In our day to day life here at the store, I encounter a whole cornucopia of eccentricities. In fact, I could probably start a whole different blog just about my work experiences.
We have the customers who call to ask for a price, and then stay on the phone telling me the secrets to a long and happy life, ask about the weather forecast, tell us what's going to happen when the Chinese take over our country... ok, actually those were all the same person. We have customers who come in and just hang out, drinking coffee and passing the time. Some of these are enjoyable, others not so much...
I have a certain customer, let's call her Jane**. (**Names have been changed to protect the kooky) Jane comes in, and she always leaves quite an impression with her fashion choices, her aroma, her rather salty language, and her personal stories she likes to share.
When you have a preemie, you learn just how many other people have preemies too. You learn their stories, and share yours. A camaraderie forms between the members of this unfortunate club that you never wanted to join.
When Jane first saw Andrew, she was commenting on how small he was, and I told her that he was born early. She asked how early, and I went through my usual, "He was born 5 weeks early, but he had stopped growing 9 weeks early, so he was only a 31 week baby in size." She tells me, "My daughter was a preemie too. They took her away right after she was born and put her in the special nursery and didn't let me see her. I think that's why we still don't have as good of a relationship as my other kids."
Then a couple weeks later, Jane was in again. This time she commented on how small Andrew was. I told her he had been born early. She asked how early, I went through the usual routine. Then she told me how her daughter was born early. I started thinking, "I think we've been here before, I recognize that tree."
Then she starts telling me, once again, the story of her daughter being born early. She says, "She was two months early, and only weighed 5 pounds and was only 20" long. She was so small I had to find patterns for doll clothes to make for her. They didn't have preemie clothes back then." I was silently pondering this, thinking to myself, "Wow! I know that I, along with a lot of other parents of preemies, would have been thrilled if our child weighed that much!" Especially at 2 months early, which is what Andrew was size-wise.
She continued with her story, "Yeah, the doctors thought that she had SIDS so they took her away from me and put her in the special nursery." At this point, I'm afraid I lost track of anything else she might have said as I politely nodded and murmured the occasional "Oh wow!" and "Goodness!"
Now I don't want to be indelicate, but as far as I know, SIDS only has one real identifiable symptom. Usually the one factor that points to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is, well, death. Being as her daughter is in her 40's, I'm reasonably certain that she did not in fact have SIDS.
Then Jane went on to tell me that she was here to look for rat traps or poison because she never had rats before, but now she does. She never had them "before they put in that X-Ray station!" The x-ray station in question is less than half a mile from my store. It was installed several years ago now to monitor the southbound trains. Jane lives approximately 3-4 miles from the store, so 3.5 - 4.5 miles from the accursed X-Ray station. I was wondering (to myself of course, I didn't dare ask) did it take the rats all these years to migrate those 4 miles to her house? Or has she been dealing with them all this time, and was just now telling me about it? Did the radiation make them some sort of super rat that ran those 4 miles and have been plaguing her house? I was really quite curious, but I didn't dare ask.
Oh Jane... you are definitely part of the spice of life...
Maybe another day I will tell you all the story of Suzie** and the Cat Coffin...