The Harpies, in Greek mythology, were not the most pleasant beings. They were the ones who harassed you after you had died. Three old women, sometimes seen with the bodies of vultures, were the beings you’d meet as you went to the dreaded place of oblivion. Their point is torment.
Today I met two of them.
I was at the CVS in the mall because I wanted to get a drink. My time was limited and I was already running late for class if I still wanted to get one or to more things done by the time I got to Myerstown. So, there I stood in line behind a woman who had obviously done her week’s grocery shopping and was being rung up by the checker lady. And they talked, and talked and talked. To be more specific they complained about a number of topics with the speed and dexterity of two finches. If I zoned out, I didn’t hear words or topics, instead just the chirping, cawing, and clicking of beaks.
Nothing they said was encouraging to themselves or anyone else. And this woman was the only one tending the counter, I had to get to her to leave legally (the only other option was shoplifting, which is frowned against). And they talked… about the Supreme Court Case involving the Phelp’s, about supporting our military, about death to the jihadists, about how everything had gone up in price, how the gov’t was ruining everything… they went on and on. Not only was their talk more than a little grating, but they were saying it very loudly. Which lead to one fo the highlights of their conversation when the customer said very loudly, “I just think everyone should mind their own business”, and then she turned and looked at me.
I wanted to say, “Lady, I have no desire to hear your conversation. And I’ve got things I’ve got to do today, so please, yes, everything in the world is terrible because you and your cronie aren’t in charge of it. I’ll agree gratefully if you two will just bag up your groceries so I can get out of here!”
Instead, I waited patiently. Or inwardly impatiently.
I don’t thik this is the first time these two women had met. I’m sure the customer (Harpy #1) had done her shopping here before and they had complained to each other on other occassions. There was a familiarity between them as they rattled on. They felt ok with each other to say the things they said. They had agreed previously and had found each other, someone else who understood them and their view of the world.
Do I have a relationship with anyone else like this? Someone that I can complain to? I would hope not, because the thing about harpies is that they have never anything else to say to each other than complaints. No encouragement can be found in the land of the harpies. Nothing good or green grows there that isn’t destroyed by talons and gnashing teeth.
Like Dante, I just wanted to get out of there.