel jacket on him, totally disengaged from each other.

She walks up to the cart and tosses something in the cart without any care to where it lands. She does not meaningfully acknowledge her husband, who is pushing the cart, in any way.

"We're having tuna surprise for dinner tonight." she says at him.

(Really? Tuna Surprise?? Does anyone even MAKE that anymore?? And what, exactly, IS the surprise?? The tuna? the noodles? the some-kind-of-secret-ingredient? We used to have tuna noodle casserole at our house every once in a while when I was a kid and always liked it, not because I like tuna, but because it was one of the only dishes we ate that featured wavy noodles- not a common ingredient in the German food my grandmother cooked for us each night. But there was no surprise in our casserole, just tuna and cream of mushroom soup and the noodles, of course, and I think maybe peas. I am instantly fascinated by this conversation.)

And the husband, without moving a muscle on his face, without engaging with her, without thought or feeling or opinion or emotion, grunts like this under his breath: "Hmmph."

And I felt like I instantly knew what the last 40 years of their lives together has been like.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THIS was definitely a slice of life, blog-worthy scenario! I feel like I was THERE as you describe it. As Daddy said yesterday, YOU should be a writer-you are as good as Russell Banks! Love, Mommy