i'd save time by parking in the covered
lumber yard at Lowe's
and pre-pay for the stringers and lone
pressure treated 4x6x8 i needed.
either the barcode was smudgy or my
picture was blurry, so it took a long
time for the cashier to ring me up; i
apologized to the person behind me.
back in the yard, all i could find was
soggy, worm-eaten, shoddily milled;
i saw one snap under its own weight as a
guy loaded it over his tailgate.
when my turn came, i got so mad sorting
through the stack i started throwing
the rejects down, complaining loudly to
anyone who happened by. (even
after 20 years in seattle, i haven't yet
learned to internalize my grievance.)
a dude young enough to be my son (if ever
i had one) pointed out politely
how they were for landscaping, not
structural, and it suddenly made sense.
(i hadn't read the fine print on the
pricetag but i should have known better.)
they didn't have 4x6x8 structural so i
found a solid 4x6x10 and heaved it
onto my rack after going back in for quick
exchange dance--the first time
i bought something and returned it without
having taken possession.
on my way out i explained to the
sharp-eyed gate guard why i had three
replacement--and had to admit it was my
"you're never too old to make a rookie
mistake," i said. she smiled,
tender and elderly. dumb as it was, owning
my error made me feel better.