Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Neato Bandito

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where the only thing you blurt-out is "neato" - or some such nonsense word - every time you open your mouth? This happens on occasion, especially when I can't think of any other words to say to the "Thanksgiving Blessing" lady in frozen foods.

You see, I decided to go with frozen pearl onions this Thanksgiving. Maybe that's where I went wrong. Last year I made my Nana's creamed onions from scratch scratch - I got fancy and blanched the skins off. Did everything short of growing the onion stalks myself. (They are stalks, right?) But too much hassle this year, so off I went, down the frozen food aisle.

And as my onion hunt began, a lady over by the frozen fish kept eyeing me. The first time I walked by her (yes, there's a second time), she said to me, "Look at you. Good for you. Blessings to you." Good for me? Whatevs. But I'll take it.

However, I made the mistake of walking by her again. (Why can't frozen pearl onions be next to Ben and Jerry's? At least I know my way around ice cream.) And that's when she made a move and put her arm around me, saying, "You sure do light up this place. Can I give you a Thanksgiving blessing?"

And then all of my "neatos" came loose.

Well actually, my thoughts came loose first, "Okay, I guess a Thanksgiving blessing is fine. But will this take long? Could you make it short, lady? Because, uh... I have a plane to catch, a text to read. I'm running out of juice. I'm tired, hungry, sick. Swine flu. Bird flu. I don't speak English. Don't understand English."

And then out came my string of "neatos." I said "that's neato" and "okay, neato" and "oh wow, neato" and every variation thereof in between all her little bits of advice and blessings and warnings. My best one being: "Omigosh, that's super neato."

Somebody really needed to stop me. But this lady was so intense. One of those "big personality" types.  She left me practically speechless, sending my brain directly to my one default word - a word that never fails to leave me: neato. It's right up there with "thing" - as in, "please get my thing over by the thing."

And after all the well-wishes upon my life, she went on to tell me how I don't need to read any book but the Bible, but then suggested I buy this one book for $10 that talks about how the Bible is the only book I should read. (Hmmm. Sometimes I get confused about what irony means, but this lady cleared things up a bit.)

Which is funny because the Bible is my favorite book of all books. Oh I have my close seconds, but it's my "if-you-were-on-a-deserted-island-and-had-only-one-book" book. That, and chapstick.

So as things were finally wrapping-up between the two of us, I continued to smile and say neato. And just as I was about to formulate in my head that she may be a little nuts - despite her good heart and genuine concern - she beat me to it by saying, "And I'm not nuts like some people out there."

Whew, am I glad I let my words be few yesterday! Who knows the mess I could have made. Ecclesiastes 3:1&7 says, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven... a time to keep silent and a time to speak." And might I add, "A time to say... neato."

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