my parents will eventually be moving back here and in preparation, my cousin is renovating their rental flat. my job in their absence is to coordinate with my mom regarding finishing choices: tiles, shower heads, shower cabins, all of the things my cousin needs now, as opposed to those that can wait until my mom arrives later this week. today i embarked on a quest for tiles, and lo, it illuminated the very clear limits to verbal communication: describing the EXACT amount of beige in what is being marketed as grey is rather difficult on the phone. questions like how dark is it? are similarly problematic. there isn't a scientifically accurate scale of greyness, beigeness, and darkness that one can carry in one's purse. i mean, sure, i could have RGB'd or CMYK'd the fuck out of those tiles, but i sort of lacked the technology then and there. so instead i used vague and less-than-satisfactory words to describe the tiles. eventually, having extracted a promise that my choice would not result in any unpleasantness if it were less than perfect, i bought a pile of tiles.
i grabbed a heavy duty home depot cart typically used to haul unwieldy things (sides of beef, dead moose, giant pumpkins come to mind) and pushed/pulled its reluctant metallic bulk to the flooring section. it exhibited the type of orneriness one usually expects from a shopping cart, but which, coming from a conveyance of this size, became rather more problematic. when i got to the tiles i began the nigh impossible search for help. a small wizened old man told me he couldn't handle the weight of the tile bundles (no! he could not!) but his attempt to rope in a muscular young buck failed, and he came back with a man of only slightly less advanced age but a much more positive attitude. this fine gentleman piled seven heavy boxes of tiles on the cart and off i went.
by off i went, i mean i used my entire body strength to push the protesting cart which, to add insult to injury, emitted the sort of noise one associates with a particularly inept abattoir or the less pleasant regions of hell - it screeched and howled so loudly that every single person in my path looked at me in shock, horror, and/or merriment and promptly got out of my way. covered in a thin sheen of sweat and feeling as unladylike as i had all day (what?! sometimes i feel a little ladylike!), i arrived at the cashier who began scanning each box individually. i was about to roll my eyes at this when she discovered that one box was not like the others. naturally, the impostor was right at the very bottom of the pile, because where else would it be?
i managed to turn the cart around (accompanied by more screeching and metallic yodelling) and retraced my loud and laborious steps to the flooring section which was now as bereft of staff as it is possible to be in a pre-apocalyptic world. giving up on extracting the wrong box, i simply grabbed another correct box and hefted it onto the pile. then one more graceful pirouette, and yet another stately procession down the isle. when passing the incredulous ladies at the paint department, i suggested to them that this particular vehicle had outlived its usefulness and ought to be taken out back and shot. they agreed. possibly they couldn't hear me over the shrieks of the damned and merely nodded to make me go away.
i paid, had a young man transport the whole pile of tiles to my wee car and took it to its final resting place.
i came home utterly exhausted. and possibly slightly more deaf.