Friday, April 18, 2008

A Perfect Ten

Growing up in a small town, it was always customary to greet the new neighbors and bring gifts of food...if only to ensure that you got in on all the good new gossip first.

Since moving to "the big city" I've always lived in an apartment, with this latest move being no exception. Since the units are so close to each other, I always had visions of the mid-recipe run to borrow a cup of sugar, but that never happened.

I was chatting with my Sister Mary Mandy late one evening, armed with a bowl of Cookie Crisp and preparing to watch a 'new' old episode of Law and Order: SVU, when I heard a tap tap tapping on my door. Thinking this was odd, as the entrance to my building is secure, and I wasn't expecting anyone, I suddenly got a surge of excitement. My sugar and flour were stocked! I was prepared to help someone complete their late-night batch of chocolate chip cookies!

I held the phone at my shoulder as I peeped through the hole in the door, only to see the neighbor who had moved across the hall from me days before. As I made a wide swath with the door, she nervously explained that she had a strange request. I thought, awesome, I just bought the Costco pack of toilet paper! Because how weird could her request really be?

Neighbor: Um, my nails are really screwed up from moving, and I don't have my fingernail clippers unpacked yet.
Me: Oh, sure, you can borrow my clippers.
Neighbor: Um, I have a disability in my hand...
Me: (light bulb) Do you need me to clip your nails for you?
Neighbor: That would be great!
Me: (inward shudder) Sister, I'm going to need to call you back.
Neighbor: Thanks so much, this is a little embarrassing.
Me: (a little? I briefly considered telling her about these little places where it's actually someone's job to cut your nails, but didn't.)

As I avoided the thumb that was ripped back to the quick, I mentioned that I would just trim them roughly and she could file them how she wanted. When I was done, she said "Do you have that file?"

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,would you like to take a seat and pick a color while you're at it?!

I went back into my bathroom and brought out a file for her, which I told her she could keep. The last thing I want is a someone's used nail file. There's a reason that I pay for my own set at the salon...

As she stood at my kitchen table attempting to make small talk as she filed her nails, I realized that there was only one solution; discontinue eye contact until she gets the hint. It took a little longer than I had hoped, but when she finally made the obligatory, 'well, I better get out of your hair...' I was already lugging my melon belly to the door to show her out.

I tiptoed to my bedroom and closed the door to call Sister back and in a barely repressed laughter told her why I had to let her go...there was just stunned silence on the other end.

When J got home from work in the wee hours of the morning, I recounted the tale and I could feel his body stiffen next to mine in bed, he was not impressed. He explained (very nicely of course, because who isn't civil at 2am) that he was concerned about my judgement, although I explained that my safety was not at risk, since she was about half-my size (and don't forget the defunct hand). However, and perhaps more of a threat, he pointed out that if she felt comfortable with that request, she would most likely be back.

This could be worse than Jim Carey's Cable Guy.


MomtoSophieandOliver said...

Yet another reason to move back to Oregon!!!

Alex Elliot said...

That is just so weird!!!! Kim and I were laughing about it tonight.

Betsy, short for Elizabeth, formally known as Esther said...

Come on! This really happened? I don't know what I would have done! Seriously...that weird-o material!