Saturday, October 28, 2006

Yeah, We Got That

For the two of you who have never seen the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, let me explain. A little box gets put in a big warehouse full of all sorts of neat things that will never, ever see the light of day again.

I'd like to do that with my seventh grade report card. Like the Ark, it reigned tremendous horror, terror and suffering upon all who gazed upon it. Unlike the Ark, it was heard from again and again and again. Pretty much in the form of "you're not going there, doing that, getting that, seeing your friend, breathing air again until you bring home better grades."

That's not to say I did uniformly poorly. I excelled in the subjects I was interested in. Unfortunately, staring vacantly into space, walking about aimlessly and speaking about pointless things were not disciplines officially recognized on the curriculum when I was in high school. I pretty much sucked at everything else.

Now I am reminded of the movie scene because of the hardware store across the street from my coffeehouse. Not the one I hang out at, sipping latte's and waxing philosophical. The one I own and set beartraps in the shrubs outside of hoping that some poor fellow will trade having his ankle freed for the price of a cappucino.

But there's this hardware store. It has eschewed all the latest marketing research, product placement analysis and sales boosting studies for being, well, just a small town hardware store. The lighting is bad, the aisles are narrow, the carpeting smells like some sort of machine lubricant but I'll tell you what; they have one of EVERYTHING.

The only problem is, you just can't find it. Hence the Ark comparison. Run in some Sunday afternoon like my buddy Eric did looking for a metric threaded flexible metal water supply hose because your friend's espresso maker just began to leak like E deck on the Titanic and they don't have one. BUT they do have a solid brass adaptor that couples imperial measure to metric and the hose that attaches to the adaptor so when said friend comes back to his coffeeshop and the floor looks like a hockey rink in July, you can reassure him it'll all work out because, well, I ran across the street to the hardware store and they fixed me up.

The folks in there are true experts. Not only will they solve your problem, they'll know the right word for the part you need. I once went in looking for something to cut a bunch of black crud off some small electric motors and was told they just got in some fresh non-conductive electrical contact cleaner. Thanks very much, who could have imagined it had a shelf life. Double bypass reversing valve? We got that. Single pole dual throw ground fault interupt wet location switch? Right here. Organically based non invasive weed herbicide? Bags of it out in the yard.

You could build the space shuttle out of this place and still have a few parts left over to deal with that drippy spare bathroom faucet and cracked garden hose. Its not that the parts aren't there, its finding them. I think that Flight 19 and the Holy Grail might be in there somewhere, next to a roll of Teflon tape that dates back to the Carter administration. They probably have Nixon's missing eighteen minutes, come to think of it, they just don't remember where they put them. Probably next to the bunting they stocked up on for the Lincoln funeral.

Can you see it? Or hear it for that matter. A truck pulls up and several nondescript cardboard boxes get piled up on the sidewalk. Stock up for another busy week.

"Whatcha got here?"

"Looks like a reverse ionizing oxygenation filter better suited to space missions of 18 months or longer. Orbital re-entry vehicles only though."

"Did we order that?"

"Probably."

"Put it next to the bird feeders. SOMEBODY'S gonna need something like that eventually."

Bunny on.

2 Comments:

Blogger Sis said...

Hey! I know where that is! Thanks for warning me about the bear trap. Nice job, Java Man.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Ericka said...

i LOVE stores like that! hardware stores, used book stores, strange little antique places - love 'em. spend hours happily wandering about, looking at sprockets and widgets and farmers' almanacks from 1808. wonderful!

and, here's something weird. even though i have NO sense of direction and can't find my car without help, drop me in a store like that, and i can find exactly what i need faster than the people who work there. it's very strange.

my dad's an electrical contractor, and one of the stores he buys parts for is like that. he usually drags me along when he goes, 'cause i find what he's looking for, even when i have no idea what it is.

12:34 AM  

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