I needed help.
I went to Costco to find it.
In heels, and cut off shorts, I minced to the Photo Center desk.
A petite man, petiter than me, and my students frequently pick me up to play catch with my body, flitted behind the counter.
“Excuse me,” I interrupted the flitterer.
Putting on his “you again” face, he walked over.
My mouth innocently opened. It asked its question.
My potential helpmate’s mouth opened.
Outrageous laughter that sequestered his eyes proved my favorite theoretical physicist right.
“THE IMPORTANT THING IS NOT TO STOP QUESTIONING. CURIOSITY HAS ITS OWN REASON FOR EXISTING LIKE ALLOWING CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVES TO EXPERIENCE MOMENTARY SUPERIORITY. THAT’S REALLY ALL THEY HAVE.”
Over time, as the photo center man’s contempt for me overcame his amusement, his chuckles died. His laughter gave him back his eyes and split.
He snatched my camera off the counter without speaking to me or it.
He pushed its buttons. He shoved his fingers inside. He harvested things.
Done violating it, he handed it back to me with his tongue poking the inside of his cheek. This poke suggested “silly girl.”
Despite my humiliation, my curiosity persevered.
Why was this man named Froy?
That was the name his name tag announced.
As the mouth in my brain pronounced the singularly syllabic cause of my shame, my curiosity gained momentum.
Oh, the places, that we’ll go
Weren’t his parent afroyed to unleash that on a child?
Were they whimsical psychoanalysts?
Was he the living truce between parents warring over Fred v. Roy?
Were they speech impeded fans of J.R.R. Tolkien?
To the froynt of the loyn!
Does Froy frolf?
Does he think of himself when he eats froyed chicken?
Or maybe it’s pronounced F-roy, as in F-stop. He does work at a photo center.
Or maybe the f is an abbreviation for for, as in f’real f”roy.
Having to shoulder his name might be the reason Froy is so frazzled. Or maybe he’s annoyed that he earns minimum wage while a goon like me lumbers about with an expensive camera she doesn’t know how to use.
Don’t worry, Froy, I totally stole it.
With Froy froyllicking between my ears, TJ and I left the photo center less ignorant than we’d arrived and went to buy more ciabatta than 1.5 women (TJ is half a lady) could ever eat in a lifetime.