Monday, June 23, 2008

The color of monkey

A teenage girl works the register at the craft store's only open checkout lane. She's figured out the hair and makeup thing and is now figuring out the power her beauty has on scruffy teenage boys.

In line before me, a scruffy teenage boy.

She takes her time checking him out. He's buying items to make hippie-type neckaces, and they chat easily about nothing. The boy's buddy calls to him from a nearby aisle -- an additional item has been found. But the boy is reluctant to leave his place and says he'll get it later.

The girl ensures him that it is, in fact, fine to go get the item. She'll wait.

No, he says, that's OK.

No, really, she says.

I'm thinking, don't mind me, I'm just here for the paint. Orange and lemon, to be exact. I like how lots of colors are named after the thing that is that color. Orange, lemon, olive, watermelon, midnight. I think there should be more to cover very specific shades, so you can walk into a store and say "Yes, I'm looking for 'monkey.' Actually, maybe it's closer to 'bat.' No, the flying kind."

The boy finally has to admit that he might not have enough money to purchase the extra item. This could have been a setback, but the girl appears to have awarded points for honesty. Encouraged, he jingles the coins in his pockets and suggests it's too bad there isn't a 'save the baby kitten' jar in which to deposit some of them.

"Save the baby kitten," she repeats, punctuating it with the throaty, you're-so-funny laughter that undoubtedly kept the boy awake half the night.

I think about pointing out that kittens are babies, so that's actually a redundancy.

But they were speaking a different language.

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