Home improvement

I am in a Home Depot or Lowe's-type place — a huge warehouse of doorknobs, shower drains, paint cans, and fireplace screens. Grooved tracks zig-zag their way through the floor. I ask someone (my mom?) what they are and she explains that these big forklift-type machines run on them, from enormous shelf to enormous shelf, plucking housewares from sixty feet up in the air.

Phil's with me, as is this cute guy I'll call Mike. I am looking, apparently, for two things (one is some sort of back support block, the other I've forgotten), while Phil is looking for birthday supplies.

Mike leads the way as Phil and I kind of tag along. He has a list of items in one hand, and with the other hand, he points us toward our destination. He takes us to dark corners of the store that I didn't know existed, and the pilfers through random stuff to get exactly the item I had come for.

I am amazed that he can do this so effortlessly. I grab his arm and laud him gratefully. "It is so awesome that you can find all this stuff!" I say, even though he really only found two things for me. Apparently they were that obscure and important.

Mike seems nonchalant, kind of like he is in real life, but less aloof than normal.

"We Hi-Tone kids only spent $10," Mike tells me proudly, pointing to the receipt. That means Phil's birthday cake and balloons cost something like $100. I remember wondering how the hell he's gonna pay for that.

We are walking out the door amid a flurry of activity — people zipping here and there and carrying giant pots and hauling slats of wood on little rolling carts — when Mike glances over his shoulder to see a woman pulling a rolling pallet behind her very nearly runs over some toddler who's wandering around aimlessly. We scrunch up our faces in a mutual "that was close!" grimace, and Mike turns around and walks backward, facing me, out the door. His shirt said something. But I can't remember.

No comments: