Tappity Tappity Tappity...
Sister #1 calls this morning. My hunt for Mother-Of-the-Bridewear is going poorly and #1 has coupons because, as Audrey says, "Retail is for suckers." Sister #1 has a way with tone and inflection.
#1: ARE YOU AVOIDING ME?
It is 9:28 a.m. and I've been at work just under two hours. Half my co-workers are out sick with a sore throat, fever and cough; the other half mock me for rasping like Lauren Bacall. Yesterday, the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't fever fogged my brain so completely I couldn't figure out how to roll up my car's power window. That's okay, the day before I couldn't remember where in a one-bedroom apartment I'd left my hammer.
Have you ever lost your hammer? I ask you, is this a problem people have?
#1: 'CAUSE WHEN I CALL YOU YOU SHOULD CALL ME BACK!
Tata: I've been out sick and I'm finally returning messages.
#1: OH. (Pause) Sorry. The cleaning lady did the top half of my house yesterday. I'm writing some thank you letters. My husband has appointments at 5 and 6 tonight. I'm having contractions. What should I make for dinner?
Tata: Did you say...I thought I heard...I could swear you just said you were having contractions...
#1: Yeah. I've got a nail appointment for 11. Your nephews are with the sitter. Chicken or fish?
Tata: How about whatever they're serving at St. Peter's?
Sister #1, unlike Sisters 2,3 and myself, has only had induced-labor babies. She's calm about contractions because this is her third child and by her reckoning, there's no way a baby of hers is leaving a warm comfy spot of its own volition. Nope! Everything's under control. Far be it from me to contradict her. Five years ago, her doctor tried inducing labor the first time and it didn't take so well. Over 24 hours after she went into the hospital I was about half an hour into re-redding my bottle-red hair in My Little Tenement when I heard a voice in my head.
Voice in my head: Rinse out your hair and go to the hospital.
Tata: Now you're just being dramatic.
Voice in my head: The shower's that way. Scoot!
Well, I definitely heard the first part. Feeling a little silly, I rinsed out the dye and walked over to the hospital. Then I walked into through some doors and onto a secure ward. Nurses and other personnel greeted me as if I belonged there. I saw and heard them turn other people away. It was like a dream that smelled of bleach and made pinging noises. I pushed open a door and there was #1 hooked up to all kinds of devices and tubes and watching TV. Brother-In-Law #1 looked like death warmed over. He'd been up the whole time and needed some sleep and a stiff drink. As I later explained to our mother: I made unpopular statements for two hours. She pushed out that baby just to make me shut up.
Tata: Do you want me to meet you at the hospital?
#1: NO, THANKS! Uh, thank you, no, I'll be fine. Mom and I have errands. I'm in no hurry. I'll call you, okay?
Important note if you're planning on being cannonized someday: when you perform or participate in some sort of miraculous event like barging into a locked hospital ward make sure the crowd response is more stirring than, "What's with your hair?" And events will proceed more smoothly if you've organized a less schizophrenic answer than, "The voices in my head told me to go to the hospital." Trust me on this one.
So I've gone about my day and I'm waiting. The phone has not sat idle.
Mamie: So Trout got off her train this morning at Penn Station and at the top of the escalator there were six fat guys in white jumpsuits and when she left work, the Elvis impersonators were still there and they were advertising that CBS Elvis show thing! She had her picture taken with six false Elvises!
Tata: Are we out of Wayne Newtons?
Nothing to do but wait and tap my fingers.