Thursday, October 11, 2007

‘The little Engine that could’ needs social skills

“Geez Madz, what are you wearing?” she hisses. We hug in the crowd and queue for our coffee.
“Emergency trousers.”
“Ooo you know me so well.” The coffee shop is very busy, there are lots of people and lots of noise.
“There had to be some reason why you’ve dressed your legs in brown balloons AND are out in public.” I am an intuitive person and so I pick up on her tone of derision. The hands on hips, knee forward body language helps too. We step towards a minute table. She takes the bench on the wall as she needs to people watch. I take the bent wood chair so that I can face her down.

“You need a dresser I swear!”
“No I don’t, I need a laundry maid.”
“O.k. I’ll give you that one.” She picks at her pastry.
“It’s true though. If my closet contained all of my clothes and all of my clothes were clean, I would always dress appropriately.”
“I sometimes wonder if you know what ‘appropriate’ means?” she adds distractedly as a man snaps his newspaper. “You’re not gonna eat?”
“Can’t be bothered to fight with the retainer.”
“You should take it out. The coffee will stain it,” she nods.
“I forgot to bring the little case thing, the retainer case. Anyway, I don’t want to waste valuable time negotiating for the key to the restroom.”
“You don’t need to go to the rest room. Just pull it out and drop it in your purse.”
“It’s not that easy. I need a crow bar to detatch it most days. It’s not something I can do discretely. I need privacy so that I brace myself against the sink.” Her eyes do that American whizzy thing, which means that we do not understand one another. It would not be helpful for me to explain further. If I explain that removing something from my mouth in public, is about 50 times worse than brushing my hair in public, then my foreigness will be exposed, as well as my age. I skip back on topic.
“Hmm. I’ll have you know that for this particular occasion, I am completely appropriate.”
“Really! Explain yourself!” She leaves off ‘missy’ for which I am eternally grateful.
“Well, we’re here, at the coffee shop, where they serve predominantly….coffee, which is brown and stains things.”
“I thought you said that tea stains worse?”
“I did. Don’t distract me.”
“Would you like to stroke my leg?”
“Excuse me?” she bleats.
“No! They’re really, really, really soft.” She places a couple of finger tips on my leg just above the knee. She grabs a handful and scrunches it, “Geez what are these made of anyways?”
“I have no idea.”
“What does the label say?”
“I have no idea.”
“Scootch round, let me see,” she commands. I swivel and bend so that she can attack the back of my waist band. “Where’s the label gone?”
“I cut it off.”
“What!” I can tell that she’s annoyed with me, that we have performed this little scenario unnecessarily, but it’s her fault for barking orders at me. Woof.
“You didn’t try them on before you bought them did you!” she accuses.
“I didn’t need to. I felt them, I checked the size and I bought them.”
“They are never the right size for you. Look at them. They’re huge.”
“They fit perfectly around the waist.” I pre-empt. I pull up my t-shirt an inch so she can check because I suspect she might be a visual learner and I already know that she is the doubting Thomas pokey type of person. Despite the goosepimpled floppy flesh, the evidence is there.
“I don’t understand? What size are they? Or what size were they before you cut the label off?”
“14! You’re nuts. You’re never a 14.”
“I am so.”
“American or UK?”
“American.” Her face scrumples from grape to raisin, “honest! My waist is 32.”
“Not inches? Are you pulling the European centimeter crap on me?”
“I don’t get it. Why have you tucked the hems into your socks?”
“Ah! That’s because they’re several yards too long and they make this really irritating clickety clackety noise.” I see her mouth open with the next question, so I whip out the hems and jump to my feet. I trot up and down, back and forth in front of her, on a little clickety clackety circuit on the quarry tiles, because I don’t know if she is an auditory learner?
I sit back down and park my feet up the bench next to her so that she can examine the snap fasteners on the hems.
“No,” she says demurely as she folds her arms neatly under her chests. I wiggle my toes in a tempting manner and grin because she is so easy to tease.
She pouts with exasperation, “you are so……?” She hunts for the right word because I have effectively scrambled her word retrieval system. I hope she’s going to say ‘annoying.’
“Did they beat you up a lot at that Boarding School of yours?”


flutter said...

I love emergency trousers...

buffalodickdy said...

Wait until you turn 50! It's great because to the rest of the world you've become invisible! Nobody cares if your pants fit- they have ceased to see or listen to you....

Hammer said...

That's really funny. I don't let my wife go out in emergency clothes. However I am very diplomatic about it ;)

Sounds like your friend is a little high strung ;)

I would never pull out dental devices in public either. I wouldn't imagine others would care to see it.

mumkeepingsane said...

I wish I could remember conversations like you do. I have emergency trousers. I've never had anybody care much about what I'm wearing though.

I have never removed a retainer in public and, while I hope to never have one again, I never will.

dgibbs said...

Because I was running late this morning getting the girls to school, I wore a navy blue pair of sweats, a bright orange golf shirt and topped it off with a gray sweat jacket. I adopted an emergency attitude that no one will see me sitting in the car anyways. I'm sure your friend would have LOVED that! :D

sweetpeas said...

Do all mothers have laundry crisis?!?!?

I live in laundry - what I mean to say is laundry makes a great rug in my bedroom!!! My kids like to play king of the laundry mountain!!

The Anti-Wife said...

I dress up all week for work, so I love to wear my oversized clothes and go out in public with no make-up on the weekends. One thing good about it - all the sales people ignore you!