It was the first time I used my new Blackberry for something other than a phone. I'm standing in a thrift store with XM Radio Guy & he's eying 2 original-retro office chairs. "I dunno," he says. "I don't really have room for both. I just need the one. What do you think?"
"I think they're awesome," I say. I look underneath & google the name of the manufacturer. It turns out they are circa 1962 & they're selling on line for $350. Each. "They really are great chairs," he says. "Would you keep one for me?"
After loading up the chairs into our respective cars, we say our goodbyes and he pulls out of the parking lot. I'm watching traffic and a man crosses in front of my car. Traffic is clear & I pull out. The man who crossed ahead of me was in the middle of the road. I jammed on the breaks & tapped into him. He turns around and starts screaming obscenities at me. We're in the middle of a 4-lane road. He walks across to the side and I pull over. He's still screaming and I'm shaken. "OMG!!! I just hit someone!" I'm scared to get out of the car with Screaming Man, but I can't just drive away! So I got out. I looked at him and said, "I am so sorry! I didn't see you. Are you all right?"
And then. This man who had been spewing filth, stopped. He took a breath and turned into a different person. He said, "That's all right. It's just a natural reaction. I'm just having a bad day." At which point I crumpled into Laura Petri and started crying. "Me tooooo!" Later, as I composed myself and was driving down the freeway, I thought, "Natural reaction? Really? Patterned reaction." Back to the story:
He assured me he was OK, and told me to go ahead down the road. If I'd had some presence of mind I would have gotten his name & number. Anyway, I got on my way, still shaken. I called XM Radio Guy and tried to be brave. "OMG! Is the guy all right?" he says. "Yeah, he says he is. He told me he wasn't hurt. I mean, I just tapped into him."
[pause . . . wait for it] "Is my chair OK?"
Classic. Bill Hutton at his best.
I took the chair and left it at Mum's because I didn't have room to take it back to the river house. She was away on one of her trips, can't remember which one. Anyway, when I picked her up from the airport and we got to her house, we walk in and she says, "What's that chair?" And there it stayed. I was webcamming with XM Radio Guy from Mum's one day and he says, "Oh, hey! There's my chair!"
Of course it wasn't there for long. Mum went into one of her cleaning-rearranging binges & she put it out in the barn. The next time I was at Mum's webcamming it, he says, "Where's my chair?" And Mum said, "Oh, did you want me to keep that for you? I got rid of it . . . just kidding! I'm storing it in the barn for you." Hahahaha
I tell this rambling Chair Story today because it's Bill Hutton's birthday. He's one of the FUNniest people I know, and one of my dearest friends. HAPPY B-day. Make a wish!