Today is the birthday of the Fabulous Ex-Husband(tm). I leave voicemail at work.
Tata: This is your delightful ex-wife speaking. Happy Birthday, dearest! I hope you’re out doing something super-fab! Call me when you get a chance!
My co-workers have stopped shuffling papers – or for that matter, breathing. They’ve become accustomed to what happens when I leave messages.
Tata: This is Tina from Acme Organic Produce and Sex Shop. Your 12-volt seedless cuke’s in and it’s a whopper! Your balance is $57.99! Our awesome drive-thru’s open ’til 10!
Co-Worker: [muffled] What are you doing?
Tata: Oops! Don’t forget to ask for your Acme Organic Produce and Sex Shop Frequent Shopper bonus gift!
I sit in the middle of my office, where I can hear everyone and everyone hears me. The office is shaped like a lightning bolt so sometimes others play with their phones too, as when co-workers at opposite ends of the room intercom one another.
Man 1: Oh, Mr. X…?
Man 2: Yes, Mr. Y?
Student workers look around to see if they’re not supposed to laugh.
Man 1: Are you available for consultation?
I stop typing and hold my breath.
Man 2: Please leave a message after the…damn it…
You may have noticed – if I may be so bold – this week I’ve been rushed and written about as well as if I’d been dangling upside down behind my stove the whole time. I’m still living with piles of boxes, but my new life has begun. Hooray! Still, I feel as if I’ve become very rigid and yesterday couldn’t make myself attend a meeting at work. It was in Camden. I know! I forgave myself that one almost before I got steamed about it! Well, it’s time to try something I wouldn’t do, something I wouldn’t even consider. When Paulie Gonzalez called me up and invited me to act as a human shield at his sister’s wedding, I of course said yes.
As you know, I hate weddings, hate wedding halls, hate rented clothing, hate plastic shoes, hate bridesmaid dresses, hate brides, hate gift registries, hate mass-produced and flavorless cakes. I hate barked orders, hate Lee Press On Manicures, hate matchy-matchy monogrammed napkins and God help the feckless maitre d’ who offers me a Jordan almond! I hate weddings. I hate the Electric Slide. I hate all the waiting around. I hate slicing stations and rubbery mini-quiches. I can’t wait to stuff myself into the most uncomfortable semi-formal outfit I can find and suck down gallons of gin and tonic!