Sometimes, I am invisible.
That suits me just fine.
I sit behind three women. Three moms. All of them attractive and falsely blond and well-dressed.
Late 30’s and holding.
The one in the middle has impossibly correct posture. People who sit as though there is no need for the chair to have a back annoy the crap out of me. I want to reach forward and pull her into her seat and toward me, “Relax, babe. Relax.”
But I say nothing.
We are all waiting together.
The woman with the impossibly correct posture is holding the class-supply list for next year.
Of course she is.
She is trying to engage the women on either side of her in a discussion of the various supplies their children will need for next fall.
Hmmm . . . I will worry about those supplies in about three months.
Seriously . . . relax, impossibly erect woman.
The woman on the right starts talking about how much she used to like to get new school supplies, “Remember Pee Chee folders? Oh, I loved those!”
The woman on the left leans over the woman in the middle to talk to the woman on the other side, “Oh, I remember those! I spent so much time writing on the outside of my Pee Chee folders. The names of the boys I liked, little hearts around their names. Remember that?”
The woman on the right leans confidingly to her left, and the woman in the middle lifts the printed supply list up and out of the way with a stiffened arm, as though these two will somehow sully the list with their memories.
The woman on the left says, “I can still remember their names. Still remember how tricky it was when love turned to hate. And then your folders were covered with this horrid boy’s name surrounded in pink and purple hearts.”
The woman on the right smiles and speaks knowingly, “Stickers. I used a lot of stickers.”
The two women giggle happily at this memory.
The woman in the middle lowers the school-supply list into their conversation, “So I was thinking that I might be able to find the calculator at Best Buy. What about these binders . . . what size are those supposed to be, you think?”
No one is listening.
The woman on the left starts telling a story about getting rid of her Jacuzzi a few years ago. She and her husband needed to get rid of the Jacuzzi, but it wasn’t the sort of thing that could be sold. They called around to have someone come and haul it away.
I would have stopped paying attention here, but Mark and I once tried to sell an old Jacuzzi, and this woman is right. It’s impossible. Then we tried to give it away. No takers. I finally let Mark go at it with a chainsaw . . . a happy day in Mark’s memory.
The one time in his life he was not afraid of spiders.
Turns out even Black Widow spiders have few defenses against chainsaws.
The woman on the right-hand side loses interest somewhere in here. She settles back into her seat and takes out her phone.
Which leaves the woman on the left talking to the impossibly erect woman.
The impossibly erect woman turns slightly and stares at her friend, her lips pursed. She waits for this story to be done, the school-supply list resting in her lap. She seems puzzled at how far from school-supply lists this conversation has wandered.
The woman talking grows more animated as she senses the disinterest, “So we found someone to come take the Jacuzzi away! And this guy shows up and he has a helper with him, and the helper is Jason! I recognized him immediately!”
The impossibly erect woman says nothing and stares at her friend blankly.
The other woman rushes in with explanations she apparently forgot would be required to make this story meaningful, “Jason! I spent a whole year in high school writing his name on my Pee Chee folders! Jason!”
The impossibly erect woman says, “How odd.”
But the woman with the story is not to be stopped, “He was lovely. He remembered me and we talked for a few minutes as he was hauling the Jacuzzi away.”
She keeps going, “Turns out he spends a lot of time on his boat. Drives his truck in races and stuff. Works odd jobs. That’s not what I would have imagined for him, but he seemed happy.”
“Yeah, so he just took a different path. It wouldn’t have worked out. I’m not saying it would have worked out. Just interesting to see him again after all those years.”
The woman on the right finishes whatever she was doing on her phone, “What are you guys talking about?”
The woman on the left rests a hand lightly on the impossibly erect woman’s knee, looks into her face, “But his eyes? Oh my god . . . his eyes were still amazing.”
The woman on the right says, “Whose eyes?”
The impossibly erect woman in the middle lifts her paper from her lap, “So what do you think? Best Buy for the calculators? Or maybe Office Max.”
Her words are interrupted by the arrival of all the 5th and 6th graders.
It’s time for the end-of-the-year awards assembly.
Summer’s almost here.
Seriously, impossibly erect woman . . .
How am I supposed to appreciate this moment when you are blocking my view?