Yesterday I used some personal leave from work to take care of my business. Not my proposed handbasket factory. Just my business, as in, it's none of your business.
I also met up with my best old ex-teaching friend, Mabel. We had arranged our rendezvous two sentences at a time, by text, within the 50-minute interval that is my plan time. That's because our cellular providers don't see any urgency in placing communication towers in the Outer Backroadsia area, and home cell phone usage is like trying to talk on a long section of twine stretched between two tin cans. We can't even ask each other, "Can you hear me now?" We might as well type, "Can you read me now?" Texts are not instantaneous.
Still, we are quite efficient, Mabel and I. The logistical ballet did not come near to rivaling the D-Day Invasion logistics of Mom and me planning to meet briefly to exchange already-read tabloids and two dollars. It was more akin to mounting a nationwide tour for the Barnum and Bailey Circus.
I had not seen Mabel since May 17th. Graduation night. Our last, unbeknownst to me. And her. She up and surprise-retired over the summer. Notifying me by text, of course. You'd think we were separated by more than one thin county line, and less than the distance of Rhode Island's diameter. But we weren't.
Our joyous celebration (not to be confused with a somber celebration) took place at a midway city park. Mabel and I stopped short of grasping hands, tilting our noses in the air, and serpentining a Snoopy toe-tapping dance through the primary-colored playground equipment. However...Mabel stole three years worth of hugs from Val's prickly persona. I do not plan to press charges for the flesh-pressing.
We selected a concrete picnic table three meters from the parking area. Of course that signaled a horde of morning park-walkers to converge like locusts from the wisps of fog. A closer resemblance of those walkers to the entire populace of WhoVille could not have been engineered through cloning. Young, old, male, female, fit, fat, fit-fat, scrawny, hairy, smooth, bowlegged, knock-kneed, erect, humped, dog-walking, baby-carrying, toddler-pushing...I'm sure they had all plopped a roast beast into the crockpot before leaving their colorful, curlicued homes.
Every time one lady went past, I thought I recognized her back. I finally mentioned it to Mabel, who informed me that my backquaintance stared at me each time she walked by. Finally, Backquaintance said, "Are you retired?" Dang! Spies are everywhere! No. I am not retired. But Backquaintance is. She's a friend and neighbor of my newly-retired sister, the ex-mayor's wife. Backquaintance should be ashamed, out spying for The Man.
"No. I'm taking a personal day. You can't get me in trouble if you try!" I also made note that Backquaintance was pushing her toddler granddaughter around the park at 110.5 mph in a red plastic automobile. That's what the dashboard decal said, anyway. No wonder that kid threw a shoe that took two laps to recover. We agreed that our blackmail data cancelled out any upper-hand-gaining contact with respective authorities.
Mabel and I had a delightful visit. I refrained from treating a walked-dog's nose like Bubble Yum. And Mabel ate a bug. A good time was had by all. Except maybe the bug.