Attention to Detail

I was driving past the entrance to a Target the other day, and I was annoyed. It was my intention to go past the Target to a different store, and was not interested in parking. However, I had to wait for the foot traffic to clear, and for the cars in front of me to choose the lane in which they would seek a parking space. It lasted approximately three minutes, but it felt like an eternity. I could have soft boiled an egg, typed 180 words, or been half way to orgasm, in that amount of time. With planning, I could have done all three.

When, at long last, I approached the crosswalk, a woman emerged from the store to delay me yet again. She pushed a stroller with a child in the stroller. It was the sort of stroller with the pram-like top that swivels to adjust to the elements, and the child’s legs stuck out from the stroller. I noticed that his shoes were clean, black, patent leather oxfords. His socks matched his little trousers, and his trousers matched his mother’s jacket. It was all just darling.

What is more, the shade of brown matched that of the suit worn by the Mr. Fox in “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” The level of detail was actually what popped that movie into my thoughts, as the whole film depended on the use of detail aimed at subtle suggestion of story. I happen to enjoy that immensely, and so I thoroughly enjoyed “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” It wasn’t perfect, mind you, as Wes Anderson’s quirky story telling provides wonderfully funny situations, but rarely offers a punch line to the jokes. You hardly know when to laugh. I tend to laugh at all kinds of stuff in those movies, much to the annoyance of those around me.

Which brings us back to my annoyance. The woman and her son, dressed impeccably in matching outfits, pushing a stylish pram, paraded before me along the crosswalk. There was dirty slush along the road, and it was a perfectly funny situation. All that it needed was a punch line to the joke, such as the woman being splashed by snow, or one of the other shoppers slipping on the ice.

I realize that it sounds cruel, but I’m telling my version of the story. If I had slipped on the ice, that would have been a tragedy; but if someone else had slipped on the ice, especially someone making me wait, then that would have been comedy. For the record, I was perfectly happy that the woman and her son advanced to her car unharmed, unsoiled, and sans punchline.

It’s my own fault. If I was really in need of a punchline, I should have driven past Walmart.