1.13.2009

negative nelly.

"Do you know how much it weighs?"

"No."

"Well, how big is it?"

"Standard freezer size. Like the size of my fridge."

"How old is it?"

"Kinda old."

"That's going to make it even heavier. You don't know exactly how old?"

"No."

A pause.

"Well, where are they keeping it now? In the basement or something?"

"Well, they live in a trailer, so probably not in a basement."

"This is getting better and better. Do you know the name of these people?"

"The lady's name is Stephanie. She said she tried to sell it before, but the people who wanted it wanted to put deer heads in it and the shelves aren't removable, so the deer heads wouldn't fit."

He does not even bother to respond to that one. The giant former church van bumped along the road as we traveled deeper into the redneck underbelly of Cary.

"You think I'm being too impulsive?"

"Yes. But you haven't committed to buying it. You can still say you don't want it and I'll be mean for you."

I don't think that's ever happened before. My role in the relationship is to be the stable voice of reason, whereas he likes to fly by the seat of his pants. I've never figured out how to sew wings to my pants, but maybe I'm looking at the pants-to-wing-attachment problem the wrong way.

I saw an ad for a freezer for $50, and I wanted it. I was sick of only buying a couple of pounds of sale-priced ground beef and then running out a month later and having to buy it when it wasn't on sale. The lady on the phone sounded very nice, and that was pretty much enough for me. I made sure I could get use of the band's van, and I signed up for a time to pick up my new toy. And now Josh was being all negative about it. I've never bought anything off Craig's List before, but I figured that this was how it worked. You see an ad, you call or email, and then you go check it out. Maybe having a Negative Nelly along is part of it, too.

We drove slowly down a poorly-maintained road, taking in the sights of the mobile homes on either side of us. Some had fences that enclosed various barking mutts and rusting appliances. We pulled up to the one with a freezer on the front porch and a rebel flag in one of the windows. I sighed and held tight in my mind to the sound of the lady's voice on the phone. She did not sound like trailer trash. I am no stranger to trailers, and I've known lots of people who lived in them. Some of them fit the stereotype, and just as many of them don't. Some of them are racist but otherwise very nice. People are complicated.

Stephanie came out on the front porch, and I felt relieved when I saw her. She didn't have the hollow, apathetic look that I associate with trailer trash, people who are ignorant by choice. She looked like a perfectly normal, likable person who just happened to live in a trailer. And her freezer looked like a perfectly acceptable one that just happened to be a little older, not suitable for holding deer heads, but perfectly capable of containing ground beef packed into half pound patties. I gave it a quick inspection, saw that it was clean with minor dents, but in very good condition for its age. I happily forked over $50.

Her husband and two teenage sons (I wondered which one had the room with the rebel flag) carried the freezer to the van and hoisted it in, while I talked to Stephanie about how her driveway flooded when it rained and her dad's upcoming retirement. We thanked them and wished them well, the intersection of our lives likely over forever.

The ride back was very different.

"So they were nice," I said.

"Yeah. I liked them. The guy looked like he knew what he was doing, too. He might have even checked out the freezer, too, to make sure it worked. I could tell that he was handling it really carefully, too." His change in attitude was startling.

I guess I can fly by the seat of my pants sometimes, too.

1 comment:

Carla said...

I didn't know Cary had an underbelly at all, much less a redneck one.