Friday, April 25, 2008

If All Else Fails, Imitate a Raccoon Backing out of a Chimney

Last month my friend MKA came up to visit. Actually, that's not an accurate statement. For about 4 weekends in a row our social calendars overlapped in a way that might suggest we were near neighbors, rather than friends who live in Boston and New York respectively. She came up one week, I went down to NYC that weekend, back to Boston to work, back to NYC for the following weekend, she came up the next 2 weekends - really, it was getting ridiculous. There were good reasons for all of that - baby showers and reunions and baseball games - but really. It was about time we stopped doing that so we could remember what it was like to miss a good friend now and then.

That first weekend I was in NY the two of us took a road trip to Ikea. We were on a secret undercover mission: MKA wanted to replace the bookshelves in her bedroom while her boyfriend was away. You know, your basic sly stealthy bookshelf switcharoo. Garden variety. So there we were, shopping for bookshelves. (Don't be fooled - it's not as glamorous as I'm making it sound.)

Let me back up a minute. Earlier during that visit MKA and I had rolled all over her living room giggling breathlessly over this post on Dooce's blog. Seriously. Tears streaming down our faces. And for several days we had entertained ourselves and others doing our very best imitations of a raccoon backing out of a chimney.

So. There we are at Ikea, buying bookshelves. Did you know that 72" tall bookshelves, when bundled into a cardboard box, are HEAVY? Yes. They were heavier than the two of us could manage so I set off through the giant Swedish warehouse to find a muscle-y assistant in a blue shirt to help us. The first one sailed past, oblivious to my wave. A second one sailed by - perhaps I was invisible? All this time MKA was laughing and making fun of my overly polite Southern-lady waving, which was okay since it was totally ineffective. At exactly the same moment we both made the switch from laughing at lame waving techniques to imitating a raccoon backing out of a chimney. This cracked us up, mystified and scared various fellow shoppers, and lo, snagged a Blue Shirt for assistance.

So the lesson I learned here is that while Southern-lady waving can be polite, the truly effective way to get help in a retail situation is to imitate an overweight raccoon reversing his way out of a chimney. Good to know.

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