The other day, Kate and I were driving on the 401, the ridiculously busy highway that stretches across Ontario, and the traffic was heavy, mostly with trucks. But not the usual kind of transport trucks—no, these were random ‘wide load’ trucks, or dump trucks, or trucks carrying large sheets of glass or drywall. Finally, we passed something strange:
Kate: Is that a…streetsweeper? Me: It looks like it. Weird. Kate: Like it just drives from town to town on the highway, looking for streets to sweep? Me (fake English accent): Good day to you, my lady. Would you care to have your street swept? Or perhaps have your knives sharpened? Kate (laughs): What’s with the knives?
So I explained to her that, when I was a kid, there used to be a guy who travelled around different neighbourhoods on a large tricycle with a grinder mounted on the back, and for a dollar, he would offer to sharpen your knives and scissors. It was the worst, not because people would come running out of their houses brandishing sharp, deadly instruments (and this is obviously where the saying ‘don’t run with scissors’ came from), but—and I don’t know if it was the same for you or not—the knife guy had the EXACT SAME BELL AS THE ICE CREAM TRUCK.
The ice cream truck was, obviously, a fan favourite in our neck of the woods, and on a summer afternoon, you’d hear the faint ringing of the ice cream bell as it approached your street, and then all the children would beg their parents for a nickel or a dime, and we’d all run out and crowd around it, flush with loose change and excitement. But every once in a while, you’d hear a distant bell, and you’d grab your change and race to the street, and there would be the f*cking knife guy, with his adult sized kiddie bike and his stupid grinder, yelling “Bring your knives, bring your scissors”, as if he had some kind of bizarre death wish, because WE ALL WANTED TO STAB HIM WITH SAID KNIVES AND SCISSORS. Except for Mrs. Robertson, who always trotted out to greet him with an armful of kitchen tools, and what the heck was she butchering that she needed her knives sharpened that often?
At any rate, it was one of childhood’s greatest letdowns, hearing the ice cream truck only to discover it was the knife guy. Unless you were Mrs. Robertson.
In other news, every day when I pull into the parking lot at work, I see this:
It’s the height of irony, because the truck belongs to the owner of the garage, and that truck is parked there EVERY morning in front of the door upon which the owner has clearly painted “DO NOT BLOCK DOOR” in very large letters. Also, the owner of the garage AND truck felt it necessary to do fancy ‘O’s so that people would understand they’re not zeroes and wouldn’t be confused. As if THAT’S the most confusing thing about this whole situation.
On Friday afternoon, Ken went to get the mail and then retired to his office to open any envelopes addressed exclusively to him, because I have dibs on everything else—his mail is mostly bills, so all other mail has that ‘potential of excitement’ aura about it, like “Ooh, postage PAID? Someone wants to connect with me really badly!” Of course, it’s usually just home decorating magazines begging me to re-subscribe, but sometimes it can be quite unexpected and lovely, like the retirement card that Cyranny of Cyranny’s Cove and our Skypy Fridays group sent me (and if you ever want to join us for a chat on Friday night, just go to her blog and ask for the link—it’s a fun group from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.).
Anyway, suddenly Ken reappeared, irate and waving a piece of paper at me:
Ken: Look at this! Every month when I get my new cheques, this is the first page of the chequebook and it drives me CRAZY! Me: You get cheques every month? How many cheques do you write?! Ken: A LOT. Not the point. Look at this thing!
He handed me a piece of paper that he had taken out of the chequebook, and which was causing such a strong reaction in a man who rarely gets upset about anything. The piece of paper said, “This page is intentionally left blank.”
Me: But… Ken: I know, right?! Me: I… Ken: Because it’s NOT BLANK. Every. Single. Month. Me: I really need to introduce you to online banking.
But we both agreed that if the bank really wanted to be accurate instead of extremely ironic (and definitely more ironic than rain on your wedding day), there would be TWO pieces of paper. One of them would be blank, and the next one would say, “The previous page has been intentionally left blank.” And I don’t even want to get into the grammatical issue of placing the adverb BEFORE the verb—suffice it to say that banks make enough money to hire their own damn grammaticians.
But it was a trying day overall, in the first place, so this was no surprise. Earlier, I had decided to go into town to get some fabric at the fabric store, and to exchange the large foam cushion I had purchased the week before for a slightly smaller one, as I’m currently restoring a Mission oak rocking chair for our neighbours, and, not being as good at math as I like to think, I mismeasured the seat.
Step One: Lug large 24×24” foam cushion into store. Step Two: Stand in line at counter. Step Three: Get told that I need to go to the cash register line for refunds and exchanges. Step Four: Stand in very long line at cash register. Realize that I should have the cushion I want to exchange mine for to expedite matters. Step Five: Get second 20X20” cushion and lug it and my original cushion back to long line-up. Step Six: Finally reach the front of the line and see a sign taped to the cash register that says, “All foam sales are final”. Step Seven: Entreat cashier to let me exchange cushions, a request she refuses. Step Eight: Go to find fabric, whilst cashier holds both cushions at the front so I don’t have to lug them around the store. Step Nine: Find fabric. Realize the roll it’s on is WAY too heavy to carry. Step Ten: Get back in line at the counter to ask about fabric. Step Eleven: Take the advice of the woman in front of me in line who suggests loading the roll into a shopping cart and bringing it to the counter. Step Twelve: Go off to find a shopping cart. Step Thirteen: Load fabric into cart and wheel it back into line at the counter. Step Fourteen: Watch for fifteen minutes as every quilter in town ahead of me wants half a f*cking yard of 15 different fabrics and “Hallowe’en themed buttons”. Step Fifteen: Finally get to counter. Get told that my fabric roll is too large to cut at THAT counter, and I need to go to a different counter at the back, exactly three feet away from where I originally got the fabric. Tell the clerk that I would have done that but there are only two people working in the entire store and none of them were at the back counter, which is hidden by bolts of quilt batting. Step Sixteen: Line up at the back counter. Step Seventeen: Get fabric cut. Take fabric, as instructed, back to the cash register line to pay for it. Step Eighteen: Present fabric to different cashier and ask for my foam. Cashier hands me the 20×20” foam cushion and says “Is this the one?” I reply, “Do you need to see my receipt?” Step Nineteen: Show cashier receipt for foam. Pay for fabric. Step Twenty: Leave store with fabric, and the foam cushion in the size that I want. Isn’t it ironic, don’tcha think?
But then I felt terrible so I did what any normal person would do—I called Ken.
Me: They wouldn’t let me exchange the foam cushion but then when I went to pay, they gave me the wrong one and I didn’t tell them. Ken: Did you lie about it? Me: No. When he asked if it was the right one, I didn’t say yes or no—I just showed him the receipt. I didn’t even SEE the other one. Maybe they reshelved it by accident. Ken: Well, their foam exchange policy is stupid anyway. You touched both pieces of foam, which seems like the only criteria, so it’s fair. Me: Yes, and the first piece of foam was more expensive than the one I just got, so I’m the one taking the loss here, especially considering the hour I spent in the store that I’m never getting back. Ken: See? You’re a good person.
And just to prove that the universe agreed with Ken, right after I hung up, I saw a huge red and gold fox walking across the road up ahead, and it was beautiful. And even though I was alone in the car, I was so excited that I said out loud, “A fox! A fox!” and then I whispered, “A fox.” And the irony here is that this blog post was intentionally left unironic at the end.
Living life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy. But I do my best to push through all the barriers this illness puts in front of me! In my heart and mind, I believe maintaining a positive outlook on all situations in life will carry us through to much better times! I hope you find the information that I provide both helpful and inspirational!