A city craft and fabric shop is in the midst of a closing down sale with all merchandise selling at half price. I went to stock up on knitting yarn.
While there, I spied a man who looked about fifty with a long roll of bright blue satin fabric under his arm and a steely look in his eye.
A young girl screamed with delight as she saw some horrendous, brightly coloured acrylic yarn, "OMG! OMG! OMG! Look mama!" Mama looked, but was having trouble meeting her daughter's level of enthusiasm.
While shopping, I asked another woman if she knew what was happening to the store - were they closing all together, or moving to another city location? The woman told me they were closing all together.
"Well that's a shame," I said, "but it's better for my bank balance!"
"You're such an optimist!" another woman told me. "I was feeling sad that the store is closing, but you've managed to find the up side."
"You're right - I am an optimist."
As I stood in the queue waiting to pay for my haul, a woman discussed her financial woes, loudly, on her mobile phone. She was going to talk to Centrelink about getting a loan as an advance on her welfare payment. That would come to about $1500 but by the time she paid everyone back the money she already owed them, there would only be $80 left. After she paid for the fabric she was buying in the sale, she'd only have, like, $20 left! She could not discuss further because she was about to be called up to pay for her purchase. I held my tongue.
I've started to take my car to be cleaned at a nearby place that has a dozen young men working on the cars and a cafe for the car owners to sip on a latte and watch the work like members of the privileged class. I am always greeted promptly and enthusiastically and the coffee is excellent.
Today, when I arrived, one of the staff stormed past me, closely followed by the man in charge. The man in charge was intercepted by the man who had greeted me, and asked to make a recommendation on what the best service for my car would be today. He stopped, smiled, gave me and my car his full attention, recommended a wash and polish and then continued in pursuit of the other man.
As I walked up the stairs into the cafe, I heard a raised voice and saw the man who had stormed off, waving his arms and yelling at the man in charge. Something about just wanting to go off and have a smoke. The man in charge very calmly asked him not to raise his voice. The other man continued to wave his arms and yell. He was asked again, firmly and politely not to raise his voice. I turned and looked. The man in charge apologised and suggested I continue into the cafe to wait for my car. I did.
Sitting behind the glass window, I soon noticed the loud man arrive back on the scene and start work again. He looked willing. I wondered what was going on, but soon forgot that as I settled in to read the Sunday paper and my novel over a delicious cafe latte. Forty minutes flew by and soon the man in charge came and told me my car was ready - with a huge smile and a sense of pride.
I really like these guys. They seem to take real pleasure in their work and service and even if I pay quite a bit for it, I'm willing because the whole experience is so smooth and pleasant.
Signs in workplace kitchens and rest rooms always fascinate me with their earnest futility.
This week in the women's toilets of one of the places where I was working I saw this sign:
"If you are brushing your teeth, please don't leave food particles in the sink. Thank you."
My mind boggled as I wondered what had led to that note. Perhaps someone had vomited. Imagine being unwell at work and followed closely by the workplace prefect, ever ready with a printed sign to tape to the mirror.
In the same rest room, behind the closed door of one of the stalls was this sign: "The state of these toilets has been leaving a lot to be desired. Please leave them neat and tidy and make sure you flush."
Everything looked perfectly okay when I was there. Maybe the sign was working, or there was some neat freak with too much time on their hands writing anonymous signs and posting them in the bathroom. I bet that if I visited the kitchen, there would be signs there too. Alas, I didn't get to see.
How are things with you?