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March Moments

March 16, 2012

Some moments are a little unsettling…

Arriving at work on Monday morning, I didn’t notice anything unusual at first. But halfway through my morning tasks of watering the houseplants, putting out the cut flowers and sweeping the shop, I glanced out the window and thought, … wait a moment, why can I see the field across the road?

Looking more closely, I realized our neighbours had cut down their Thuja hedge. Which I strongly approve of, I hate Thuja almost as much as I hate wax begonias, but it was still very strange not to have the hedge there. Almost like walking into your home and finding a wall missing!

The pictures are from about two weeks ago - now I don't have time for taking pictures any more. These 'Tete-a-tete' daffodils had been buried in dirt - I love the contrast between the parts that had been buried and the green tips that had already grown out into the light.

Some moments are annoying…

… like dear Mrs Whine throwing a hissy fit because we now have to charge money for boxes. I might have lost my temper at her a little…

Oh, and two customers nearly crying because I told them the sale on potting mix had been last week, and they’d missed it. They kept whining until the boss let them have it at a reduced price. (I mean, seriously? How old are these people? Five? I would be embarrassed to behave this way!)

Lots and lots of lettuce plants - I love their cheerful green!

Some moments are a little sad…

Customer: “You went to [grammar school], didn’t you?”
Me: “Yes…”
Customer: “Because my wife taught you.”
Me: “Oh? What was her name?”
Customer: “Scratchy-Voice.”
Me: “Oh, of course.”
Customer: “She died over the winter.”

This time I really meant it when I said, “Oh no, I’m so sorry.” Customers often tell me that someone or other has died – this being the Teeny Tiny Village, they assume I know everyone. Nope, sorry, I live over in Small Town, and I don’t have a good memory for people anyway.

But I remember Professor Scratchy-Voice, who had been my history teacher. I recognized her when she came to the Teeny Tiny Village Nursery last year (by her very distinctive voice, which had grated on my nerves for four years), and when I told her who I was, she remembered me as well.

Rest in peace, Professor Scratchy-Voice. I’m sad to say I remember little about you beyond your voice and appearance… just that you were the only teacher to see right through one classmate’s trick of talking a lot in a smart-sounding voice and really saying little, and that you disliked the middle ages, which I found kind of sad, because I liked them. Still, I did my best to like your subject, and I must have liked it enough to pick it for one of my oral finals. And if I remember nothing else about you, I’m sure I’ll never forget your name – not after the trouble I got into for getting you and Professor Grump the geography teacher mixed up!

(I thought I was too young to know one of my old teachers is dead – but I’m definitely too young to know two of them are dead! And who knows, there might be others I’ve never heard about.)

Daffodils for cutting, also fresh out of their winter quarter and with the funny yellow/green contrast.

Some moments make me feel kind of famous:

Customer: “You worked here last year, didn’t you?”
Me: “Yes…”
Customer: “You are the one with the beautifully planted balcony, aren’t you?”
Me, proudly: “Yes.”
Customer: “You young people all still have such smooth faces – it makes you so hard to tell apart.”

… OK, but I can’t tell you wrinkled old people apart either…

Lots and lots of primroses - two weeks later, there are only a fraction left. We might actually run out this year, while last year, we had bad luck with the weather and had to throw away a lot of them.

Some moments are rather weird:

I walk up to the boss and a customer he’s talking to to ask something. The customer thinks I’m another customer who’s mistaking him for the boss:

Customer: “He’s the boss, not me.”
Me: “I know. I work here.”
The boss: “Yes, she’s my employee.”
Customer, patting my arm: “Well, just don’t get pregnant as quickly as your predecessor.”

I’m sorry? Get the heck out of my personal space and my personal business!

The same customer came back later that day, while I was talking to a different customer, taking down a message for the boss.

Other customer: “And tell the master –“
First customer, loudly: “Joey! He is called Joey! Not ‘master’!”
Other customer: “But he is a master –“
First customer: “Everyone in Teeny Tiny Village calls him Joey! So he is Joey!”

… sometimes, there’s really nothing you can do but wait until they’re gone and laugh!

The cutting tulips weren't quite as pale as the daffodils, but they had all kinds of interesting colours before they turned green.

Speaking of, some moments are also hilarious:

Customer: “They really need to turn on the water at the cemetery.”
The boss’s wife: “Yes, because otherwise you’d have to bring boxes full of water.”

I’m still laughing about the mental image of trying to fill the wooden boxes she was handling at the time with water.

All in all, it’s been a nice week. Tantrums and almost-tears and invasions of personal space notwithstanding, most customers are nice, and I have fun with them. And it’s been sunny, I even spent all of Friday afternoon without a sweater, and there’s money in my tip jar. And it’s my favourite time of year, when work is busy, but not yet as busy as in late April and May, and I get to dash around all day restocking the pansy/viola and the primrose tables. As far as I’m concerned, it could be March for another couple of months.

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