I love words and vignette is a favorite of mine. “A short, graceful literary sketch.” “A brief, appealing scene, as in a movie.” I don’t know how graceful or appealing my blogs are; they usually aren’t short or brief, that’s for sure! To me, a vignette is a glimpse or an anecdote of mine or someone’s Life, a quick story told on the fly, usually at the dinner table, almost always resulting in laughter.
I’m outnumbered here, gender-wise, and men don’t tell stories the way women do. A woman will go into great detail, she’ll add sub-plots and side-way tangents; she will regal you with rich observations that would fill a book. A man will say three to five sentences and be done.
But, oh, my men have the most interesting stories, um, tidbit tales! My brother hasn’t been able to write down his Woodstock adventures (he’s in a great deal of pain, barely managed by his pain meds). We’re hoping he can get that Dragon program and just speak into his computer and have it type it for him! The only parts of the Woodstock story I remember are that he smoked that funny stuff, camped out, played in the mud, and got the station wagon stuck in the mud. Someday, I’ll get him to tell me the whole story again.
When they had the Woodstock reunion in the 90s, I was the manager of a Pizza Hut, just off the New York State Thruway. We were mobbed and so not ready for it. We had people five deep at the counter, starving, filthy campers, eagerly pressing forward, watching the ovens, hoping I was cutting their pizza to be boxed. Amidst the chaos was one … woman. Yes, I’m being polite. She insisted that no meat, meat substance or meat oil touch her pizza.
We tried. My main cook made her pizza on a clean board and used fresh gloves to place the garlic sauce (no tomato marinara sauce for her, no sirree, it might have meat products in it! Gack!) and cheese on the dough. She was right up front, and could see everything. Before he placed her pizza in the oven, she saw the other cook grabbing cheese from the bin…”Wait! That’s the cheese you ALL use? It’s tainted with meat substance!” Oh, god…
We apologized and Ted trotted to the walk-in, pulled out a new bag of cheese, and used it for her new pizza. Good, pizza now in oven. I was lifting pizzas out as fast as I could to keep the ovens from backing up and burning them. The slightest pause meant disaster. I grabbed her pizza, slid it out of the pan onto the cutting board… “Wait! That board just had a sausage pizza on it!” Oh, god (and the twenty people behind her groaned, too)…
I apologized and Ted made her another new pizza. I swiftly dealt with a few more pizzas, making sure a clean cutting board was at hand for the vegan lady. Her pizza rolled to the front, I expertly slipped it onto the clean board and sliced down… “Wait! That’s MY pizza and you just used THAT slicer on a pepperoni pizza!” Oh, god (and the thirty people behind her didn’t just groan. They bitched, they told her to give up, they looked at her with murder in their eyes…but, wonder of wonders, they did NOT blame me and my crew!)…
We apologized, again, and started over. Now, we had a backed up oven, pizzas burning, rhythm disrupted. Hurry to box her pizza and cash her out, whirl back around and zip, zip, slice and box three more pizzas. I turned to cash those people out and noticed the crowd was watching the front door. When it shut on vegan lady’s exiting behind, the mob cheered, applauded, and thanked me and my crew for our patience!
We had a bunch of extra mistake pizzas and breadsticks. I had my waitresses pass out slices to everyone and comped all sodas as my thank you to the crowd. Ah, the Woodstock legacy of “Peace and Brotherly Love” blossomed again for the rest of the night!
Heh, see what I mean? I’m sure my brother’s story is longer than the tiny bit I recall, but it took a whole page for me to tell my Woodstock reunion story! 🙂
Some of the funniest, oddest, best stories I’ve heard from my menfolk aren’t stories at all. They are mere vignettes, a few sentences at most. I have to pull more details out like a cat giving birth to an elephant…yeah, improbable at best, impossible most of the time!
For example: Hubby’s ship went through a corner of the Bermuda Triangle. I was fascinated and wanted to hear if anything weird happened. His response? “Well, it got foggy and the radio wouldn’t work for a few minutes, but everything cleared up on the other side.”
That’s IT?! Really?! Can you elaborate at all? Nope, that really was it, delivered in a bored nothing-unusual-today tone of voice. GACKKK!!!
Or this one, from my oldest son: Walks in the house all sweaty, without his car (a 1967 Mustang, runs good, maybe, sorta, kinda…)… I asked, “Where’s your car?” Brian said, “Oh, the drive shaft for the tranny fell out. I had to push it over to Midas. I got a ride home with Matt.” And heads for the shower. “Wait! What?” I frantically call out, instantly on the alert, knowing that the Midas shop he uses is at one of the busiest intersections in our part of Tucson, AZ.
He paused, returned to the kitchen and got a soda. “I’m really hot, tired, and sweaty, Mom.”
So, here’s the REST of the story… He was at the intersection of Ina and Thornydale, in the far left lane, got to the light and started through. In the MIDDLE of the intersection, in the middle of his turn, in the middle of rush hour traffic, the Mustang drops her tranny (transmission), and comes to a dead stop. With cars whizzing by in all directions, my son got out and single-handedly pushed that ton or so of car across a gazillion lanes of traffic, up a slight hill and into the parking lot of Midas. He received assistance only at the end, when a mechanic saw him and came over.
Think on it: a 1967 Mustang, weighs a lot, probably almost a thousand pounds because it’s made of METAL not fiberglass, no power anything — brakes or STEERING. One guy pushing AND steering it…oh, good lord, my mind seized up. Eh, Brian assured me, once he got her moving, it wasn’t so hard…and off he goes to the shower. GACKK!!!
Then there’s the tale of the pallet of ammo that didn’t exist and the one bullet, “What bullet?”…but that’s a real tale to tell and not a vignette, so…
Later, my lovies! heh heh… 😀