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Overheard Overseen

Spoken words I heard today, by real people, in the flesh, live, other than inside the four walls of my home and certainly not by phone or on the television or on the internet.

"Have a nice workout"

"Oof."

"Hello." (A response to a genuine attempt on my part to relate to a human crossing my path.P

"It didn't go through.  Can you swipe your card again?"

"Thank you. Have a nice day."

"No. We don't carry Serrano ham in this store, maybe ..."

"Did you find everything you were looking for?"

"Thank you.  Here's your receipt."

That's it. Eight phrases, snippets, partial conversations, platitudes, grunts, instructions, memorized phrases, employer dictated greetings or sign offs.  Nothings. The bare minimum effort to acknowledge human interaction, often without genuine emotion.

Over the next ten days, I'll record the communications I engage in or overhear and try to make sense of these interactions.  What did I take away, if anything?  How did they affect me?  What stores did they tell?

Day 2

I take my husband to the car repair shop -- not the swank showroom of licensed repair mechanic for a major brand, this is a guy in overalls at the end of the road along a gravel roadway.  My husband "kicks stones" as he chats with the shop owner and his son.  It's not clear who does the repairs and who manages the shop, if manage is the appropriate word.

But the cluster of men laugh and look at their feet and shuffle to the right and then to the left, talking about whatever men talk about in a truck repair garage.  I can't hear their words.

Soon, a golf cart arrives, bearing an older man and woman and a very young girl.  The grandparents and granchild, I wonder?  They join the gaggle of men in full kicking stone gear.  I observe from the cab of my husband's pickup, the sound dying at the rolled up windows.  And then, we're off, back down the rutted driveway following the elderly couple in the golf cart.  We've been invited to pick kale from the family garden.

Neophytes that we are, the elderly gentleman, produces a plastic grocery bag and instructs us in how to pick the most tender leaves.  We stoop and pinch the inner leaves, mimicking the older man and his wife.  She says he's eighty eight and eating kale has contributed to his longevity.

"Ya put these here leaves into a pot along with some fat back and cook it up for about an hour and a half."

I can't imagine what the consistency of this delicate green leaf will be after an hour and a half.  Dare I admit to eating chopped raw kale?  I think not.

With profuse "Thank you so much's" we nod and bow and walk backwards to our vehicle.

Fresh kale salad tonight!

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