Friday, July 01, 2005

Gift Shop

As one of our vacation stops in California we took a walk through Muir Woods. In case you've been living under a rock, this is redwood forest with trees hundreds and even thousands of years old located just above San Francisco.

Like all tourist places, they have a gift shop where you can buy pictures of the forest you simply can't take with your own camera. There was a family at the counter in front of me buying several things for their active two year old. It was taking a while. I waited.

At one point the little boy ran off to a display to paw through some of the items when the mother said: “Don't touch anything else or we'll have to buy it.” What a strange request from a mother. I deduced that this statement was not for the benefit of the son. It was intended for someone else.

When they left and I stepped up to the counter the cashier was smiling sort of to herself. She was an older woman in her 60s with chiseled features and a hawk beak nose.

"How are you doing?” I asked her. “You're smiling to yourself, what happened?”. I pried.

“People are really interesting.” She said.

“What do you mean?”

“Well” she started “the woman's son put the puppet into his mouth and slobbered all over it. So I asked her if she would like to buy it. But she said. NO. Well, I told her your child has salivated all over the puppet's head. You'll need to purchase it. So she did but wasn't happy about it. What could I do? No one else would buy it.”

We just laughed together. “People” we sort of said at the same time. I paid and left. Fortunately I didn't have to buy anything I didn't want because I kept my saliva in my mouth.

"Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners." -- Anonymous