Dollar store shopping on a Sunday night.
Couple in front of me has 25 items. Girl-who-scans makes short work of the order, skillfully turning each barcode to the laser as though she had been born to the task. The last item is a little mechanical cardinal. The wife hesitates, holding it back.
Husband says, "She buys one every year, but they never work. Can you open it and show us how to turn it on?"
Girl-who-scans-so-well tries and fails to open the package.
"I'll do it with my teeth!" declares Husband. He applies his incisors and opens the package, then tips the bird into her hand.
Girl-who-scans-so-well-but-cannot-open-a-wrapper, who has never taken notice of the item (or any other item in fact) before, says, "You just pull this tab," as she pulls. The bird remains as still as it had been while lodged in suffocating cellophane.
"Go get another one," says Husband to the wife. She toddles off to the opposite end of the store, and returns shortly with another bird. Husband releases the new bird from its plastic prison.
Girl-who-scans-so-well-and-remains-undaunted-though-she-cannot-open-a-wrapper tries again. She breaks the bird, yet the bird ekes out a series of tortured tweets. The couple is delighted by the newly audible cardinal, but they want an intact one.
The folks in the growing line look on in awe as the wife toddles off to get yet another bird. This one is dropped unceremoniously into the shopping bag by the wife. They pay and leave. Girl-who-scans-so-well-but-who-cannot-open-wrappers-and-breaks-birds resumes scanning. So, well.
Reading The Emperor and the Nightingale this evening by the fire.