My favorite place to buy frames for hanging photographs is the thrift store. Seriously, picture frames are expensive, and so many people toss their shabby pictures of mime-clowns or hideous landscapes in with their Fido-Dido t-shirts and cat sweaters in their “for thrift store” piles despite that what is framing it is something awesome Sad for them, happy for me I suppose!
Now, I have a few awkwardly-sized 8x12s that I would like to frame and hang, so after work, I headed down to my local Sally-Ann. As I was double-checking the door handle to make sure my car was locked, a man stopped me to ask about my car.* As I explained to him that it was indeed a 2000 with only 58 000 kms on it (amazing, I know!), a woman who, having completed her own thrift store shopping and was presumably on her way to her own car, suddenly interrupted us.
“Who’s car is this?” she asked in a tone that made me suspect I had accidentally parked in a handicapped spot (I checked. I hadn’t).
“Mine,” I replied.
“Well,” she huffed, peering at my licence plate, “your sticker is out of date. It says 2010. This is 2011.” She stared me down through her large square bifocals, daring me to contradict her.
Ah yes, the sticker. I will freely admit that I can tend to be a little…..absent-minded. Things slip my mind; they just do. I am eterally grateful that I have a husband who is usually around to say things like “that element is still on,” or “It’s dark. You should probably turn on your headlights.” I renewed my vehicle insurance last November, I really did….but remembering to actually put the 2011 sticker over the 2010 sticker kind of…..got forgotten. I’d think of it while at work, or while in the shower or something, and vow to put it on as soon as I had a chance, but….I’d forget again.
I explained all of this rather apologetically to the lady, who seemed awkwardly incensed about it. She kept on staring at me, so I finished with a feeble “…Thanks for telling me?”
I was ready to commence my frame-shopping at that point, but as I began to turn away, the woman called out, “Well, I don’t believe you even have your new sticker.” (Okay. The other day, I was defining for my students what “snort of derision” meant. This, this was the most classic example of snort of derision I’ve ever encountered.)
I was sort of shocked that I was seriously having this conversation with a strange lady in the middle of the Salvation Army parking lot, and wasn’t really enjoying it, so I sort of thinly replied “Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter if you do or not.”
Seriously. What kind of random lady cares so much to turn this situation into such a big deal? I realized that my Friday afternoon tiredness was quickly progressing into the teeth-bearing, nasty sort of grumpiness, and I was not interesting in having any sort of catty exchange with this old woman in the parking lot.
Apparently though, she did not share my sentiments. “Well, if I were the police, I’d ticket you right now!” She huffed and made a lot of exasperated sounds as she said this.
“Good thing for me you’re not the police,” I replied wearily. Thankfully the man who had originally asked about my car (and who sat patiently through this awkward exchange) interjected about this time, and a couple of minutes later I was shopping for my frames.
But I was still kind of mad.
I mean, who does that? Who stops to tirade in a sketchy parking lot about something that affects you none whatsoever? It was silly. It was ridiculous, and it made me feel grumpy. As much as I knew that it was silly to let it get to me, I couldn’t help but sulk.
I didn’t spend much time in the Sally-Ann. Admittedly, I was partly worried that the Parking Lot Crusader was going to call in and let the real police know about a red 2000 Mazda Protege5 parked in the Salvation Army parking lot with an outdated insurance sticker.
As I pulled onto Bruce Ave, I realized something.
Because of the peevishness I felt at the lady, I was going to go straight home. I was going to find that envelope with the insurance sticker inside, smudge away a clear spot on the plate with my thumb, and finally update the sticker.
And that made me even grumpier.
*The man stopped me to ask about my car because he was a car dealer, and asked if I was interested in selling it. Apparently he has a client who is looking for my exact car! I gave no definitive answer, and took his card.