My first husband, He Who Shall Not Be Named, once described me in glowing terms to a friend of ours. I don’t recall his exact words, but suffice it to say that they caused me to stop, cock my head (and my imaginary Colt 45), and say, “I think the sum of my existence has just been condensed into ‘an incredible ability to solve anagrams.’” Oh well, if you have to be known for something…
Then there’s my pal Barbara who likes me to go along with her when she shops for fabric. Not only because I tend to love the same vintage prints for quilts, and the same colors and textures for home décor projects that she does, but also because I function as her personal calculator.
“So if my window is 60” long, and I want two panels…” she begins.
“You need four yards,” I offer, completing her sentence. “And that’s $104, less your 40% off coupon makes it $62.40.”
Barbara’s eyes have rolled so far up into their sockets that I think she’s going to faint, but then she cracks up laughing and tells me I’m a freak of nature. Duh. Tell me something I don’t know.
I’m sort of cursed with these odd little parlor tricks that no one except Will Shortz could possibly care about. I also know all the words to a million show tunes, and old songs from way before my time. I’m what you should probably call a throwback. It’s like a weirdness that I don’t even understand. Lastly, I have an uncanny ability to remember everyone’s birthday, wedding anniversary and date of their first communion or bar mitzvah, as the case may be. My step-daughter calls me Rainman for a reason.
Meanwhile, back at the fabric store…
“See, I’d love to ask you how you did that, but we both know I couldn’t possibly process that in a hundred years, so I’ll spare you the effort,” Barb says.
“But wouldn’t you rather know how to do it, too? I can tell you, it’s really easy. Besides, you have a very big brain and your capabilities far exceed mine in a zillion ways. Come on… it’ll be fun.”
“Fun? Have you totally lost your mind? Travel is fun. Movies are fun. Except for that awful movie with Mickey Roarke last year. (The opposite of fun.) Shopping for fabric is fun. Computing yardage, cost and discounts: decidedly not fun.”
I admit defeat. If Barbara doesn’t want to know, I can’t insist. Besides, now she’s dependent on me, and she needs me to go with her whenever she’s on a quest for just the right fabric. I’d say I’ve got it made.