Overheard in the West

spring wheat field, walla walla

spring wheat field, walla walla

Susanne and I were making our monthly trip to Costco last weekend when we pulled into the gas station just past the Bad Broccoli Plant. Well, we needed gas, and it usually has a better price than in town. It’s also notable for a few other reasons, namely:

it is next to the “tattletale light,” as described on a local news broadcast, to catch speeders, the only one of its kind for 20 plus miles.

it is located on Humorist Road. I swear, I haven’t found any humorists there, and I’ve asked around.

it is patronized by completely clueless drivers who pull up to one of only four pumps, walk inside, eat a hot dog, walk outside, and then pump their gas, 15 minutes later.

The only thing that makes this place tolerable is the gas prices. Consistently they were about 15 to 20 cents cheaper per gallon than in town. I am sorry to report that those prices are no longer deep discounts, so perhaps our foray on Sunday will be our last for a while. However, I did get to observe the following exchange between two obviously teenage women.

Teenager #1: (standing next to gas pump, smoking, wearing an oversized WSU sweatshirt and purple sweatpants, hair up in a ponytail) I hear you’re not talking to Cherie anymore.

Teenager #2: (drinking Diet Pepsi, wearing a faded t-shirt and tight jeans) That bitch.

Teenager #1: What happened?

Teenager #2: You know, I don’t even care anymore. Whatever. She’s gonna stay fat after having that baby, not like I did. I lost all my weight right away.

Good thing they didn’t see that my jaw was hanging open. Back in my day, in my Catholic school, girls would actually hide their pregnancies. How . . . nice that we’ve gotten more permissive? I certainly am not advocating for shaming girls in painful, difficult situations. But to see that completely ignored in favor of making nasty comments about one’s pregnancy rate, well, I think we’ve gone a bit off the rails there.

Meanwhile, spring has come to the valley. I had no idea before I moved out here that wheat starts its life green, but I suppose that’s not terribly surprising. It does make for some striking landscape.

walla walla in spring

walla walla in spring

The daffodils have popped up and opened, the tulips are sticking their heads out from the ground, people are talking about gardening, and the river and creeks are flush with all of winter’s precipitation. Rushing, hard water, that gushes through town in small levees, first through the eastern outskirts of town, and into downtown. Years ago, intrepid and stupid Whitman students would get the futile idea to go tubing down the canal path, only to wind up outside Macy’s, bruised and naked, suddenly aware of the power of a fast current. The path for the water is gated off, but every now and again, some person will get the urge to make the Walla Walla equivalent of a trip down Niagara Falls in a barrel. With all the snow we had last December, this would be a particularly bad spring to take a ride at the impromptu water park.

Latest on the Walla Walla Freecycle list: a “gently used” maternity belt that the soon-to-be former owner just washed so it still has a little “fuzz” on it, and ferret cages from a family who realized all too late that ferrets are not the pet for them. Anyone else picture screaming toddlers running away from a snapping rodent running amok in the house?

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