"All I'm saying is you may want to consider another profession. Like hog tying. Or a women's prison guard. In fact, your resemblance to that Grese woman from the Belsen Trial is uncanny." I continued. "It's nice to see you've bobbed your hair and traded in war crimes for something more lucrative, and please excuse me for resorting to annoying acronyms, but IMFO, this whole flower arranging thing may not be your cup of Schwarztee."
The average Canadian worker spends more than 110 hours a year behind the wheel of a car, likely going to a job they hate, and back home to a filthy house. And while I no longer commute, I do spend countless hours waiting – in orthodontist's offices, rink parking lots, physiotherapists, and like this morning, at O'Regans – 35 minutes up in smoke, waiting for the courtesy shuttle that comes every ten minutes.
"Such is life." said Samuel Beckett.
Sometimes though, I look forward to waiting.
I enjoy waiting in Port Hood, Cape Breton. The best bacon and fried egg sandwich can be found at Sandeannie's Bakery – and the town has a lovely beach for strolling with the dogs.
I also rather enjoy hanging around Bridgewater. I am usually one of the slimmer people in the Zellers mall, and I have fond memories of the day I waddled in pregnant and picked up a lab-mix puppy instead of an ice cream cone.
One of my favourite places for pissing away time I'll never get back, is Bedford. In a word: Chickenburger. Who can complain about life flying by, with a mouthful of gravy-soaked white meat in a delightfully wet bun.
Across the road from the Chickenburger, Pete Luckett's little money maker is a great place to lose yourself while dropping $78 on a bag of groceries. Not only is everything exotically delicious, Pete's free samples fill you up, and take a bit of the sting out of the $35 dollar block of cheese you were too embarrassed to put back. That's okay, because Pete's friendly bootlegging boutique, Cristall & Luckett is right next door, so you can pick up a reasonably priced bottle of wine to wash down your $35 dollar cheese.
I recently found myself at Pete's, killing time, working my way through one of his stool maker salads. The Little Bastard had squeezed himself in, to have something adjusted, to the tune of $150 bucks per hour, and I was enjoying my lunch, admiring the florist's kiosk situated across the way.
Metal buckets spewed beautiful gerbera daisies, roses, hydrangeas, and those tall Dr. Seuss-looking green things. As a form of gratitude for someone who had squeezed us into their busy schedule, I decided to pick up a handful of flowers.
I approached the woman at the counter, and asked if I could pick out a few flowers to make a bouquet. She did an immediate Vanna White, waving her diamond encrusted hand at the half dozen or so rigid arrangements she had lined up on the counter. "What about one of these? I just made them." she suggested, looking up at me over her half glasses. "Forty-five dollars."
I looked at the modern, low, square glass containers of folded back fronds and poisonous looking berries. My first thought was, "Well, those would be lovely if I was buying something for my gay coffee table's wedding party." Instead I said, "No... thanks... those are a little too arranged for my taste. I was just hoping for just a fistful of flowers."
"Fine." she snapped, turning her back fat on me. "Go ahead."
Fearing for my life – because although I was probably 7-inches taller, she had a good 60 or so pounds on me, plus she had a knife – I grabbed a few gerbera daisies, a rose or two, and some yellow stuff. I handed her my selections and she started pulling at them like she was plucking a chicken in a Warsaw ghetto. Not wanting to watch her manhandling such beautiful flowers, I turned and spotted a bucket of snapdragons. Selecting a sprig or two, I handed them over, adding to my purchase. She pursed her lips and said, firmly, "NO!"
"No?" I said, eyebrows raised, slowly losing my temper with middle-aged dominatrix of domesticity.
"Snapdragons, do not go with gerbera daisies!" she insisted, frothing at the mouth.
"Since fucking when?" I asked, stone faced, picking a sunflower seed out of my teeth with my tongue. Only a bitch can out-bitch a bitch.
With that, she threw down the bouquet and stormed in to the glass flower cooler and proceeded to strangle the life out of a future bride's bouquet. A young shopgirl who bore witness, stepped forward and proceeded to fashion my flowers into a perfect, loose bouquet – as if she had done so, many times before.
Moments later, Frau Florist stepped out of the cooler and began ringing up my purchase, pounding the cash register keys with her manicured talons.
"Sixty dollars." she announced, side glancing at her soldier's line up of frightened $45 dollar bouquets.
The thought of handing this bovine beast of a woman $60 bucks for such an unpleasant experience was overshadowed by the joy I knew the flowers would bring.
I paid, and as I was waiting for my receipt I said, " So... is this your shop?"
"Yes" she said, forcing a half smile.
"Good thing you have nice employees, because you don't really appear to be all that happy working with flowers." Adding, "All I'm saying is you may want to consider another profession."
But you know the rest. And I am out of time.