Thursday, January 26, 2012

Type. Window. Comprehend

When The Fate Scheduler died, he didn’t expect to find what he found. Of course, he didn’t expect to die in the first place, nor was he The Fate Scheduler at that time. He was merely a normal type of guy of an average age, living by himself after a difficult divorce and mostly bumping along the bottom trying to stay out of everyone’s way. He’d learned over the course of his life that he was happy and content to be by himself; not having to contend with the drama that comes from having people with their messy problems and issues complicating his neat and orderly existence. In fact, one of the primary reasons his ex wife cited for why she left him was that he reminded her too much of Felix Unger, the fastidious and somewhat prissy character from that old TV show “The Odd Couple”. He took somewhat offense at this as, although he was known to be a bit on the compulsive side when it came to cleanliness (whether it be his person or his surroundings), he did not view himself as prissy. Then again, she likely didn’t view herself as a bulldog, either; which is what he thought of whenever he saw her. This, and an overwhelming feeling of self-reproach. Not because their marriage had failed, but because he’d married her in the first place.

After he died, he was surprised to discover that he didn’t remember dying. He’d been standing in his small galley type kitchen in his compact one bedroom apartment looking through his collection of cookbooks, of which he had many. He’d been searching for one in particular, the one given to him by a co-worker last year at his company’s annual holiday party and gift exchange. Normally, he walked away from this exchange with something he considered to be pretty much useless; a huge bottle of some offense smelling aftershave, a quite horrid sweater (this turned out to be an unexpected bonus when he wore it to an Ugly Sweater Contest one of his few friends had, in July of all months, and won a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble), a box of stale Girl Scout Cookies and a collection of Christmas Tree ornaments which had the appearance of being made by either the giver’s three year old child or their dog, he couldn’t decide which. But, this particular time, he’d received the cookbook from her; one he could and would actually use as it replaced one he’d utilized so often that it had completely fallen apart.

It was interesting, he’d been musing right before he died, that someone he barely knew had somehow known what he’d most appreciate. Thankfully, thankfully; he’d not drawn her name in return as he would not have been as astute. Instead, he'd picked an office secretary who was kind enough to him and he’d spent sufficient time talking to in the break room to guess she’d appreciate a box of Godiva chocolates.

What did he know of her, this cookbook bestower? Only these few things: She sat in a cubicle next to a window several rows from his own. He found himself thinking of her at odd and random moments, despite the fact that he’d hardly spoken to her. Her ability to pick out the perfect gift was a wonderful thing about her that he did not fully comprehend. He didn’t think of her by her name but, rather, by her aroma; The Girl Who Smelled Of Pine.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Flutter. Mouth. Vinegar.

I wasn’t in the best of moods when the phone rang. I had just come into the house, stomping my feet free of the dead leaves that had attached to my shoes from the short walk from the backyard where the truck was parked to the mudroom.

I was mad at my cousin for ruining yet another opportunity to get out somewhere together and have a meaningful day. It had started out ok; I’d picked her up in town. At that time, the sun was out, and, although the late fall weather was brisk, the sky was clear with no sign of the clouds which may harbor either rain or snow this time of year.

For once, she’d been on time and was waiting for me at the curb in front of her apartment building. She climbed into the truck and gave me a brief air kiss before settling into the seat and latching her seat belt. We drove off in the direction of the interstate which would eventually lead us, approximately two hours later, to a somewhat run down amusement park. This wasn’t my idea of a fantastic time; driving several hours to some seedy place to ride a rickety old wooden roller coaster, but, hey, I was doing my best to get along with her, and hitting amusement parks was one of her favorite things to do.

When I’m in the car by myself, I almost always listen to a book on CD. It passes the time, plus, I’ve found I tend to read books in the car that I otherwise never would. Today, however, I’d decided that if my cousin chose to enter into a conversation with me, I’d forego the book and be happy with a chat. If not, I’d just pop the CD in.

After fifteen minutes or so of a somewhat stilted going nowhere conversation, I did just that. My cousin immediately turned to me and said, “You KNOW I can’t stand reading in the car, it makes me car sick!” I rolled my eyes at her. “Come on. You’re not actually reading, you’re listening. How can this be any different than tuning in to a radio station? Besides, this is a really good book. I’ll tell you what”, I added as I leaned over and switched off the CD. “I’m not that far into it. I’ll fill you in on what’s going on and we can take it from there. Ok?” I glanced over at her. Her face was set in an expression that I knew all too well. Crap.

“I really, really don’t want to listen to a book”, she huffed. “Fine”, I said. “But at least let’s talk or something, we still have almost two hours before we reach the park”.


I snapped. Without saying another word, I turned the car around and drove her ass back to her apartment building. She got out, flipped me the bird, and flounced up the stairs to the door.

I gave her a finger flutter of my own and thought, “Fine by me. Fine by me.”

So, walking into my door twenty or so minutes after that and hearing the annoying ringing of the phone just irritated the heck out of me. I threw my purse, gloves, coat, truck keys; the whole shebang, on the floor in a fit of pique and marched over to the phone. Snatching it up, I turned a quarter-circle and saw myself in the hallway mirror. My mouth was set in an ugly line which didn’t do much for my appearance. Softening my expression somewhat, I said briskly rather than brusquely, “Hello?”

There was quite a bit of static on the other end and I couldn’t tell if there was someone on the line or not. “Hello? Hello?” I repeated several times before I finally heard a voice, made scratchy from either the static or years of heavy smoking, reply “Mrs. Henderson?”

“No, no, there’s no Mrs. Henderson here, you’ve got the wrong number” I made to hang the phone up without waiting for a response when a loud burst of static, followed by a shout by the scratchy voice stilled my hand. “DON’T hang up!”, the voice warned. “Don’t!”

There was something odd about that voice. It wasn’t merely scratchy, I thought to myself, it was somewhat tinny sounding; like the person was talking from inside some tightly enclosed space or from very far away. For some reason, I thought of Cole Porter.

“What is it you want?” I said. “I already told you, you’ve got the wrong number”.

“Mrs. Henderson”, it replied. “We’re calling to let you know that there is an escaped inmate that’s been spotted near your house”.

“We’re?” I repeated. There was more noise from the other end of the phone. I wasn’t sure, but, I thought I heard laughter in the background.

“Ok, fine, I get it, this is some prank call. Well, ha-ha funny-funny, but let me tell you, I’m not in the best mood right now so---”

“No, let us tell you, Mrs. Henderson”, the voice interrupted. “You’re not in the best PLACE right now”.

I looked outside the front picture window and could see that it was now pitch dark outside. As I stood there holding the phone watching the night, I saw movement near the big oak tree. My stomach roiled and I tasted vinegar in my mouth. In a moment, irritation bled to fear and I decided it was time to hang up.

I crashed the receiver down into the cradle and headed back towards the mudroom , stopping to frantically kneel down and dig around in the pile stuff I’d thrown on the ground for the keys to the truck. Finding them, I raced on, passing through the kitchen and almost tripping on the cat.

It was the cat that stopped me as he was just lying there, as he always did this time of night, waiting for his supper. Aren’t animals supposed to pick up on danger? He certainly didn’t seem perturbed, and, he hated loud noises. Shouldn’t the phone ringing have sent him scurrying under the bed?

Phone. Phone. Phone.

I turned and looked back at the hallway table.

There was no phone. The only phone I had was a cell phone.

And it was in the truck.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When One Feels Like Crap...'s hard to give a darn.

Seriously, funny; not ha ha funny but conversationally funny, how it is that when you are not feeling well, nothing else matters.

Not the to do list.

Not the usual routine.

Not eating well, working out, etc.

Unfortunately, this cyst thingie I had several years ago reared its ugly head a few days ago. I was able to suck it up for a while but it became fairly painful yesterday afternoon.

I got smart and made an appointment to see a PA (dermo) tomorrow.

In the meantime, Vicodin and booze. I know. Probably not what I should do, but, cripe. It hurts like a MO FO. I am grouchy. All will be happier this way.

How in the heck did people manage with this stuff back in the oh, 1500s or so or even earlier? I think I would have thrown meself off the battlements!

Mrs. B

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tossing the Old Address Book

I recently bought a new one as the predecessor was getting quite ratty; pages torn, names written under the wrong letter category, names crossed out, etc.

I sat down the other day; New Year's Eve it was, to transcribe the addresses from the old to the new. I went letter by letter, and, as I was doing so, ran across many, many entries of folks that I simply haven't been in touch with for quite a while. Also, there were several people written in there that are no longer walking on this Earth.

I decided to NOT put those I haven't heard from (most of these are people I've attempted to stay in touch with but they have not reciprocated) into the new book. Life's too short to hold on to people who don't care about you. When the task was done, I threw the old book into the trash. Gone. So, if I ever do speak to any of them again, it will have to be on their initiative.

I'll admit, it was a difficult thing to do.

Mrs. B