Disaster Adjacent (Eavesdropping Edition)

Time: 1:00p.m.

Temperature: 109 & rising

I was in Trader Joe’s for last minute holiday weekend supplies. I don’t usually notice conversations going on around me in Trader Joe’s as I squint at my list, trying to remember what I forgot to put on it.

But this day, I did. Listen. And whatever TJ’s section I was in—crackers, nuts, where they keep the salmon dip–all anyone was talking about? Weather. Especially since the La Tuna Canyon fire was raining ash city-wide, and actual rain reportedly gushed in pockets of our teeming metropolis, pockets like Reseda (I was witness) and Malibu, but pict-20120612-151635-0not, sadly, La Tuna Canyon.

“Loading up and heading to Malibu. Weather there insane, rain, sun, lightning, but, you know, I LIKE that. Me, personally, I LIKE weather.”
—gesticulating older man in shorts and flip flops to a TJ’s clerk. Clerk told man to have a wonderful time in Malibu, for her. She meant it.

“My daughter’s fine, my daughter’s fine, no, my daughter’s fine, no flooding in her condo? But it ain’t pretty. She’s a new college grad! Wow. Wow. Wow. What an education.”
—TJ’s checkout clerk to a customer nodding rhythmically as she bagged her own goods. Customer was on the verge of tears.

Crowd at the tasting/coffee area–so many people and carts, the thruway was blocked. Two TJ’s clerks behind tasting counter shared info and intel and research regarding floods and heatwaves with crowd. Samples cups were discarded on the counter, littered floor. No subsequent samples were being prepared. Yet no one left the tasting area. Everyone wanted to talk.

“Flashlights, freeze-dried food. Like–meatballs. Ice cream. Space blankets. Solar powered phone chargers. Running shoes in your car, oh, and twine. Like for camping. Everyone has this shit, babe. Come on.”
—TJ’s customer pushing basket super slowly down frozen food aisle, speaking into cell phone balanced between shoulder and ear.

“Bee’s wrap. Shut. Up. Do it.”
—customer on cell phone hovering near my beloved salmon dip.

I took two dips. zumasunsetAnd, seconds later, a baguette.

I thought: I am going home and I am going to revise the crap out of my manuscripts.

Update: Salmon dip w/baguette was, as usual, amazing. Earthquake kit checkup proved we have a solar powered electronics charger, a year’s supply of astronaut food, space blankets, a hand-crank radio, water purifier and loads of other items. I researched bee’s wrap on the internet, but am leaning towards hemp wrap so as not to stress out the stressed out bee population. Late Labor Day afternoon? We took our dinner to Zuma Beach, Malibu. We swam, ate, watched the sun set and dolphins cut through giant, greeny waves. Rain fell on us. Felt like a blessing.

Manuscripts? Revisions? Coming along, Toto, coming along.

About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI. pbwrites.wordpress.com
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