The sun rises earlier in the country, or so it seems, which is why I found myself trying to figure out the coffee machine with my sister in the kitchen on a Saturday morning at 7:45. (Let’s just say I don’t usually wake up before 12 10 on a weekend if I can help it.)
Our beloved Brooklyn father was already long gone to the local grocery store, on a mission to pick up olive oil for cooking and a few rolls for breakfast, the two things we forgot to purchase the night before. The farm house we rented for the weekend had a very open layout and the beautiful hardwood floors and lack of walls made it easy for sound to travel.
My father has a loud booming voice and when told to try to keep it down, the best he can manage is a loud stage whisper that can still be heard a mile away. (Which is why when I write about him using dialogue, he’s always screaming in capital letters regardless of location or subject matter.)
A few minutes into hanging out with my sister, my father walked in the back door into the kitchen. I made a frantic hand gesture, a weird kind of mimed shush-ing maneuver, a gentle reminder to lower his voice because everyone else was sleeping but my dad, it turns out, already had quite an adventure and he was eager to tell us all about it.
“SO,” he said, setting the groceries down on the counter. “I BROKE UP A FIGHT AT THE SHOP RITE THIS MAWNIN’.”
“I BROKE UP A FIGHT AT SHOP RITE THIS MAWNIN’.”
“Explain yourself,” I whispered. “And can you speak softer?”
“WELL,” he said, speaking even louder, “I GOT INTO THE EXPRESS LANE WHICH HAD A MAXIMUM OF SIX ITEMS. I WAS A LITTLE NERVOUS BECAWZ I ACKCHEWALLY HAD SIX ROLLS IN A BAG *PLUS* THE OLIVE OIL WHICH TECKNICKALLY MAKES SEVEN ITEMS BUT IT TURNS OUT, DA WOMAN AHEAD OF ME HAD LIKE, A MILLION ITEMS AND SHE WAS TAKIN’ FOREVA TO BUY HER STUFF.”
“AND I MEAN FOREVA. SO I’M WAITIN’ THERE AND OF CAWSE I’M GETTIN’ ANNOYED BUT NOT AS ANNOYED AS THE GUY BEHIND ME BECAWZ AFTER 15 MINUTES HE YELLS AT HER AND SAYS SHE BETTA MOVE HER FAT F***ING ASS.”
“WHAT???????????” exclaimed me and my sister. (It must be said that we were shocked at the story of the dude in the store but even more shocked that my dad actually said fuck out loud, a word I’ve heard him say maybe twice before in my entire life.)
“YEAH. SO SHE TELLS HIM TO SHUT UP AND THEN HE SAYS TO HER, ‘I’M GONNA KICK YOUR F***ING ASS!”
“What a jerk,” I said.
“YEAH. HE WAS A JERK. BUT ALSO SHE HAD LIKE A MILLION ITEMS IN THE EXPRESS LANE WHICH I DON’T THINK IS RIGHT.”
“YEAH BUT I MEAN SOMEONE SHOULDA SAID SOMETHIN’. THE SIGN SAYS SIX ITEMS.”
“Okay, yes. Then what?”
“YEAH. SO THEN I BROKE UP THE FIGHT.”
“WELL HE SAID HE WAS GONNA KICK HER ASS SO THEN HE TRIED TO DO IT.”
“He actually moved towards her like he was going to punch her?”
“So what did you do!?”
“OH I JUST DID WHAT I USUALLY DID WIT THE 8th GRADERS IN DA SCHOOL I USEDTA TEACH AT WHEN THEY WOULD FIGHT. I JUST WRAPPED MY ARMS AROUND HIM AND HUGGED HIM REAL TIGHT TIL HE CALMED DOWN.”
“You bear-hugged a stranger in the grocery store at 7:30 in the morning?”
“YEAH. IT’S A GOOD WAY TO STOP A FIGHT.”
“Dad, that is seriously the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“WELL IT WORKED. JUST PUT MY ARMS AROUND HIM. NOT A PROBLEM.”
“You’re saying that like it’s a normal thing to do to an aggressive stranger in a supermarket.”
“YEAH. HE WAS AGGRESSIVE. HE HAD HIS CAMOUFLAGE ON.”
“PROBABLY. SO ANYWAY I AM A HERO.”
“This is true.”
“SO I BAWT THESE ROLLS, I BAWT SIX WHICH MADE ME NERVOUS BECAWZ WIT THE OLIVE OIL THAT MADE SEVEN ITEMS.”
“Yes. You told me.”
“OKAY SO I’M GONNA TAKE A ROLL PUT SOME BUTTA ON IT AND GO DRINK SOME CAWFFEE ON THE PORCH.”
And that, my friends, is exactly what he did.