I bought a few handled baskets at Marshall's (my very favorite store) this summer, and they had pretty cotton liners in them. It reminded me that I'd been wanting to line this big basket shoulder bag that I got from Land's End last summer. So I made this calico liner a few weeks ago. The dog's leash is hanging up there for a sort of scale, but still, the basket is about eighteen inches tall and however many inches wide, and I now take it with me everywhere, for groceries, or any kind of shopping where I can use it instead of taking a plastic bag. The liner splits into these separate little flaps to go around the handles, but otherwise it's just a solid liner inside. Good. Cool. Keep reading, this gets better.
So. Though I usually use a big plastic box, I stuffed all my orders into the bag the other day and took it to the post office for the first time. The post office was, for only the second time (and the first time at this particular location), empty. Empty. EMPTY.
You know how my head starts spinning around on my neck when that happens. And no, I have no idea why this phenomenon sends me into such a state. I cannot explain it.
I raced to the front of the non-existent line, looking around wildly, and exclaimed to the three post office clerks, "Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!!! There is no one here! I am the only one here! Wow wow wow!" I hefted my bag, bulging with dozens of Precious-Bundle padded envelopes, onto the counter and managed to say, between exclaimations, that everything was already labeled and ready to go, as usual (I do this almost every week, so they are used to me). The post office clerk, my favorite guy — early 60s, loves jazz, very nice hair — took the bag and promptly and dramatically turned it upside down and dumped the contents into one of those big, wheeled, canvas P.O. bins. Out flew all of my packages — as well as the fabric liner, several pens and pencils, my Taco del Mar punch card, the mail I'd just picked up from my P.O. box, a dog bone, my sunglasses, and three Super Plus tampons. I apologized. Other customers had since arrived. My clerk was diving repeatedly into the big canvas bin to fetch my tampons and punch card out of it. It should have been embarrassing, but I was still jabbering away excitedly about being first in line. Suddenly I heard a familiar voice say to another P.O. clerk:
"Thank ya very kindly, ma'am."
And out of the corner of my eye I saw a tall, thin guy in jeans and a jean jacket walking away.
Then my P.O. clerk said, "That was Sam Elliott!!!"
"Yeah, he comes in here all the time! His mom lives in Parkrose!"
"Oh man, I love Sam Elliott! He's in one of my favorite movies!"
" . . . "
"Wow, Sam Elliott. . . . Cool."
Okay, it didn't get that much better. But you have to admit, Sam Elliott is pretty cool. It was almost awesome.