Ole Russ. Fweoohwee. Sorry I'm late." "Not a concern Arden, thanks for showing up anyways. I wanted to know how much you think you'd end up charging me if you plowed my dooryard for this winter?
"Well, ahh. ffpheeew. You want it pushed back fully, back there? ffPheeew, haaaa. Let me catch my breath first."
"Take your time, Arden. (I laughed) Got all day. No snow in the forecast for a while anyway ... that you'd need ta plow, I'm guessing."
"Well, Russ, I hate to be late ya know, but the gol darn people drinkin them, fwooofph ... bitter, foreign coffees. What is it they like about it? It's strong? They tryin to get high? Why don't they just drink booze? It's quicker by two."
"What are you sayin', Arden?"
"I'm overly busy. Took too much on, too many jobs. Stone skippin season's bout flush, winter's comin', the ole rubble trailer foundation gotta be bucked up with spruce poles and hemlock boughs right off. I'm hammered with work. Woke up this morning, give myself a French dry-clean, hit the road runnin', doin' stuff alllll day. Couldn't imagine being married. Sorry I'm late."
(I laugh) "You ain't holding me up, Arden."
"Hope not. But see they got one a them frappacheenolatte, capalatte, fralattes, yogalattes, er fricken pilattes, I don't know, I can't keep my lattes straight nowadays, bbut anyway, they got one a them big gol' darned frickin' coffee machines at my place I buy my lottery tickets at. Big as a wood splitter. It's not so bad it takes half the day for the future state senator behind the counter to pull me two or three lotto tickets, but when she's got ta make one a them coffeecheeno rigs, for some filthy-footed flip-flop wearin' hippie, why the Egyptians push blocks up the long side of a pyramid faster.
The fact that it takes a jet engine to froth milk-the poor gol' darn hippies in that restaurant tryin to be peaceful reading gluten-free food hand-outs and playin Jumble, why they'd like to power-blast granola out their nostrils when that frothin machine goes off. Must be there's the same engines in the milk frothin' machines as they use in the gal danged automatic hand dryers in the public rest rooms now. Miniature 747 engines in them hand dryers. Loud?
Ffwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. My friggin' hands don't need to be bone-dry man. I like em a little moist! Them dryers are environmentally good cause they don't make no paper, but crap, the noise pollution. I stopped at a rest area, one that's closed now because the state government's spending too much money, so they thought they'd close some rest areas and take the money they save from closing the rest areas and go ahead and spend it opening up a new jail for women, but I was at the rest area doing my number one business, guy triggered the hand-dryer -- scared the fluid down outa me so hard I sandblasted a nickel sized whole straight through the urinal. Didn't know it was so loud to make heat in the 21st century.
Cavemen rub two sticks together, make fire, took a while, but cripes, least it didn't wake the babies back at the cave. My 40-year-old woodstove makes more heat then them hand dryers and it burns quiet as Helen Keller doing karaoke. No need to have fancy coffee. Two teaspoons of instant stirred with your finger set ya right up. But you pay four or five dollars for a coffee made from foreign bean, topped with an inch of very loudly made milk froth, you feel special, like a New York Yankee, or Dallas Cowboy, or a retired French teacher living in Paris. Make you feel like things you envy but know you'll never be. Fancy coffee makes them people feel rich. Or, richer, relative to what they are. That's the hook, I know that, and I'm dumb."
"So, ole' Russ, if your driveway includes the right-of-way, its 45 bucks a plow. If it starts at them two birch posts stuck into, and stickin' out of the ground, 25. I won't plow but only when there's more en four inches. My hand from fingertip to wrist is eight. I put a salute stiff hand, finger first into the freshly fallen, and if my hand's covered more than half, I plow ... if that's alright?"
(I laughed) "It starts at the right-of-way. So fifty. You're hired Arden."
"Any cash layin' around you gotta get rid of? Rid of it my way and I'll take two twenties a plow instead. Barrack ull never know the difference."
"Two 20s it is. Things are out of hand in America ain't they Arden?"
"Well I don't know if they're out-a-hand ole Russ, but I know frothin milk and dryin hands is louder than NASCAR. I gotta get. Work, work, work. Can't believe there's people can't find any. My down fall? Never feeling entitled."
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com