Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Local Color

I have a pellet stove in my studio. For those of you who don’t know what a pellet stove is, think of a wood stove that is fed little pellets of compressed sawdust as fuel. The heat created is then pushed around the room by a fan. Anyway, part of the studio clean-up involved getting the stove serviced. I have been using a space heater this winter, which is a most inefficient way to keep warm, but had put off fixing the stove because of the potential cost. But after a while, typing with fingerless gloves gets a little old. As it turns out, the stove just needed a thorough cleaning and is now working quite well.

Having not used the stove in a while, I had not bought any fuel, so off to the hardware store I went to buy six 40-pound bags of Goldenfire wood pellets. The guy who took my order was someone I had not seen before, and unlike the other guys there, was not gruff. He was quite friendly, even talkative, and we chatted a while after loading my rig with the bags.

I remarked on his tattoos. He wore long sleeves but I could tell that the markings on his hands ran up his arms. I could also see more around his neck. All of the tattoos had some age on them, and this guy was pretty young.

“Yeah, I got them when I was working in a tattoo shop in Philly when I was a kid. They were free, so I said ‘What the hell.’ I’m thinking about getting them refreshed or changed for my fortieth birthday. I have a buddy in Washington who said he’d do it for me.”

We then had a rather lengthy discussion about the looks and remarks he receives from some of the locals, especially those who disapprove. Aside from the tattoos, this guy looked and sounded like a local himself: short hair, a camo ball cap, Carharrt from head to toe with camo suspenders, and spoke the dialect.

“I’m thinking that since I’m a hunter, I might get it all changed to camo. I could be the first camouflaged man!” We chuckled.

“And then you could hunt nekked.”

He paused a moment, and then with a cautious tone said, “That could be interesting.”

I’m not wholly certain, but I think I may have crossed the line with this remark. It may be that men should not speak of being naked when talking about each other. Hunting is a much safer topic. Or heating choices. I thanked him for his help and went on my way.


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