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My daughter, who is currently living in San Diego, is coming home. Correction – she is coming home for a short while on her way to somewhere else, but that's OK with me because she is on her way to another adventure and she and I agree that adventure is what makes life worth living. So, she is leaving the sun drenched beaches of California behind and moving on...to Canada, but that's another story.
She and her fiancé have divested themselves of most of what they own without regret; neither of them are particularly interested in “stuff”, and they will pack what remains, mainly their camping, hiking, diving, rock climbing equipment, in the car and drive east. There were a few items she shipped ahead to me for storage, the majority of which was her artwork (she's and artist), her books, and a few other odds and ends. Since she and her fiancé are frugal people, she did some research and found out that the cheapest way to send it was by freight with the bus line. I had no idea you could even do this, but Katie does her research well. The funny thing is, it doesn't take any longer than any other kind of freight service and gets to where it is going considerably faster than by standard mail, so it is a real bargain since it cost her half of what it would have by any other method.
When the boxes arrived at the bus station they called me to let me know and I went to pick them up. Picking them up in a bus station was a little weird, but hey, whatever works. I've picked up people at bus stations before, a couple of boxes are just a little more difficult to get into the car. When I got there the bus station was actually empty, something you don't often see, and there was a very young man behind the counter. I told him my name and that I was there to pick up two boxes from San Diego. Nothing too weird about that, right? Right. That's why I couldn't figure out why the nice young man was looking at me as if I were from Mars and there to pick up my flying saucer that had just been shipped in from the Moon. He had an expression on his face that I found impossible to read. It wasn't horror or fear or dread or anything Twilight Zone or X-File-ish. He didn't look at me as if I were a terrorist or an escaped lunatic or a circus clown. I found his expression entirely perplexing and unreadable. He looked at me as if he were trying to figure out why on earth I was picking up two boxes from San Diego.
“They're from my daughter,” I told him in what I hoped was the kind of manner that inspired motherly comfort. I was hoping that he would assume that the boxes were full of balls of yarn, knitting needles, and apple pie recipes. Anything to stop him looking at me as if I were something he had never seen before. Oddly, my response just made his eyebrows ascend to somewhere near his hairline.
I was becoming utterly confused. I had no idea what to make of his attitude. He was perfectly polite and nice, he just kept looking at me with his brow furrowed as if he were attempting to figure something out.
He looked at my ID, handed it back and asked, “Are you a professional?”
What the hey? A professional what? Tap dancer? Hair dresser? Sword swallower? I was completely at a loss so I just told him that it kind of depended upon what he meant by “professional”. His response was to nod his head a couple of times and shrug his shoulders. I won't lie to you, I was beginning to become a little irritated with young Mr. Enigma and his cryptic looks. He brought out the boxes, loaded them on a wheeled cart and told me that he would push them out to my car. I felt bad about thinking how much had wanted to kick him in the shins a few moments earlier. He was really very nice and polite – just freaking me out.
One of the boxes was a standard flat box for pictures and mirrors and it went in the back seat. The other was about 3 feet tall and kind of fat, so it had to sit in the passenger seat next to me. All the time the kid kept looking at my car as if he thought he might learn something from it. If he was expecting the Batmobile he must have been sadly disappointed. I thanked him quickly, told him to have a nice day and got into my car. While I put on my seat belt I looked at the labels on the box indicating where it had been. San Diego, Phoenix, New Orleans, Little Rock, Philadelphia, New York, Boston...this box had seen more excitement than I had in a long time. At this point I need to mention that my daughter works for a big, expensive clinic that practices cosmetic surgery, and she must have gotten the box from her work because the next label was quite large and said in big, bold letters, “Breast Augmentation Packs”. Right next to it some comedian freight handler had written in magic marker, “Is this a variety pack?”
Bingo, the light went on. The kid decided that I must be a plastic surgeon, and since I gave all the appearance of being anything but a highly and ridiculously over paid doctor, he probably decided that I was some kind of black market, back street criminal who did augmentations in my kitchen. I laughed all the way home.
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