I’m making pizza.
My yeast refused to proof, so I drove around the corner to the market for a jar of leavening. The stuff promises it’ll last forever as long as you take proper care of it. But, in my experience, yeast has a definite refrigerator shelf-life, no matter how carefully I maintain the temperature.
So, I’m standing in line to pay for my purchase and I look up to see an old couple in front of me. One of those duos that have been married so long they look alike.
Salt and pepper hair cut haphazardly and possibly with a vacuum cleaner attachment.
Faded denim–a skirt for her and overalls for him.
Soft, deeply lined faces.
Eyes such a pale blue they’re almost the same gray as the matching denim.
This couple watches the cashier ring up a half a chicken and a tub of what my grandma always called Oleo. Neither of them opens a purse or takes out a wallet. The two just stand and watch the checkout process.
Now, I’ll admit it. Right about here, in my head, I began to play the God save me from old people tape.
“Do they not understand that, when the cashier is finished, they’ll be expected to pay? Since they both move as slow as molasses in January, can they not at least begin the slow-motion that will bring her purse or his wallet out into the open. The bills counted carefully, the coin purse searched.
The cashier finishes, bags their items and still they stand and watch.
Then, finally, the old man removes his wallet exactly as I expected, as though underwater, like a geriatric ballet. He counts out the bills. Slowly.
Oh God, so slowly.
The old woman smiles, watches his movements, waits until his wallet is returned to the bib of his overalls. She lifts her purse to the counter, fiddles inside and emerges with one of those kissy lip coin purses. Another underwater ballet is performed as she counts out a quarter, a dime, two nickels and one, two, three, four pennies.
Finally, thank you Jesus, the old man lifts the grocery bag and the two shuffle off.
I pay for my yeast and pass the couple on my way to the front door.
The two are holding hands.
And, when they get to their car (a beat to crap corolla) she stands smiling while he opens her door.
I arrive home to find my yeast has proofed after all. I guess I just wasn’t patient enough with the process.
Happy Valentines Day.