Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ruminations in a bead store

Weekends with AGF (awesome girl friend) are often gloriously spent hanging out on the sofa, watching movies, reading books or playing The Sims. As a treat, we occasionally leave the house and make an expedition to either an uber-cool second hand store at the top of my street (the "Helping Hand", where I recently purchased an awesome crock pot for $8.00!!) or to a craft store so AGF can resupply her hobby/obsession....beading.

I never knew much about the beading universe before AGF started her hobby, but now I think I am at least passingly conversant. Mention "swarofski" or "jump rings", and I no longer have an expression like a confused dachshund pondering a rubber pork chop. I have to admit, while I am impressed by the variety of shapes, colours and sizes of beads available in these stores, watching AGF coo over the latest bead discovery has become one of the greatest joys in my life, and is a major motivator to join her on these expeditions.

One store we frequent here in town is an out-of-the-way store located in a somewhat industrial area on the edge of downtown. The store is a one-storey brick affair, with no discernable windows and just a small square sign indicating it's actually a business. Now while many stores try to be either "craft" or "hobby" stores, this place is seriously about beads, and all things beading. It seems to service the traditional aboriginal market, as they sell items like tinkling cones, feathers, leather, etc. common to native ceremonial costumes. Needless to say, their bead selection is dizzying, and it's proprietors are frighteningly knowledgable about beading.

To add to the fun, each trip ends up becoming a mind-warping experience, thanks to the fanciful ruminations of one of it's owners. There's a man and a woman who work at and seem to own the store. Inevitabley, while the woman serves AGF in her shopping, the man seems to have decided I am some sort of kindred spirit, and starts talking at me about the strangest things. Topics he has soliliquized on include: coal mining in Manitoba; toxic spills in a river near Detroit (it melted a bridge!!), mysterious buried railroad tracks in Saskatchewan (up to 15 feet deep!), windshield washer fluid that melts windshields, the appalling lack of Chili in Regina after 6pm, and the challenges of driving trucks across rock and muskeg north of the tree line.

Bead guy also seems to take some perverse pleasure in trapping us in the snare of his conversation just as we're leaving the store. The last three times we were there, AGF and I would be literally 1 foot away from the door, when he would start another obtuse ramble about mysterious goings-on in the past, present or possibly the future. Often he wouldn't even be looking at us as he waxed poetic about the cost of heating his building or the odd disappearance of wealthy families from the city, he'd just gaze off into the distance.

Of course, while all this is going on, the woman (his spouse? partner? sister? doctor? we have no idea) take the opportunity to earn what is probably a well-deserved breather, and surf the net for more vital bead updates.

Actually, we're starting to look forward to these trips. it seems bead guy never runs out of mysteries to ponder, and so far we never run out of energy trying to understand what he is talking about.

I just noticed. The word "beading" becomes "beheading" when you add "He". Maybe I'll ask bead guy about this the next time we're in the store.

1 comment:

Nat said...

Every time I wear the beaded necklace that AGF gave me, I get compliments galore. Sadly, though, never any conversations about the mysteries of life.