But first a little background information: I shop at the same supermarket as do many on duty members of the Glendale Fire Department. Often I park my red Jeep near their red trucks. That's the first bit of background information. Here's the second. An East Coast Family Human adores fire fighters.
I'm often tempted, while doing my shopping, to ask the Glendale fire fighters to pose for a photograph so I can send it to that East Coast Family Human. Always, though, I rationalize away the temptation.
Today was no exception.
There they were discussing whether to buy whole milk, 2% milk or 1% and there I was considering the many ways I might approach them for a quick cell phone camera picture. But they seemed so involved in their shopping came today's rationalization for my lack of chutzpah.
They continued their shopping. I finished mine.
While I pushed my cart to my car, all of the fire fighters ran by me in heads down, full stride, this is urgent form. I opened the tail gate of my Jeep not even bothering to pretend I was loading groceries. I just sat down and stared as the fire fighters heaved duffel bags out of their rig. They pulled on their heavy doubtless fire proofed or fire retarded pants and coats. Standing on one foot at a time, they traded their grocery shopping shoes for heavy boots. All of this took seconds. Duffel bags now full of street clothes were tossed back into the rig. Finally, the men pulled fire proof hoods over their heads and faces. Back in front of the milk cabinet they wore baseball caps. Now they wore their distinctive hard hats.
The rig driver already had the engine going, the lights flashing, and the siren blaring by the time the last fire fighter jumped aboard.
As they pulled away I shouted, "Be careful!"
The truck slowed just a second as --to the man -- each fire fighter, able to touch not lips but the fireproof fabric of his hood, blew me a kiss.
Even before I could wonder about their almost full cart of groceries abandoned in some supermarket aisle, I quickly touched my lips and blew the kisses 3,000 miles east of where I stood. You see, I knew who they really had in mind when they blew those kisses.