I’m very close to my upstairs neighbor, and by close I mean near. He seems like a nice man. Almost every time I’ve seen him he was wearing pants. Each morning, he flushes the toilet twice before 6:30 and twice more while I shower. I’d tell him to lay off the bran muffins but leaping away from boiling water is good for the girlish figure.
Last night, Daria called while I was washing dishes, and yes, I wash dishes with my hands at great risk to my personal manicure several times a day.
Daria: Hear this?
I hear FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT! I’d know that sound anywhere. Daria’s husband went to Orlando on a business trip, leaving her with three children under seven and a can of ReddiWhip for company. My sister’s hitting the ice cream hard.
Tata: Yup. What’s doing? You never call me at night.
Daria: I got a story for you and no, I didn’t run myself over again.
Tata: I love a story with a happy ending!
Daria: So I was talking to Angela and I said, “Did I tell you I almost ran myself over?” She said, “No, but I got a story for you.”
Tata: I can’t wait!
Angela is Daria’s best friend. Angela is level-headed and detached; as things spiral around her while she smiles and cracks wise. Angela almost never breaks a sweat. I love Angela stories with my whole black heart.
Daria: Angela was out running errands with the kids and she stopped home just to pee. So she left the kids in the car and ran inside. She said she’d just unzipped her pants and started peeing when she heard screaming. She said, “You know that kind of screaming that makes you stop mid-pee and run outside?”
Tata: No, she didn’t!
Daria: Right, so she runs outside and her car is rolling down the driveway toward the street and Tina jumped out of the car and stopped it!
Angela is married to a giant man whose family is still in Holland. He is simply not drawn on the same scale as other humans of my acquaintance. Their children are also growing at an exciting pace.
Tata: GET OUT! The seven-year-old was big enough to stop a rolling SUV? Thank God for the giant Dutch children!
Daria: Angela said, “Needless to say, I have since shown her the location of the brake.”
Tata: I can’t breathe!
Daria: Hear this?
Tata: This is like that time you called to tell me what a delicious sandwich I wasn’t having, am I right?
Daria: Ben & Jerry’s has a new flavor. I’m celebrating.
Tata: Good thing your husband comes home tomorrow or we’d have to engineer an intervention.
Daria: Can I just tell you my tiny, delicate little daughter trashes my kitchen every single day? Every day, she pulls all the pots and pans out of three of my cabinets. Every day, I put them all back. She only looks delicate. You know that big wooden island in my kitchen? Her new trick is to pull herself up to standing so she can gnaw on the wooden drawer pulls.
Tata: Fifi’s teething on the furniture? That is awesome!
Daria: Stop calling her that!
Tata: What, Fifi?
Tata: Okay, so I went to the orthodontist today and because of the Route 18 construction I have to be a genius to get there now. I picked Route 27, sailed across the Albany Street Bridge and up Raritan Avenue with straight green lights. I couldn’t believe it! There wasn’t even anyone else around me until Third Avenue. I got the orthodontist to put purple rubber bands on my teeth this month. They look great!
Tata: Very exciting for me! While I was in that shopping center, I went over to the Pathmark but by that time, the only thing I’d eaten since breakfast at 7 was 6 ounces of yogurt and I was getting progressively more stupid with every passing moment.
Daria: Half an hour before, you were a genius!
Tata: Yes, but then I spent ten minutes in front of the Cool Whip case, staring at the many magical forms of frozen topping.
Daria: They don’t jump into your cart all on their own, I find.
Tata: Finally, I looked at the ceiling, and said to the security cameras, “I can’t justify this even by my own tortured logic.” Because I was sure they were placing bets in the store security Death Star.
Daria: Yeah, that’s when I leave the store with $150 worth of red Jell-O.
Tata: So I knew if I didn’t leave soon and eat something I might wander the aisles aimlessly. And this is dangerous. That’s a 24-hour Pathmark.
Daria: If you turn up missing, that’s the first place we’ll put posters.
Tata: After fifteen minutes in the baking aisle, I picked out mixes to bake for the bridal shower Saturday and I was so dumb by then I didn’t even read the recipes on the back. Good thing I have eggs.
Daria: My husband is so the designated driver on Saturday. After a week in Orlando? If he comes back tan, I’m switching from wine to margaritas. Ooh! Make Mom be your designated driver.
Tata: You know what? There it is: the very last thing I need. That’s outstanding. The last thing I need is to get tanked in front of Mom and make her drive me home. No words express the embarrassment of that “you’re my besssshhhhht friend” episode.
Daria: If you say so.