Good Morning Baleful Hipsters,
Sometimes during the course of a rotation we’re called upon to do things we otherwise wouldn’t. Typically these requests for such tasks come from loved ones, co-workers, or the ever-lurking friend in need of heavy lifting. While I believe in a certain quid pro quo when it comes to doing favors, there are lines “you do not cross” in terms of what one person asks another to do. House sitting, dog sitting, baby sitting, moving, packing, shuttling, lending, guidance, counseling, pick up, drop off, and providing the ham dishing up the occasional meal are generally the types of duties one is asked to perform. This genre of favors while not always well timed or welcomed, yet they’re delivered daily, usually without complaint.
One of our own crossed the line into odious!
First off I must clearly state our good friend has done big favors for me and others dwelling in the shadows of ‘curmudgeon corner,’ and would gladly do a favor for this man or woman! Our fellow committee member is well liked by almost everyone, except perhaps the Bagwan who doesn’t like anybody. Again abiding by a court order not to reveal the person(s) subject to lampooning I can’t say who this is. So suffice it to say he/she is the biggest namedropper I know, and claims to have had Ruth Gordon!
He/she was sitting quietly (highly unusual) at the bar looking at the bar mats so I proceeded to my usual seat and said, “Hey you goofy dick-head how you doin?” This in most cases would have elicited a snotty retort and launch us into a game of verbal Ping-Pong. This is of course how we (curmudgeons) communicate. Instead I got stone cold silence.
“What’s wrong with you?” I continued thinking perhaps I wasn’t heard. At last our beloved associate turned toward me but was visibly upset. Our good friend had been crying which given the pointy birthday hat affixed to his/her head amplified the pathetic scene, so again I asked what was the matter. Slowly, as if anesthetically impaired, our associate turned to look at me and in a trembling voice asked if I would do a favor. “Of course I will!” I replied without hesitation and further asked, “What can I do for you?”
Our fellow curmudgeon’s mother had been visiting for the month and evidently needs to be watched given advanced Alzheimer’s. Our good friend needed to attend to pressing matters at his/her place of business and couldn’t find anyone willing to take this responsibility on. I was only needed for three hours and was assured they’d be back before then.
Surprisingly the first hour was spent in lucid conversation and a decent Pinot Noir! It had me thinking it might not be too bad. However, the second hour was largely spent corralling the old gal and keep her from heading to the street. Each time I redirected or completely blocked her attempts to leave, she’d become increasingly more agitated even attempting to bite my arm! This was no longer fun.
Hour three I convinced ‘Granny’ she’d feel better after a nap and much to my relief she agreed and slipped into her room and shut the door. My associate had long since secured the bedroom windows so I perused his/her modest library and found an old book titled “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” I read Pirsig’s highly acclaimed book, but found it confusing and uninteresting. In the early 70’s, after being released from the military and in my first year of college, the entire ‘Art Department’ was reading the damn thing. They all told me what a great gift it was to mankind so I felt pressure to read it. It was filled with cryptic metaphors entertaining four or five sublevels that perhaps only the Bagwan could manage or even care about. So I got comfortable and began paging through it to see if 40 years later I could find new perspective.
I lost track of time and found myself on the chapter regarding the use of ‘shims’ in our lives when I noticed it had been going on five hours since I was left in charge of ‘Mom.’ This was obviously well beyond the three hours I committed to. It was still quiet though and didn’t hear anything from the bedroom, but thought I should peek in just to be sure.
I was not prepared for what my eyes gazed upon let alone the putrefied stench that hit me square between the eyes!
There was a naked old woman who managed to get herself to the toilet in time and emptied her bowels like most civilized people. Evidently she was interested in art as she used the contents to create “PooP Paintings” on most of the north wall. Like a kindergartner she finger painted with the foul medium and seemed delighted with her work. I hadn’t signed on for this—and closed the door hoping my associate would be back soon.
Granny was laughing and otherwise happily occupied so I finally called my fellow curmudgeon to inquire as to his/her return. The door opened just as the phone rang. I had gathered up a bucket and bottle of Pinesol with sponges and without hearing his apology handed him the bucket and said, “You’re going to need this” and limped out the door.
Any debt or favor real or imagined has been paid in full! Jeez.
A Delightful Gal