I was sitting at my usual bar the other night when I became dimly aware of the two older women next to me. They were in their early 60s, I’d say, with some of the thickest northwoods Sconnie accents I’ve ever heard. Based on the empty plates and the array of glasses before them, they’d clearly been there for a while. One was excitedly waving her phone in the other’s face.
OLD LADY #1: Just look. That Hillary looks terrible.
OLD LADY #2: She does, she does. Didja know that she faked a seizure to get outta that Benghazi stuff?
OL #1: Oh I know. Just terrible. And lookit this. Can you believe that Obama had the nerve to tell Scott Walker about foreign policy?
OL #2: Isn’t that just ridiculous? Scott Walker knows more about foreign countries than Obama ever will.
OL #1: And ya know, even if he doesn’t right now, he will. Because he’s a nice man and a smart man. And he’ll listen to the generals, he will.
OL #2: That’s true. He will.
OL #1: I just can’t believe that he wouldn’t call those Islamic people terrorists.
OL #2 [lowers voice]: Well, that’s because he’s a Muslim too, ya know.
OL #1: Oh, I know! I know!
At this point the bartender, who had been checking in regularly, exchanged pleasantries and dropped off their check.
OL #2: Oh geez… thirty dollars? That seems kinda steep.
OL #1: It does… let me see that. So, $7 plus $4 plus another $4… hmm. No, wait. $7 plus $4 plus $4 plus… well, I guess.
OL #2: Yah, I suppose. Still seems a little steep. Well, I’ve got a $20 so I guess I can just put that in.
OL #1: I’ve got a buncha ones. [Dumps a pile of change on the bar and begins carefully counting through nickels and pennies.]
OL #2 [hesitantly]: I think it should be about $36.
OL #1: If I… if I put in these ones and 42 cents, that brings it to $34.
OL #2: But shouldn’t it be $36?
OL #1: Oh, it’s fine. He didn’t do that much anyway. Let’s go back to the hotel.
They lurched from their seats and began to make their way towards the door.
OL #1: I wonder what their lunch special will be tomorrow.
OL #2: Yah… but he said it could be around $15. That seems a little steep.
After they’d left, the bartender collected their bill and looked a little befuddled.
ME: How’s that four-dollar tip?
BARTENDER: It’s not even that. It’s, like, three dollars and forty-eight cents. They can’t count, can they?
ME: I don’t think they’re capable of much.