Somewhere in the dictionary under “the opposite of impulse buyer” you will find my picture. If I haven’t thought about it for three months, experimented with constructing a substitute out of the garbage, advertised on Freecycle, and contemplated permanently “borrowing” it from an unsuspecting relative, I’m not going to buy it. Sooner or later, though, I do find a few things I really need. And since our yard is lacking the right kind of stone to fashion my own stone tools (all sedimentary rocks–great for fossils, though), I determined I needed to get a rake and something to trim bushes and stakes with. Amazingly enough, we then had an offer of free babysitting so I could actually go out and shop for these items.
First we tried at Walmart, where we had filled up a gift card by returning the extras of diapers we had been given for the twins when we switched to cloth. But their garden section was in transition between leaf rakes and snow shovels and didn’t have anything much for sale except fake Christmas trees.
So we tried on the way home at Ace Hardware. By this time the babies (we took them after all, correctly deducing they would be hungry before we got home) had fallen asleep, so DOB stayed in the car for them while I went in to select my own tools. I found the rake. I saw the clippers. But I couldn’t find a machete. I wanted to consider that, too, as being more versatile than a pair of clippers.
Nearby there was an employee, a comfortable, gray-haired sort of man who looked like he actually knew what tools were for. We’ll call him Fred. Fred was chatting with another older man, but when I showed up he paused to take me over and show me where the machetes were. I was a bit taken aback by the actual object. The machetes my brothers had when I was a child were dull and rusty. You could only inflict injury with a vigorous intent to maim. This one looked wicked.
So I said I’d hold onto it for a few minutes (still safely wrapped up in its package with a cushion on the blade) and look at clippers some more. Fred went back to helping the other customer. I looked at clippers. The other customer wanted bulb planters, which happened to be right in front of the clippers at knee level. Just as they headed down the aisle, I bumped them with my knee and sent them sprawling all over the floor.
Fred chuckled, “Better get them fast before she destroys them all.”
I apologized, set them back up, and then handed the machete back to Fred. “I think I’ll go with the clippers,” I said.
My rake, my clippers, and I all headed through the checkout line. En route, Fred passed us just as the rake decided to entangle itself in an overgrown wind chime. Music clanged throughout the store. Fred grinned.
“And now,” I said, “You know why I did not get the machete.”