This morning Jack was inspired to seek revenge on the people who gave Jackson a toy firetruck with real working 100-decibel siren by calling them on the phone at 7:30 a.m. while the aforementioned siren was blaring in the background. “Hear that?” Jack hollered, as though they wouldn’t be able to hear him over the rush of emergency vehicles circling our living room. “Morning!” yelled Jack most cheerfully to these formerly sleeping people. It was especially satisfying because the one person who actually answered the phone had been stressed and rude to Jack the day after we had had a very pleasant Christmas morning at their house, and then the day after that this person sincerely apologized for his rudeness. So calling first thing in the morning and filling his ear with a blaring siren was, I think, Jack’s interesting mutual-torture male way of injecting glue into the friendship breach. And they both had a good stress-relieving laugh. I hope.
Other man-related observations. I know I said before that I don’t have any friends in this town, but what I do have are some really great acquaintances. I ran into one of these acquaintances at the grocery store last week. (Names have been changed.)
Bill: Hey, Edie!
Me: How’s it going. Cut your hair. Lookin’ good.
Bill: Thanks. Gee, Jackson sure is getting big. Oh, let me introduce you (indicating young woman, who now steps forward): this is Helen.
Me: Hi, Helen, I’m Edie.
(Helen shakes my hand, looks at Bill, who suddenly looks ill)
Me: What, is something dripping on your head?
Mike: Uh, Hillary, her name is Hillary, not Helen — (to her, desperately) I can totally explain why I said that.
Me: Okay, happy holidays! Bye!
Turns out that she is not forgiving him for this. Jack did the same thing to me once, except he called me by his ex’s nickname. And I was like, whatever, they’re still sorting their shit out, it’s cool. But some girls take this as a terrible insult and if Helen/Hillary can’t take a harmless work-related mixup (he works with someone whose name is uncannily similar to hers, plus he was nervous shopping with her because he’s only known her for a week and he really likes her a lot), then she doesn’t really like Bill enough, and she needs to go home and grow up. But then I am known for taking the guy’s side in these matters. Mostly because they seem to need so much sympathy, and I am in the position to give it, being a female they haven’t fucked up with. After I have created this special status for myself, I am available for miserable-but-funny phone calls and lunches. Score!