Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Giving Is Love

Pickup line at the market: "Squeeze this, not the Charmin'"

As I've been out and about these past few weeks, I've been using my camera to catch the seasonal, in part to use for some photographs I need for my Valentine's Day cards. I started seeing Valentine's displays before Christmas was over, just as I saw things on store shelves for Christmas in July. Once, I met an employee at Giant groceries, and she told me that Valentine's Day candy comes to the store in August and sits in storage until then, but that's in keeping with most retail practices, I think. I was told by an employee of an upscale garden nursery in this area that they order their Christmas decorations a year in advance from China, and that they have them arrive, boxed, during the summer, so it's hardly surprising, is it, that these things find their way to the shelves at such advanced dates.

Usually with my "picture of the day" I don't like to add text, or if I do, it's in the tags lines at the bottom of the piece where I can be whimsical or file under "gaudy commercialism," as well as the sentiment of "valentine." In this case, I had to tell you what occurred during this photo session, because it was one of those little moments we each have in our days that can be transforming.

I had already been out in the evening. I had to cancel my regular exercise classes this week when I took a nasty fall on some stairs and ribs and steps collided, (and "no" Tony, I was not wearing stilettos at the time. I have never fallen off my heels.) Last night I did more work on my "cocktail of the week piece," picked up a Baltimore Sun at the bookstore, and ran a few errands before heading home.

I went into a local market to buy perhaps two things, but also keeping my eyes peeled for "Valentine" opportunities for this project I am working on. In the middle of the store, in the middle of an aisle, I saw this bin of stuffed toys, and this woman standing next to them, picking them up and laughing to herself. Now. This could have been a "did an extension of happy hour just find it's way in here" moment, or "is her handbag lined in Reynolds wrap foil," but it was a woman thoroughly enchanted with these furry toys, where you would squeeze their paw and they would sing various songs. I took a few pictures, then I dug down deep into the bin and started handing her ones she hadn't seen on the surface.

We stood and played each's animal's song. When I found this one, I told her "Diana Ross," and we squeezed and sure enough it sang a Supreme's song. I told her I thought of Diva Ross, because she had just been performing down in Jamaica where she was soundly booed off stage for refusing to let the concert promoters use the video screen in the stadium. If cameras add ten pounds, God knows what the mega flat screen would shoot out to her fans. My new acquaintance hadn't heard this story, and her face fell in thinking of how someone who had been so popular in the past would now be booed.

" Do NOT take my picture, biotch!"

Diana....where did the love go?

I told my new friend a story about this song.
I am not repeating it here,
but if you know me, pretty funny, huh?

I rarely read what would be called "self-help" books. Sometimes I will, to stay abreast of what the country is pursuing to find enlightenment. I have not read The Secret, but I did get a book at the library, written by a professor of bioethics, called Why Good Things Happen To Good People, where he proposes that if you have one word to take you into eternity, it is the word "give." I agree with much of what he says. Where he and I would part company if that I do think life can slam you down to a point where there is no more get up to give, but...I digress.
I was talking to a friend the other night about my sending out valentine's, and I told her that I certainly didn't send them out expecting any feedback from the recipients, any more than I expected cards from them in return. I performed the act to express gratitude for their friendship, to give something back to them, even if it was nothing more than a scissors, paste and paper effort on my part to show they meant something to me. I also told her that no one seemed to take the time to write letters anymore and post them through the mail, or bother with holiday cards--few anyway, and wasn't it nice to get something through the post that wasn't a bill or junk advertising?

"Hot, hot, hot, when you put me in the pot, pot pot"

This was a Valentine's Lobster. I know. Bizarre. He sang "Hot, hot, hot," and I thought "Oh so not, not, not." I love the look of defeat on his face, sitting next to a big white bear with a big pink heart. The bear all of the children were grabbing out of the bin and racing off to show their mothers. "THIS ONE!" Poor guy. He needs to read When Bad Things Happen To Good Nephropidae."

After talking to this upbeat woman for 20 minutes, I introduced myself, and she told me her name was Harriett (with two "t's). I asked her permission to take her picture, and she was delighted. She laughed when she saw the picture below. That woman, if you see her on the streets? Stop and talk to her. She is a joy. She told me a story about her name, and her life. One day when her car was in the shop, she had to take a Metrobus to her destination, and she started talking to a woman in the seat next to her, and they talked until their mutual arrival point. When they were saying goodbye, they swapped names, and it turns out they were both Harriet with "two t's." Harriett was telling me odd things happened like that to her all of the time. I thought, "Not odd at all." She was so out there in expressing her happiness to the world, she was sure to draw a lot of people to her and give right back out to them. Happy Valentine's Day, Miss Harriett. I'm glad I met you.

Happy Valentine's Day From Harriett & Friends

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Blogger Velvet said...

You know, if I saw someone at the grocery store taking pictures of stuffed animals, I would know for sure it was you. I would probably scream, "CUBE!" And you'd look, then I'd say, "Maid-ja look!"

3:37 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I was sure they were going to kick me out a week or so ago when I went into a market and left pictures of Edgar Allan Poe all over the store (see earlier entry). I'm like Jacqueline Kennedy over at the old Washington Times-Herald as the "Inquiring Camera Girl."

4:01 PM  
Blogger I-66 said...

We should all hope to be so warm down the road.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Amen, Buddy. You just know this woman is making friends wherever she goes.

10:16 PM  
Blogger All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

cube - that new pic with your name page - ie butt in a heart is a classic and I have to laugh - whenever I see your "about me page" and it says see larger view - I think ahhh um no thanks!!

4:49 AM  
Blogger Ryane said...

Cube! OMG..what an awesome story! I think if I saw a bin of funny stuffed animals that (when squeezed) said things like, "Squeeze this and not the Charmin", I'd probably stand there and squeeze them all, too!

You have restored some of faith in both humans and Valentine's Day...thanks!

8:08 AM  
Blogger WDCD/DRFS/aka Sue said...

I am always standing around places like Big Lots and Home Goods photographing things that I just can't believe exist...and that I should NOT take home with me. Beethoven busts (I wanted one b/c of Peanuts and b/c Thomas Jefferson had busts in HIS house), unusual food items (Heidi Klum candies...Rapper approved potato chips)...but rarely do I share that with people. You and Miss Harriett are rare birds with your enthusiasm for life and those moments of serindipity.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

What a sweet story and interaction. I'm sure Harriott benefitted from your cubish brand of magic.

Stuffies have always scared me. Why? Who knows.

As for The Secret - forget it. It's purely a blame the victim style narrative. Didn't read the whole thing, but I will say the book pissed me off.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

All Things: I'm thinking this avatar is a bit much. Especially leaving sympathy comments on another's blog. I had some great avatars that were photoshopped pinup girls for Valentines and St. Patrick, but lost them when my hard drive went down this summer. Much mourned. The one I'm using is a strong graphic, smaller, but I don't blame you for clicking into large.

Ryane: I'm waiting for the day shop owners kick me out with my nonsense.

Sue: Home Goods has some very fubar things in it. Like psychotic decoration for the home. I have found good things in there, but it takes a sharp eye to yank it from the dross.

Reya: We are not stuffies girls, that's why. I stopped playing with dolls as a very young age, as well. I definitely am not a My Little Pink Pony kinda girl.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

There are days, Miss Cube, that rather than a supercomputer/urban myth, I suspect you are actually one of Wim Wenders' angels, only with a camera and a blog. Nice job.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I saw Der Himmel ├╝ber Berlin, Hammer. Love me some Wim Wenders. Did you ever see An American Friend? That was where I first stumbled on Ripley. The only thing I can stomach in the City of Angels version is one scene where Cage is standing on the beach at dawn with the other angels. The light, but then I'm partial to the shoreline at dawn or anytime.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Thanks for pointing out the expression on the lobster's face.

If I may expound - beyond defeated, you will note the lobster's red color would indicate he is either a) already dead or b) near death, as he has been boiled.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Spending a lot of time on Cape Cod where I see lobstah traps right outside my door in the bay, I know all about lobsters, Phil, so yeah, I thought the same thing...Your game is DOA, Mr. Lobstah. I could see that figure selling in New England, but down here? They should have had a singing crab.

2:27 PM  
OpenID thaimex1 said...

WADEAMINUTE....is Cube's Avatar Boobs or Butts? That, to me, looks like an overhead shot of some massive boobers in a lacey bra. Sure it could look like a butt-shot but take another glance at that clehvhage!

Once again, Cube causes controversy and comments.

6:59 AM  

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