She pedals the bicycle slowly down the middle of the street weaving between imaginary dotted lines. Sharp eyes peer vigilantly from under a faded green visor searching yards, porches and open doorways for anyone to whom she can call "You. Who". The sound of her voice causes me to hunch my shoulders and wince. She can be heard a block away, two blocks if the wind is right.
I can never remember her name though she's undoubtedly told me a hundred times. My brain goes into panic mode whenever I hear her distinctive "You. Who." Given enough warning I immediately grab the dog and run for cover. Sometimes, thankfully not often, there will be no neighbors outside in the block preceding mine allowing her to make it to my house in stealth. One minute I'm enjoying a perfect evening and the next I getting blasted with "You. Who."
Not Hello, hi or hey; she's never says good evening or calls anyone by name. It is always "You. Who." Just like that. You. Who. And delivered in a yodel-like trill. Perhaps the yodel is why it carries so well.
"You. Who." and the bicycle is guided into a figure-8 for she never actually stops to talk. Remarks are flung my direction. If I'm lucky I get to respond. See, that's what drives me nuts. I do not like being talked at. She may prove to be an interesting person if she'd just stop for a minute. But it's "You. Who" a few comments and then she's gone.
I want to know how she got into the "You. Who" habit. Who told her this is a cool way to greet your neighbors? The last person I heard repeated use "you who", I was 16 and working in a nursing home. If you're counting that was 1976 and the patient was 70-80 years old. This gal isn't much older than me. Maybe it's typical to wherever she grew up in the South. I'd ask but I can barely understand her for her thick accent.
So what we have here is a 50-60 year old Southern woman who yodels "You. Who." Maybe if I laid out spiked strips, poured up a glass of sweet tea and had a Southern-to-West Coast interpreter on hand, I could learn her story.