Saturday, April 15, 2006

Only Waiting For This Moment To Arise

Sharkey: Why didn't you tell me you wrote about going to the bar last weekend?
Tata: It wasn't my finest writing. Besides, if I called you every time I typed your name you'd get a restraining order.
Sharkey: Oh yeah? I'll Google.

For the next hour and a half at fifteen minute intervals, Sharkey emails back Poor Impulse Control paragraphs with the same question and answer.

Sharkey: Did I really say that? I'm frigging funny!

No doubt. He can't tell the difference between his own remarks and dialogue I wrote because Sharkey's memory is even worse than mine. Perhaps you've heard of the Algonquin Round Table, where a good handful of famous writers, actors and delicious characters had lunch every day for a few years in New York? The reason you've heard of it is that after lunch, the writers dashed back to their desks and rewrote everything they said and heard. That had pros and cons for everyone involved. So I'm not writing history. Sometimes he said it. Sometimes he didn't.

Daria, Anya and Corinne are back from Todd's place in Los Angeles. Todd turned 40 and three-fifths of his sisters showed up with two nursing babies, Mom and Tom in tow. When I think about what that full house must've been like, I'm grateful I live alone with an exceedingly cranky pussycat who requires constant assurance that I remember how to use the can opener - the electric can opener.

And my sisters with the small children are jet-lagging and confused. Daria's got bronchitis and plans to spend this afternoon dyeing Easter eggs with Tyler Two and Sandro. Anya's at home, doing what she does every day: trying to take over the world - one tasteful living room at a time. I called Corinne at the store and when I found she was composing sentences in a manner unfamiliar to English speakers I forgot why I called.

Corinne: Complaining! Holiday complaining!
Tata: Are you there alone?
Corinne: Ex-husband competitive, children eggs. Mad at mommy!
Tata: Listen, I'm going to Sears to buy an air conditioner or two. I'm going and you can't talk me out of it! at all. Do you have a fever or something?
Corinne: See you later. Unless I do!
Tata: What?

My sisters and I ask that question a lot, like earlier this morning when I told Daria she had much too much clothing and I was going shopping in her closet, for which she thanked me for thinking only of her welfare but it sounded a lot like, "What?"

Corinne: Sears! Go!

Ten minutes later I marched into the store with a bag of food for her. It was just after noon. She was on the phone with Anya, who'd paused her iron march to accessory domination long enough to agree to everything Corinne said.

Corinne: Domenica thinks our store is Sears.
Tata: I brought you lunch.
Corinne: Good! I didn't have any. Gotta go, Anya.
Anya: [Peas and carrots peas and carrots peas and carrots.]
Tata: Tell her your conversation is inconvenient for, you know, me.
Anya: [Peas and carrots peas and carrots peas and carrots.]
Corinne: She hopes your flan separates. 'Bye, Anya.
Tata: This morning, I went to make breakfast and next thing I knew I was spraying Mazola Pure on sheets of phyllo dough and making golden brown savory pastry like my clothing wasn't so tight my legs feel like they're in sausage casings. I mean, is this rational? How many people do you know have phyllo dough within convenient, terrifying reach, I ask you? You should take that out of the box and the foil before it becomes moist. Moisture is the enemy of flaky pastry!
Corinne: You baked for no reason? And you brought me lunch? We were just complaining about the holidays but I want to declare one.
Tata: About the holidays, sweetie - all you have to do is say no. Say you're not going, thank you.
Corinne: I can't!
Tata: You can. I've opted out. For the most part they just weren't working for, you know, me. And when I sit bolt upright in bed and shout, "OH MY GOD, NO!" I want it to be alcohol-related and not, say, blood-related.
Corinne: Well, thank you for lunch.
Tata: Now, I'm going to Sears. I'm really going this time!

At Sears, I stared at six air conditioner models on sale. I'd worked out the square footage of the apartment, the size of my windows, used an online BTU calculator and found an energy star-rated Kenmore model that would do in my bedroom window for $139. At that price, I could buy a second for the living room I might never use. I hate air conditioning! There are times when that's the only way to get any sleep though so I decided to solve this riddle before it became a problem. While I was staring, a salesman came around a corner and decided I needed a larger model. I turned on my heel and said, "I'll take two of the small ones, thank you." We'll see if I've made the right decision but it doesn't really matter because they're in my house.

On my voicemail, a message from Auntie InExcelsisDeo asking why she hasn't received my response to Monday's bridal shower invitation. I rang her up. She was glad to hear from me.

Auntie I.: We've changed it to a family picnic. The women will do Victorian women things. The men will hit golf balls, drink beer and punch each other.
Tata: Couldn't we drink beer and punch each other?
Auntie I.: No punching! We're Victorian ladies.
Tata: What part of the British Empire was Sicily?
Auntie I.: Now, now. I'm asking the ladies to bring only serving ware in white, pink, baby blue and lilac. I still have your bowls from Christmas.
Tata: You have my duck. He's white. We can put marinated mushrooms into him.
Auntie I.: I was wondering why I didn't hear from you about the invitation?
Tata: I thought when you told me I was going that kind of killed the suspense.
Auntie I.: I thought you might have forgotten.
Tata: Oh no. I try to remember death threats long enough to avoid them.
Auntie I.: Love you, sweetheart. See you soon!
Tata: Love you, too!

Yes, it all really happened. No, it's not history. Sure, I may soon sit bolt upright in bed and shout, "OH MY GOD, NO!" for alcohol- and blood-related reasons. And you are there.


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