Thursday, February 12, 2009

The phone rings the other evening. “How’re things?” asks J. When she asks me, I know just which things she’s referring to—the aches, pains, missteps, forgetfulness, pratfalls, and mishaps that come with our age territory. So I hedge my answer. “Good,” I say, “and you?”

“Well,” she says, “I’ve had a problem with dry eyes lately so I got some artificial tears. The other morning I stumbled into the bathroom, took the bottle from the medicine cabinet, tipped it up and squeezed. Nothing came out so I squeezed harder. Still nothing. By now I’m shaking the bottle and squishing it so hard my fingers hurt and all I get is a teensy drop. ‘It can’t be empty already,’ I say to myself and try squeezing some into the other eye. I’m practically strangling the bottle and all that comes out is a miniscule amount.”

She is laughing so I figure it’s okay if I laugh, too. “So, did you go out and buy more?” I ask.

“No. (Long pause.) I took the cap off the bottle. I was squeezing that sucker so hard I actually forced some liquid out with the cap on! Of course, when I did take the cap off, the stuff squirted all over the place.”

“Oh, by the way,” I say in an effort to take her mind off the hoot I just let out. “You know the other day you asked if I’d ever left my purse anywhere and didn't notice?” (Of course, she’d just done that very thing and called to warn me.)

She started to chuckle again. “Where’d you leave yours?”

“At the doctor’s office. And the very next day at a friend’s house.”

“You left it somewhere two days in a row?” J laughed.

“I did. And when I returned to the doctor’s office to get it, the woman behind the window laughed and said, ‘Don’t feel bad, dear. You aren’t the only one.’ There lined up on her counter were three black purses waiting for their owners to realize they were missing.

“ ‘What, are we all the same age?’ I asked. She just nodded.”

photo credit: 07/