It’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m just getting dried off from my shower, and thinking about what to fix for breakfast. I know. I’m getting an earlier start than usual.
There’s a very loud pounding coming from somewhere. Then, a doorbell ringing. Well, it’s my birthday, so it might be some kind of delivery – balloons, candy, a pony …
More pounding. Then the side doorbell rings.
Here’s the thing. I am constitutionally unable to ignore ringing or banging. Don’t want someone to leave with my check for a million dollars. Or their religious pamphlet. See, that’s what happens when you’re the youngest child. You learn to grab something – anything – while it’s still available. (Flashback to Mom’s homemade brownies, disappearing like vapor into thin air.)
Choosing the most expeditious solution, I throw a large towel around me and head downstairs.
The delivery man, with his van still chugging in the driveway, is holding a small box of chocolates and a big vase of gorgeous flowers.
“Sorry,” I say, “Just coming out of the …”
Friends, let’s recap my life in three short words: I ain’t young. I mean, my body’s no big deal. I fetch my newspaper from the end of the long driveway in my PJs. I passed from “Miss” to “Ma’am” decades ago. And getting carded? Only at the Social Security office. I think it’s safe to say that if I walked naked as a jaybird down the middle of the street, for anyone watching, it would be the equivalent of taking a sleeping pill. True, my late husband Ted used to say fabulous things about my body, but love, though not necessarily blind, often needs a visit to the optometrist.
Now, back to the very surprised man at my doorway. After he quickly stammers – I mean, asks – my name to be sure he is at the right place, he holds out the chocolates, which I take in my left hand, as my right hand’s holding the towel in place.
I have not seen anyone looking in every-other-conceivable-direction-but-straight since my nursing school days, when we students observed an autopsy. This guy is flustered.
“I’ll just put the flowers down here and …” he says, practically hyperventilating.
Since God did not give me three hands (a big mistake, in my opinion), I set the chocolates down on the nearby table and turn back for the flowers.
“It’s OK,” he says. “I can just,” he says to the side of the door jamb. “I’ll put them …” he is now talking to his right shoe.
I bend down to take the vase but ol’ crazy-eyes is too quick for me.
“Here … just, um …” he tells the floor in front of my feet. “This will be, um …”
“It’s OK. I can take them now,” I say.
But with a quick “There!” he is gone, halfway down the driveway before I can say thank you, the vase at my feet.
Isn’t it funny? He’s undoubtedly seen more skin at the public beach. But maybe a towel around a naked, middle-aged woman is more loaded than a bikini. (Note to my grown kids: Not to worry. No bikini.)
It’s little wonder people are so weird about this stuff. At the grocery store, just hours later, I’m in the checkout line, holding a basket of my favorite foods, some on special. Bargains. That’s what gets me excited nowadays. I wait in the snail’s-pace “express” line and peruse the magazine covers in front of me:
“Miley & Selena: Pregnant by the Same Man – How they found out about each other.” (Um, they both have publicity agents? Just a wild guess.)
“Their fight over the baby daddy.” (Hopefully it’s over which one gets to get rid of him.)
“The desperate decisions that changed their lives forever.” (Like not seeing the sleazebag in the first place?)
I stifle a yawn.
In the same rack (pardon the terminology), another women’s magazine boasts:
“Erotic New Trend: Besties With Benefits.” (And I don’t think they’re referring to swapping recipes.)
I look at these and ponder the intricacies of sex, love and relationships, and the messages the media and we ourselves send each other. In my newly widowed status, it’s especially confusing. I continue scanning the headlines.
“Sex! Sex! Sex! Make All Your Moves Hotter!” complete with a photo of a well-known singer in a tired, cliched, bunny-eared shiny black outfit, with a goofy facial expression, and a pose that begs for a plain brown wrapper, not a supermarket shelf.
Really? That’s considered super-sexy?
She should have had a better costume.
Like a towel.