s Maureen and I wrote starting back in 2005.
Some on Hysteria Lane Even Poach Their Turkey for Thanksgiving
“Visualize the parking space and it will appear,” Joan murmurs to herself as she pulls into crowded Wegman’s parking lot late Wednesday afternoon - the day before Thanksgiving. Superlative customer service aside, if only the customers were as nice as the employees. Pulling carefully past the parked cars, she maneuvers her Bimmer - yes, 35% affords her a nice life - towards the front of the store when she spies a car backing out of the handicapped spot. No, the person is not leaving; just perfecting the blue-line technique, except the driver manages to straddle into the non-handicapped space - and without a permit. “Just great!”
“Damn,” she mutters quietly, “this person better have a good reason to park like that.” Yep, she notices the blue parking tag attached to the rearview mirror of the Jag; the driver exits - there s something familiar about the woman Joan thinks to herself. “Harrumph!” she barks to no one in particular and turns into the next row in search of parking nirvana.
Finally, Joan notices another car - one of those cute Volkswagen bugs with a flower standing high above the dashboard - zipping impatiently down the lane next to her. Too fast around the curve, the car almost mows down a young mother with a fully-laden grocery cart, a baby in the seat, and a toddler by the hand. So abruptly does the woman have to pull her heavy shopping cart to a halt off the downhill ramp that two of the bags on top spill out in front of her and dump their contents out upon the macadam lot. By this time Joan had parked and left her car, clicking the lock as she approaches the unnerved young family. “Here, here, let me help, everything s going to be okay,” Joan comforts as she scrambles after the creamed corn and the spilled Macintosh apples. Tucking the last grapefruit in one of the bags, she smiles at the woman and asks, “Can I help you to your car?”
“No, no, thank you - you've been so kind - that lady almost ran into us!” she exclaimed. “It’s the holidays,” offered Joan and shrugs her shoulders. “Some people get crazy perversely around the holidays - don t let things like this keep you from having Happy Thanksgiving!”
“We will - we’re havin turkey!” shouted the toddler who added, “and punkin pie!” Smiling, Joan achingly remembers her children at that age. “Oh, how time vanishes!” she thinks to herself as she enters the brightly lit and festively trimmed store.
As she wheels the shopping cart out of the parked lane and enters produce section, a cart clips her heals and nearly causes her to pitch forward. Turning around and two milliseconds from cursing up a blue streak, she hears, “Oh! I’m so sorry - I’m movin too fast, as usual - oh! Joan! How are you?” the offender exclaims as Joan notices it’s one of her Hysteria Lane neighbors - and the woman in the Jag who parked in the handicapped spot outside. Joan s eyes tightened to narrow slits.
Joan searched deep inside for the politeness that enabled her to say, “Hello, Anti-Poaching Person; that s okay - accidents happen - how have you been?” As if she really cares…
“Oh, I've been so busy! Between my busy recruiting work and all the monitoring I do on the groups - you know the groups, right, Joan? I just love the groups - and I know they loooooove me. I don t have a minute’s peace. I’m finally just now getting to the store for the first time in two weeks - I should have just waited til after Thanksgiving.” she trails off as she looks at the crowded registers.
“Are you cooking tomorrow?” Joan asks to which Anti-Poaching Person shoots back with “Me cook? No way! I’ve had so many offers from people wanting me to come to dinner tomorrow but I’m just gonna stay home and catch up on some of my reading - you know how recruiting laws change every minute of every day of every month in this great land of ours. I’m thankful for that!”
Knowing better than to ask and risk a forty-five minute inquisition, Joan creeps forward, pushing her cart before her, peering intently at the prices marked on the baked goods offered for sale. “Those pies look good but they want what? $8.99? For a pumpkin pie! Goodness gracious, some people really do go nuts on the holidays,” she thinks to herself. “Well, Anti-Poaching Person I hope you have a nice holiday,” as she ignores Anti-Poaching Person’s groups question, “I better get going, I’m cooking and I’m here to buy a turkey.” Moving off, and thinking aloud, Joan says to no one in particular, “I’m just so tired of roasted turkey - this year I’m going to poach it.”
Anti-Poaching Person’s head does a 180 - the only thing missing is a spinning bed and green vomit. “What?” she cries. “Did I hear you correctly??? You’re going to do what?” Caught a bit of guard, Joan offers a weak “Huh?” She also notices the Jaguar logo key chain on the keys Anti-Poaching Person has hanging from her Coach purse. “What did you say?” Anti-Poaching Person demands. “Did you say you’re going to poach a turkey?”
“Uhhh, yeah,” Joan stammers as if confronted by a burly police officer, “I was thinkin about it. Might be a nice change - you know; kinda thinkin outside the bird,” as she offers weak smile and a sly wink at Anti-Poaching Person.
Like waving a red flag waved in front of a charging bull, Anti-Poaching Person’s face reddens to an equally deep crimson. “But don’t you know, Joan, poaching is just wrong - it’s illegal and unethical - in this state and all others! It doesn’t matter that it’s a turkey - all poaching’s illegal, illegal, ILLEGAL! And to top it off, it’s just plain fowl.”
Joan sharply replies. “Anti-Poaching Person we’ve been over this - you know I don’t agree with you on some things, and this is one of them. Let’s leave well enough alone before one of us gets our feelings hurt.” And it won t be me, Joan chuckles to herself.
“But Joan!” Anti-Poaching Person is frothing at the mouth and almost screaming, “poaching is illegal - you know it’s illegal - and unethical!” She just can t help herself, the poor thing. Easy, Joan. Somebody ought to get Anti-Poaching Person out of here. “Poultry Roasting Owners For Intelligent Turkey Society - PROFITS - has strict guidelines on how to prepare holiday fowl. I’m certified - and you should be too. It’s a sign that you believe in traditional Holiday food preparation.”
“Anti-Poaching Person! Stop! You've made my mind up - I’m going to poach this turkey and you can t stop me! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find the Certified Poultry Purchaser - his name is Frank Clux and he is usually in this store.”
“What d’ya need to talk to him for,” Anti-Poaching Person asks, her nose wrinkling upwards as if smelling a foul scent.
“Well, if you must know, I want to know just how much he pays for the poultry he buys for this store - I found his name on their store telephone directory and I’ve left messages for him since Monday so I thought I’d come in here and hunt him down in person; I want to know why I have to pay $1.49/lb here when I can get it for 49 cents at Western Beef down the road.”
“A pilfered phone directory,” Anti-Poaching Person thinks to herself as a shudder runs across her thin frame. “I heard that before -oh yeah, I guess all of Hysteria Lane s gone to Heck in a Handbasket,” as she remembered the remark that wafted in on the morning breeze earlier in the week.
“Joan, we gotta talk,” Anti-Poaching Person blurts out, “You re gonna get yourself in some serious trouble, you have some serious bad habits, girl - did Noreen teach you this stuff?”
Joan chuckles louder than normal as Anti-Poaching Person throws her head back like an angry equine and mutters loudly under her breath so all in earshot can hear, “Poaching a turkey is just plain wrong.”
Turning to the woman who happens to be eavesdropping in on this juicy conversation, Joan smiles and says, “But it tastes soooooooo good.”…
Added by Steve Levy at 7:28pm on November 19, 2008