Simone: Tottering into Decrepitude

Study for Travels in Hell

When I went to Blossom, our local organic grocery this morning, to buy 2 Jongolds and granola for my breakfast the next few days, Simone was on duty, and the only other person in the store.

Simone is a young woman—mid 20’s—slender with bobbed dark hair and dark eyes, a small, pierced nose, and a fiercely acerbic mouth atop a cupped chin. Her wit can be painful, it is so sharp, but, she is unfailingly funny and she has a mind that dances with a self-effacing brilliance.

When she tallied my purchases this morning, she asked me if I needed a bag and I said, yes, please, I didn’t want to have the apples end up rolling around under the accelerator or brake pedals on my brief drive home.

When my caution registered, I began laughing, and told her that I remembered how, 20 years ago, when I was teaching high school English in the Florida Panhandle, I would get off work in the afternoon and drive straight to the beach most days. On the way, while steering my way through 4 lanes of what was usually heavy traffic, I would remove my entire school teacher’s uniform, from necktie to underwear and re-attire myself in cut-offs and a T-shirt, often while drinking a beer.

And now, she said, you’re afraid you’ll kill yourself if you don’t bag your apples.

Yup, I told her, and she and I laughed together, although, I suspect, for different reasons, and I took my bagged apples and drove, safely, back to the cabin.