Wendy Stories
December 1999

Wimey the Booh and Charmy Brown

We just signed a lease on a rental house, and we noticed the landlady's toddler was wearing a denim jacket with an unusual logo. There was an embroidered picture of a small brown bear eating honey, emblazoned with the words "Wimey the Booh." Then we noticed the landlady's sweatshirt logo. It had a picture of a cartoon boy holding a football, and it was labelled "Charmey Brown."

Charmey Brown?

She bought the clothes in Hong Kong last year, where there are many inexpensive imitation designer labels. I think these things could catch on over here! Knock-offs of knock-offs.

Later I was standing in line at Rite-Aid, behind an old woman and her daughter. The line was moving very slowly, and the checkers were relaxed, which is usual for this discount drug store. The woman put her California* license and a check on the counter. It sat there for a long time. And I noticed that the license had two photos on it.

* I gave up my California license for a Nevada license <sad tear>

Now usually when I'm in line, in the store, I am quiet and do not talk to the others. That's the reticent American way. Maybe it's the Universal way. But sometimes when I stand in line I offer to chat. I don't force anyone to converse, but I might toss out a a sentence and see if they respond. This was one of those times. Her license looked peculiar with two photographs. All the licenses I've seen have one photo, on the right or left, never both.

"Is your license the new kind?" I asked.

The woman ignored me. Maybe she was hard of hearing. Maybe she didn't want to talk. I didn't intend to pursue the question. But her daughter nudged the woman. "Mom the lady is talking to you." The woman did not respond. Did she suffer from a hearing impairment? I looked away. The daughter nudged her again. "Mom! That lady asked you a question."

The older woman looked neither right nor left. "I don't have to give her that information," she stated in a surly tone. The daughter and the cashier and I looked at each other helplessly. I didn't mean to intrude on the woman, but her attitude did make it seem that I was being nosy. "Sorry," I backtracked lamely. "I just never saw a license with two photos before, and I thought it might be new."

The cashier brightly explained that it *was* the new California driver's license. The woman ignored us, and I felt awkward, thinking that I had put both her and myself in the unwanted position of seeming rude.

Social interactions, a morass of conflicting intentions.
< A New Religion >

20 December 1999

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