Redeemed By A Salesman

One morning this week before work, I went in to a car dealership to drop off some extra bridal shower invitations with the mother of the bride, who works there.  As I walked in to the showroom, one of the salesmen offered his assistance.  I told him who I was there to see, and he responded, “And you’re with . . .?”

You’re with . . .?

Pause for a moment and realize that no one has ever said that sentence to me in my life.  I am a housewife with two part-time jobs. I am so far from a corporate persona that sashaying in in a pencil skirt at 8:00 am was like playing dress up.  But there I was, and he was either fooled or kind.

And his ellipsis was so polite.  It said, “I dare not finish my own sentence lest I insult you. Honda Tokyo? Rolls Royce West Sussex?  Fiat Turin?”

I couldn’t help but laugh (un-corporately) and confess that I’m with . . .me and Sieg Incorporated.  I am here to drop off bridal invitations.  Can we talk chicken salad recipes?  Andrew said I should have snapped, “Corporate in Detroit and I’m here to clean house!”  Anyway, it certainly gave a glow to my day that anyone would apply the beautiful preposition “with” to me, that anyone would think I could be “with” someone.  I gave passing thoughts to travelling salespersons and thought of the difference between one who is a settled part of one particular little pond, and one who travels around on a smile and a promise as Arthur Miller said about his famous salesman who died.

However, all good things end.  Today, Andrew chucked my mail to me and I knew before opening the envelope that wished me a happy birthday on the outside that AARP had messed up royally. While I am still firmly in my 40s – at least for 2 more days – they sent me an invite???  What are they thinking?  Mom, can you believe this?  The card is a garish red, as if I am already stone blind and can’t see it.

And explain to me the “R.”  I will not be R-ing in the foreseeable future.  One day 17 years ago, we thought it might be a good idea to have one more child to gain street cred in this town where everyone had four and we seemed like poseurs with only two.  No one sat us down and said, “You know, when you do this you will have many years of multiple kids in college?  I’m not saying don’t do it; I’m just saying, what’s it going to look like on paper?”  Of course, it is worth every wrinkle and limp, and each child is the irreplaceable joy of our lives.  But AARP is a misnomer.  There is no R.

So AARP got their dates wrong and didn’t do their homework.  I’ll comfort myself with that knowledge and with the fact that, doggone it,

The salesman thought I was “with” someone!


Stuck In A Restrictive Athletic Undergarment – or, Barbra Underestimates The Goodwife

In honor of a certain unnamed friend or maybe relative
 who was trapped
in her restrictive athletic undergarment.

This is a timeless tale of good versus evil.
Barbra is the villain, so be forewarned!
Barbra is not young; she has been around the block a time or two. Or two hundred.
Think Grizabella.
She is made of a ‘90s wonder-lycra or something that looks innocent,
But could lasso two locomotives going in opposite directions.
However, her task is impossible, so she lives jaundiced and spiteful.
Think Grendel’s dam.

Barbra rolled over in the lingerie drawer one morning
And found herself in her customary mood.
She hadn’t had a bath in a while and her hook-and-eyes were twisted and pokey.
She was far from a favorite,
Indeed she spends most of a calendar year muffled under stray socks
And shoulder pads.
So she can be forgiven her grumpiness.  But, that is all she can be forgiven.

This day, to her shock, she was called up!
The socks and shoulder pads mocked their aged drawer-companion
As she ascended into the realm of light and functionality.

Unsuspecting, our new-leaf exercising housewife attempted to don the bitter garment.
Barbra laid low and allowed herself to be loose enough to go over the head,
Only hitching up a little.  Just for fun.

Ever . . so . . slowly Barbra bowed up and coiled into a narrow band of steel.
Digging in her heels, with one end looped over the gentlewoman’s right shoulder,
And the other end under the left armpit,
Barbra constricted suddenly in a death-grip gigantic.

There was no contest.
She was perfectly positioned too low for an over-the-shoulder reach,
Too high for an up-from-the-small-of-the-back leverage.
She was in no-man’s zone.  Untouchable.  Victorious.

Now she sat back to enjoy the show.
The contortions!  The panic!
Finally, the cessation of engagement when
The goodwife sat panting on the tile bathroom step,
Envisioning the 911 paramedics kicking in the front door
To find her here, arms pinioned,
Sweat pouring and completing Barbra’s fun.

But malice always overshoots its mark.

Sitting trapped and palpitating on the cold tile, the belle dame found her footing,
And eyed Barbra.
And like Ceasar over the Rubicon,
She decided.

With purpose she freed her arms and opened her sewing box.
Selecting a pair of Gingher shears, tucking one blade tip under a screaming Barbra,
Our heroine . . .
(Delicacy requires us to turn our heads as the tide of battle turns!)


Emerging from the tile chamber, bathrobed and regal,
Leaving a carnaged field of battle in her wake,

She strode like Boadicea to the freezer,

For a Klondike Bar.