I’ll Trade You One Mandarin Speaker for a Pound of Pain

corn manWe live near Seattle.  We’re close enough that the commute is decent but far enough into the nowhere that we’d be more likely to go cow-tipping than clubbing on a typical Thursday night. 

We have a slightly smaller public market than the big city, slightly more people dressed as giant cornstalks in the Fourth of July parade and our newspaper is much quirkier than the big city variety.

In my local paper you will find a section called Police Beat, eerily similar to the section of the same name in my college paper.  The only difference is that in BYU’s Police Beat, the articles would nearly always end with “The situation is under investigation” while my new town’s Police Beat articles end with something more like “There are no suspects, witnesses, clues, evidence, interesting details or real crime of any nature at this time.” At least in BYU’s Daily Universe, someone was still investigating the stolen cheese sandwich or the man who gave a woman a strange look across the parking lot of her dorm building. 

I’m quite surprised I haven’t made it into the paper yet.  The other day I parallel parked for almost two full hours right on Main Street when the sign clearly states that 2 hours is the LIMIT.  Even if we don’t make Police Beat, I know our family will make it into the paper somehow.  One of my kids is bound to join the chess club at school or earn their Eagle Scout award.  If one of us manages to save a salamander from untimely mangling, I’m sure we’ll make front page for the heroics.

How much of a dork am I that I’m suddenly scheming about how I can get on staff to write some kind of weekly parenting spot?  Yeah…..

My favorite part of the paper has to be the classified ads section.  Nearly every ad is in its own special section.  Here are a few of the headings:

Cemetery Lots
Mandarin Speaker (Dan speaks Mandarin and our marriage is not perfect, but I would never consider selling him in a small-town newspaper.  I don’t care if there is already a section for it.)
Miscellaneous (This section only has one entry, which I find amusing.)
Pain (This section also has only one entry.  I hope I called in time to snatch it up.  No one answered the phone.  There was just this amazingly high-pitched screeching noise.  Man, that still kills! )

When we first moved here, things got a little crazy and I was behind on my bill-paying.  I had to take my utility check into “city hall,” a little structure that looks about the size of my garage from the outside.  I parked in one of the three spots in front of the building and walked in, licking the envelope as I approached the desk where a tiny box labeled “utilities” sat.

The girl behind the counter called out, “You don’t have to lick that.”Â  “Oh, thanks,” I said as I stuffed the open payment into the slot.  The envelope stuck out about an inch.

“Um, excuse me.  The envelope is too tall for the box.”

“That’s okay.  I’m just gonna take it out as soon as you leave anyway.”

Look for twisters Dorothy.  We’re not in Seattle anymore.

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