For years, I have been obsessed with the twin sisters who work at the supermarket across the street. They’re in their 50s, I think, and ring up customers Monday thru Friday at side by side registers. They look and dress exactly alike – long dark hair, cut in the same style, like they saw Farrah’s Fawcett’s wings in the `70s and never got over it. They have very heavy New Yawk accents, which you can hear only when they’re giving you change or asking if you have any coupons. Otherwise, they are always the utmost in supermarket professionalism (they used to work at the Gristedes’ down the street before it closed; then they migrated over to this one), and they put the other blabby, lazy cashiers to shame. Once I misread a sale sign on toilet paper and one of them alerted me before ringing it up and THEN WENT AND GOT THE ONSALE TOILET PAPER HERSELF. Incredible! I love them, as does Pancake, who always stops to say hello when we run into one of them having a cigarette on a break.
I often try to draw them into conversation because I just KNOW they’d be fascinating to listen to, the kind of eccentric New Yorkers you see less and less. But for years, they’ve just smiled politely and told me to have a good day. Never a crack in the facade – until Hurricane Irene.
Not only were they downright chatty when I casually asked them how they did in the storm (I knew these two HAD to live together) but ONE OF THEM LEFT HER POST TO COME OVER AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION! They said they did just fine, but not their friend who lives on Long Island.
“She hasn’t had powuh fuh daze,” one of them said.
“Fuh daze!” her sister emphasized. “And she doesn’t know when she’s gonna get the powuh back!”
“Maybe she should come stay with you two,” I ventured.
“Oh, no,” they said in tandem, shaking their manes. “No, no, no.”
I raised my eyebrows. I was afraid to say anything cause I didn’t want them to stop talking.
“She has a generatuh. She’s okay,” said one.
“Well, fuh now,” said her sister. “The fiuh depahtment told her she has to shut it off fuh a while. She’s been runnin’ the generatuh fuh 50 houwas.”
“50 houwas!” her sister echoed.
“But she’ll be awright,” one sister said confidently. Then both heads swiveled in tandem as someone rolled up to the visiting sister’s lane. Like she had A&P ESP!
It made me think it would be fun to work at a supermarket with Wiggles, bagging and yakking all day long. Life could be worse.