My sister the ex-mayor's wife and I are the new odd couple. She's Felix. I'm Oscar. No, not because I'm a grouch, though she may beg to differ, what with younger sisters always being assumed to be the oldest getting all testy and whatnot.
Thursday I had to run by her house during a 30-minute interlude during which she was not scheduled for other engagements. She arrived after I parked in her driveway, coming directly from the hairdresser. "Oh, having your hair colored?" I asked. She was not amused.
"I've figured out that's why everybody thinks you're younger than me. You're still working, and you color your hair. I do not."
"Well, I already told you, maybe you should, and maybe you need a part-time job."
We walked through her garage to the kitchen door. "Oh! My car is so dirty it makes me sick!" Let the record show that her car is a white SUV with those running board pipe thingies that swing up under the side of the car when she's not getting in or out. I saw not one speck of anything on that car. Unlike black T-Hoe, who was sprinkled with white salt residue from driving on the snow/ice-covered roads on the way to town.
So Friday morning, as The Pony and I headed to town, him not having left the house since last Saturday night, his birthday laser-tag bash with his woman and some friends, I had him text Sis while I was driving.
"We're headed to town. Do you want me to drop off your copy of the beneficiary deed for Mom's house that I picked up yesterday?"
The Pony laid my phone down. I was driving. Don't text and drive, folks. I thought I heard it ding, but The Pony said no. When we got to Walmart and I was safely parked, I checked it. Sis had responded fifteen minutes ago.
"Are you here right now? I was going to take a shower, but I'll wait if you're here."
"We're going in Walmart. It will be at least 30 minutes, maybe 40, before we get there."
"Okay. Text me when you're here. I'll go ahead with my shower."
We didn't have much to buy, so we went over to Dollar Tree for some 50-cent greeting cards to send Genius each week. Only the best for my first-born. Then the time was right to go by and drop off the paperwork.
"Here, Pony. Text Aunt Sis and tell her that we're on our way."
Shortly, the phone dinged. The Pony went apoplectic. "That's IT! I'm never reading your texts for you again! You can do it yourself from now on. I can't take it anymore!"
"Why? What did she say?"
"Um. No. I'm not repeating that!"
"It can't be that bad! Let me have the phone." Let the record show that I was at a stop sign. "Ohhh! All it says is 'I'm clean now.' What's so bad about that?"
"Stop saying it!"
"What's wrong with you? She just means she's out of the shower. You're so weird."
"Well, I'm not reading any more."
When we got to the house, Sis came out. She stood by the driver's door. It was 14 degrees. I told her several times, "I didn't plan to come in. But you can sit in the car for a minute. It's warm." Sis had been trying to talk to The Pony through my window, since he wouldn't put his down, and, you know, he sits right behind me, freeing up the front passenger seat for Sis. She finally came around and climbed in.
"I was wondering why you kept standing there in the cold. I'm turning it back on to get warm with my seat heater."
"Well...I didn't want to get dirty. I just had a shower, you know." The Pony put both hands over his ears. I saw him in the mirror.
"You'd better not say that. He flips out."
"Why? Because I'm clean. I just had a shower. And...well...this car..."
Let the record show that the inside of T-Hoe is NOT dirty, no more than a little dust on the dash. No trash at all up front. Just The Pony's coat and laptop and poetry-writing composition book in the back.
"He was just horrified by your text. Kind of like when I went to the doctor in the city on Wednesday, and we let him stay home all alone in the freezing cold with 8 inches of snow on the ground, unable to drive if anything went wrong, and I said, 'We'll be gone for about five hours. We have to leave now because that hearse is coming for the man across the road, and we don't want to get trapped in if it gets stuck on the hill, and we're going all the way to the city to the gynecologist.' Well! He went running away yelling, 'NO! NO! What's been heard can't be unheard!' I don't know what's wrong with him."
Sis turned to look at him. "Pony! It was just a shower. Don't YOU take a shower? There's nothing wrong with being clean. Hey, do you want me to tell you what that doctor does?"
"NOOOOO!" He grabbed his ears again.
"Don't you need to be out practicing your driving? So you can get your license and take that woman of yours to prom? You have a lot of money, don't you? Why not take a limo?"
"Uh. It's an HOUR away to pick her up. But maybe senior year I'll get a limo."
They chatted a while, the shower not being mentioned. Nor the gynecologist. Sis got out to go put on her makeup for her next trip in her dirty-clean car. She stood outside T-Hoe's door.
"What are you doing? That's a cold draft."
"I'm just trying to figure out how to close this door...without touching it." She poked the silver outside door handle with one finger.
Oscar was not quite amused.