It's tax collection time in Small Pond. The very efficient property owners come in now, early in the month, and most of them are good-natured. They're prepared and ready to pay their bills and it's just another transaction. Not necessarily pleasant, but necessary all the same. This morning, a maturely beautiful and energetic woman blew through the door and began to dig in her purse for the paperwork. She started to talk, at first in a moderate tone that quickly escalated to full good-natured rant.
Just a guess . . . but I think she wasn't born on this side of The Pond...
"Oi 'ate to give awl this monnay, especially when the village don't do a bleedin' thing for yeh. They don't even take the bleedin' leaves! They used to! G------ville used to when Oi lived thahh!"
I don't know this woman, but Oi couldn' 'elp it. I slipped into the best lingual match I could come up with as I leaned toward her with: "Yeh! But'cha came 'eah, dintcha?"
"Oi did!" she answered.
There followed a hugely enthusiastic and entertaining story of her having followed, this morning, a fellow dogwalker "...'oo lets 'is dog shit wherever 'e pleezes and he don't pick it up! An' 'e 'as a big dog! Oi 'ave a lit'le dog and Oi alwez 'ave a bag, y'see! (waving the imaginary Proper Poop Receptacle above her head) So Oi picked up 'is dog's shit and followed 'im 'ome."
Triumphant satisfaction: "Naow Oi know where 'e lives, y'see! So I drove in be'ind 'im, an' Oi opened moi windaow an' I dropped the bag full of 'is dog's shit an' Oi said, 'Yoo forgawt this!'"
"Well, good for you!" I told her. "That's what people should do instead of calling here about it."
"Do people call yoo about those things! We' that's just stoopid. Oi'll take care of people like that m'self!"
"Next time," I said, "you should put it in a paper bag and put it on his porch and set it on fire."
"Oi should! (pause) Buttit probably wouldn't burn!"
And she threw back her head and laughed to the heavens.
She'd finished her municipal business while she thrilled me with her story, a common one, but so wonderfully delivered . . . and before leaving, turned to Jane, who'd been stamping things and writing receipts.
"Awlrigh' naow. Come aroun' the counteh 'eah and give me a 'ug. It's good t'see yeh."
The cast of characters is better, some days, than others.
One of These Things Is Not Like the Other . . .
2 hours ago