June 5, 2003

Repartee

Seldom is conversation in real life as witty as it is in art. Occasionally, however, exchanges do occur naturally that deserve to be savored. Here are two examples.


I was staying at a motel outside Columbus, Ohio, recently and had gone to a nearby McDonald’s to gather some breakfast. Returning to the motel, I parked near the door and got out of my car holding a drink carrier, drinks, a bag of food, napkins, and straws. Two maids were entering the building just ahead of me. One, helpfully, held open the door. Intent upon providing further assistance and apparently thinking that I was cleaning out the car, asked as I approached, “Is that trash?”

“Yes,” I replied, “but I’m going to eat it anyway.”

I was not the party of wit in a conversation a few days ago. My heating and air conditioning company called to schedule a pre-season air conditioning inspection. The phone rang just after I had stepped out of the shower. I ran into the bedroom and answered the telephone. After introducing himself, my caller explained, “We’d like to come over to inspect your air conditioning.”

“When?” I asked.

“This morning, sometime in the next hour and a half.”

I knew I would need to move some things away from the basement air handler, and I had other plans for the morning, so I wanted to delay a visit. “Well,” I said, “I just got out of the shower, and I’m sitting on the bed without any clothes on,” perhaps disclosing more than was absolutely necessary.

“Are you planning to do that all day?” was the immediate reply.

We quickly agreed to an afternoon appointment.

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