Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coyote Goes Shopping

I Recently Had Surgery

To repair some damage to my jaw. It wasn't a big enough deal that I had to go to a hospital, but it was a big enough deal that I needed to be driven. Luckily Dani's Big Brother (ever since Dani came into the family that's his name) volunteered to do the driving.

The surgery went well, they actually ended up doing less than they had anticipated. I'm doing quite well, schlepping along on liquids for the time being, expecting to move to soft foods soon.

On the way home, we stopped at the local Smart & Final to stock up on liquid and soft diet goods. I was doing fine, the surgery was done with all local anesthetics and the gauze was keeping any bloody drool off my chin and clothes.

This is also the biggest time locally for our winter visitors, called Snowbirds. These are mostly retired folks from places like Michigan, Montana, Manitoba, and all the other states that freeze up in the winter. The Snowbirds hop into their motor homes and trailers and head down here to the desert. For the most part they are a big boost to the local economy and are a welcome addition to our small communities here.

While we're waiting in the checkout line, just ahead of us is a archetypal Snowbird. He's wearing the uniform so identification is a snap. Shorts and windbreaker, Costco sandals with sock, shocking alabaster white skin. Most of the locals here at least end up with "farmer" tans, even if they get their farmer tan on the golf course.

All is well and proceeding nicely until the checkout lady finishes up his transaction and hands him his receipt. She says "Happy Holidays."

You would have thought she said "Allah bless Osama bin Laden, and all gay marriages," Because the snowbird guy puffs himself all up and puts on his best Bill O'Reilly look of extreme indignation. He gives her what I expect he imagines as his best imperious and withering gaze and says:

"In MY house we say MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Usually I have my normal brought up on the rez type of reserve. I'm not known for being chatty or even saying all that much. Usually I just would have stood there and let things shake out the way that they will. It might have been the creeping pain that I was starting to feel in my jaw as the novocaine began to subside. It might also have been the two Vicodin that the oral surgeon gave me before I left his office. It might have been my extreme feduppitude with the whole bullshit "WAR ON CHRISTMAS" fiction that is so beloved of the social conservative crowd. It might even have been some residual resentment of out of state folks who spent bazillions of dollars in the last election to amend the California State Constitution for the first time in history with the express purpose of denying rights to a whole class of our citizens, including my cousin, with their odious Proposition (h)8.

It might have been all of those things all bubbling up in my opiate addled head. Anyway, the result was that I blurted out in the same cadence and tone of voice as the Snowbird dude:

"In MY house we say go FUCK yourself!"

It's out there, it's been said, the profanity is just hanging there. Everyone within earshot is waiting to see what happens next. The checkout lady is trying to stifle her belly laughs, she's holding on to the cash drawer and grimacing like she's been punched. Snowbird dude has whirled around to face me, he's doing the flushing up from the neck, past the ears thing. He starts to see what he's dealing with. My nephew is laughing out loud, he's also 6'3" tall and right behind me. Snowbird also takes in the bloody gauze poking out of the sides of my mouth, he also sees the opiate dilated pupils in my eyes and the look of wild abandon on my face.

He decides that I am neither a worthy nor a safe debating partner at the moment. He leaves. When my transaction is finished the checkout lady sings a little phrase:

"Happy Holidays to you...
Happy Holidays..."

We all have ourselves a little laugh.

The "WAR ON CHRISTMAS" has arrived. We've just fired our first shots down here.