B-Town Undercover:Kan I? Or, Kan I Not Rent A Video?

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B-Town Undercover[EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome our newest Columnist, local Burienite humorist Shawn Underwood! Twenty-five years of living in Burien gives Shawn much fodder for her writings. All of her stories are true, or at least have a grain of truth with no added embellishments.]

by Shawn Underwood

There is a neighborhood handy mart at the top of the hill, known to me as, “Fresh Ice”. When the new owners bought the store, they papered the windows with handmade signs, one of which read: “We have fresh ice”. What the heck! Fresh ice as opposed to stale ice? This was an ongoing argument between me and my husband. He said that of course ice can be old, I said, “Who cares? Ice is ice”.

My daughter, asked me to return a “broken” DVD. The children and their hordes of friends were all demanding dinner. Although the roads were treacherous and despite the ongoing snowstorm, I happily escaped the mad chaos at home and slipped and slid my way uphill to Fresh Ice. Let dinner burn…it usually did anyway, according to my spouse.

Han, the current owner of the store, manned the counter at “Fresh Ice”. Han and I “being old friends”, exchanged pleasantries. I said that his ice was always the freshest in town. He beamed and said something in response. I mentioned our problems with the DVD. Han did not reply as he was busy with other customers.  I noticed he was no longer in good spirits; maybe he had a cramp or something.  I found another movie and returned to the counter. Heavens, for the first time I could remember, Han was not smiling at me! I looked behind me; maybe someone else had committed an offense. Three people were behind me; no one looked happy as I was now holding up the line. Han said to me in a very crabby voice: “No movies for you”, or something to that effect. He also said that I needed to get a new DVD player before I could rent another DVD from him. This seemed rather extreme. I scrolled through my hazy memory banks; I tried to remember what possible previous offenses I could have committed. Perhaps one of my children stole some candy or was sassy to his wife. I was completely flummoxed. I sidled out of line and hoped he would forget about me.

As I left the line in shame, I warily moved back over to the DVD section and picked out a popular “used” as opposed to “new” DVD.  I caught Han’s steely eye again and asked if I could rent the long outdated DVD. The people in line looked at me with pity. Han grudgingly shouted at me that it was an old DVD and therefore suitable for me, the assumed wrecker of new movies. He added that the DVD was not really worth viewing. I hastily took my DVD to the counter where Han examined it, relented, and said that he would not charge me for the rental of this DVD.  Maybe he felt bad when he barked at me earlier. However, he requested that I not rent any further “new” DVD’s. I was a demolisher of DVD’s and did not value his property. The man behind me then attempted to tell Han that he had not examined the DVD properly for scratches. Apparently it was Han’s custom to examine all DVD’s before renting them in case he ran into people like me who made a habit of scratching things. The nice man showed Han how to look for scratches accurately. I felt relieved that the focus was off me and sprinted out the door.  I hastily shouted a farewell to my new friend, (nice man) and Han.

Back home, smoke was coming out of the oven. I recounted my misfortunes with formerly nice, “Fresh Ice” store proprietor, but my ungrateful family ignored me and asked why the dinner was taking so long to prepare. My wretched family felt that Han was justified in his curt dismissal of me, a loyal customer.  I called my friend Dorkus who listened patiently. She was not surprised that I received the boot from Han. She said she had been meaning to tell me that his actual name was KAN. Dorkus and I then argued about the store owner’s name for quite a while as the dinner continued to steam and smolder from the oven.  Good grief, my hearing seemed to be as bad as my husband’s!  I should shop elsewhere as I honestly don’t think I could face Kan after I called him Han for years. Why in world had he not told me his actual name?

One month later, we needed some milk for dinner. I told my son to run to “Fresh Ice” and pick up a gallon of milk. He smugly reminded me that he was “restricted”, and could not use the car. Darn! I had forgotten the punishment that I meted out when one of my offspring and his posse had a party at our house!  In a fit of fury, I drove up to “Fresh Ice” for the cursed milk. As I walked into the store, Kan happily greeted me; “Hello Dawn”. Apparently, we were friends again; I didn’t remind him that my name is; Shawn.

Shawn UnderwoodTwenty-five years of living in Burien gives Shawn Underwood much fodder for her writings.

All of her stories are true, or at least have a grain of truth with no added embellishments.

Read more of her humor at her website here.

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