Sunday, November 27, 2011

Drop in Visitor From: Grumblings... By the Author of Paula Takes a Risk - Available March 2012

Drop in Visitor

During a casual-flirty conversation with Roger, a co-worker, I said in an “I’m-available-ask-me-out-on-a-date” kind of way,  “When you’re in the neighborhood sometime, you should drop by.”  What I really meant was, “If you’re going to be in the neighborhood, call me at least an hour before you plan on coming by.”  I thought it was implied.  Fire a warning shot.  Give me a chance to straighten up the house and hide those items that might cause me some embarrassment or require an explanation if seen. 

So, at ten o’clock on Saturday morning, while I was skulking around the house wearing paint-stained sweatpants, a pajama top, and a pair of brown knee-hi argyle socks, the doorbell rang.  I put on a baseball cap to hide my severe case of bedhead and opened the door just a crack, knowing that I would quickly turn away whoever was on the other side. I figured it was my annoying neighbor or someone selling magazine subscriptions.  No such luck.  It was Roger. 

“Oh, what a surprise …” I said, forcing a smile.

“You said to drop by anytime.  So, here I am.” He held out his arms as if to say “ta-da.”

“Yes, you are.”  I stared blankly at him.

“Can I come in?”

“Oh … sure.”  What could I do? I opened the door and ushered him into the living room. “Excuse the mess … it’s the weekend, you know.”

“Did I catch you in the middle of folding your laundry?” He motioned to the basket of laundry that had been sitting on the living room floor since I had brought it in from the laundry room five days earlier.

“Oh,”  Think fast, “ yes ... that’s okay.  I’ll finish it later.”  The truth was that I was going to have to put it in the dryer again to get rid of the now imbedded wrinkles.

I smiled.  Suddenly, I remembered that I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet.  I knew that I would have to practice the inhaling-speaking technique.  It always gives me the hiccups.

He settled onto the couch.  He smiled and took a sweeping look at me. 

Oh God!  My clothes!  I flashed back to Halloween in the early 1970s when I dressed like a hobo and I had worn something similar to what I had on.

“Why don’t you make yourself comfortable?  I have to check something in the other room.  I’ll be right back.”

I quickly escaped into my bedroom.  It was a mess.  The bed was unmade.  I threw the bedspread over the tangled sheets.  All the bureau drawers were open, and clothes that needed to be taken to the dry cleaner were piled on the floor.  A box of frosted shredded mini wheats was next to the bed.

I flung open the closet.  What should I wear?  What should I wear? Roger had only seen me wearing business clothes.  Perhaps, something casual. I’ll show him my sporty side.  Jeans. Oh no, my current-size-jeans were in the laundry basket in the living room.  I spotted another pair toward the back of the closet.  As I reached for them, I knew that it was going to be a struggle.  This pair of jeans was a size, or two, smaller than I was that day.

“So,” I yelled from my bedroom “What brings you to my neighborhood today?”

“I got an early start today and had to drop something off at a friends house.  He lives right around the corner from you.  So, here I am.”

“Um-hum …” I grunted, as I continued to yank at the zipper on my pants.  I laid down on the bed.  Concentrate!  “I’ll be there in a minute.”  Finally, After a few more seconds of testing my upper body strength and sustaining severe thumb and forefinger cramps, the zipper was up.  I threw on a baggy sweater to cover the tummy glob that was oozing over the waistband of my pants.

“I’ll be right there.”  I walked past the living room and held up one finger through the doorway. 

I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth.  I hope he doesn’t ask to use the bathroom.  There were towels on the floor, toothpaste in the sink, various sleep aid and laxative boxes on the sink.  I picked up a towel and wiped out the sink and opened a drawer and swept everything else in.

I took off the baseball cap and looked in the mirror.  I no longer had bedhead, my hair was now plastered against my skull.  Oh great.  Isn’t this pretty?  I was horrified to see the under-eye make-up remnants, along with the multiple encrusted dollops of zit cream that had been strategically placed on my chin and forehead. Really pretty.  I washed my face, brushed my teeth, rearranged my hair and quickly applied some natural-look make-up.

As I walked into the living room, I picked up the newspapers and magazines and three pairs of shoes that had been kicked-off after I had come home from work on Monday, Thursday and Friday.  Wednesday I worked from home. Friday I wore the same pair of shoes that I had worn on Tuesday.

            “So, what do you have planned for the day?” I sat down on the couch.

He started, “Well, I thought that I’d come by and …” I didn’t hear another word.  While he was speaking, I looked across the room and noticed one of my bras hanging on the doorknob. I had put it there to air dry after I had washed it.

Roger noticed that he no longer had my attention.  “Are you alright?”

I was focused on the bra.  “What? … Uh, yes. What were you saying?”  Think fast! I stood up, crossed the room and sat down in a chair next to the bra.  I casually reached back, grabbed the bra and tucked it under my sweater.

Roger continued, “I thought that I’d just stop by and say hello.”

Is that it?  Stop by to say hello? Aren’t you going to ask me out for breakfast? “What about a cup of coffee?” Did I say that out loud?

“I’d love some.” He smiled.


I stood up and started walking toward the kitchen.  Roger stood up to follow me. Uh-oh!  My mind flashed on the mess in and around the kitchen sink.  What now?

As Roger started to follow me, I stopped in my tracks. “You know what?” I blurted.  “I’m out of coffee.”

Roger looked puzzled, “Oh … well, I suppose we could go out to get-”

“Great!” I turned around and walked him toward the door.  Then I suggested that he step outside while I set the burglar alarm.  I needed a diversion.  “I’ll be there in a minute.”  When Roger was out of sight, I fished around under my sweater, pulled the bra out and hung it on the doorknob on my way out of the house.


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