Saturday morning starts with a phone call from my sister-in-law Adrienne.
Apparently her Friday night had been very eventful and since, on occasion, her parents read this blog, I will leave it at that with the assurance no laws were broken and their daughter returned home under her own power in the same condition she left.
Let me digress for a moment and attempt to explain Adrienne. I’ve spent very little time with Adrienne… three thousand miles between zip codes will do that to people. I consider myself of average intelligence and near-genius levels of smart-assery (case in point: a person of high intelligence would never use the word “assery” and only a person of near-genius levels of smart-assery would have thought of it). Natalie’s parents are intelligent people. Natalie was Salutatorian of her high school class. Not to be outdone, Adrienne was Valedictorian. Me… I had to spell check both those words. A straight-A product of the government-run public education system, Natalie will be quick to tell you with a pride that should only be reserved for mothers. Now here is the rub:
I have no idea what Adrienne does for a living.
No one does. I’ve asked and no one can explain it to me. It’s involves science and the genetic splicing of fish or something. I often joke that she’s cracking the fish genome so they can create naturally boneless lemon-peppered salmon. Maybe some kind of circulatory system that works on a light butter sauce instead of blood would be nice. When you ask her about her work she dismisses you with a slight annoyance like I suspect Tom Hanks would if you asked him what a box of chocolates is like.
It should be noted, Adrienne is often annoyed.
An example, if I may. Adrienne currently lives in the city by the bay (okay, technically she lives in Berkeley which is the city by the city by the bay). California changes people and this is never made so obvious as when Adrienne comes to visit.
It’s so humid here… it’s never like this in California.
Olive Garden? How come there are no decent restaurants like in California?
In California our vegetable sides come with a blend of cauliflower. Who serves a vegetable side of just broccoli and carrots? Savages.
No one faults her because 1) She’s Adrienne, 2) I would think California does have a lot more to offer than Florida and 3) Once they see the lights or Paris, it’s hard to get them back to the farm. In this scenario, Florida is the farm.
There is a certain whimsy Adrienne possesses that is usually reserved characters in Doris Day movies. People who you wouldn’t think exist in real life. What’s the word I am looking for?… eccentrics.
One of the eccentricities is Adrienne has a secret identity. I read enough comic books to know all scientists eventually develop one of these.
This is Jennifer Walters AKA She-Hulk and technically she’s an attorney but you get my drift.
There is part of me that finds this very intriguing although I don’t wish her to be bitten by a radioactive spider or caught in the blast of a gamma bomb because I am pretty sure she would be imbued with cancer, not a super power. Because I was I am not Alfred Gough in Batman (1989) outing vigilantes to just anyone, we’ll call her alter ego Rhiannon. Rhiannon’s super power is she allows Adrienne to traverse the internet, and possibly reality, with complete anonymity. I know she has used this alias in postings on my blog. I suspect she uses it in forums, commenting on websites and probably more frequently in the heyday of chat rooms. I pretend this is the name she gives to hairy-chested, multiple gold-chain wearing men who ask for her number only to find she’s given them the number to a Papa John’s Pizza.
The night of our engagement during the Bride Early Warning System which is immediately activated after the ring is placed on the newly-engaged finger, Adrienne was notified. Her immediate response to me was, “Congratulations. Jim, you seem like a nice guy… are you sure you want to do this?”
Generally such concern is given to the bride by her sister, not to the groom. At our wedding receptions it was Adrienne who was quick to inform me that, “All sales were final. No refunds. No exchanges. No exceptions.”
Thank you for shopping with us at Bed, Brides and Beyond. Have a nice day.
As if I would have came back and said, “This one isn’t performing that way I hoped. Do you have anything newer? Maybe something in a Brittany?”
When we were engaged, I was told by Natalie’s mother, “You do know Adrienne is going to be the problem. It’s nothing personal, Jim. Adrienne isn’t very good with sharing.”
This became apparent in the phone calls she was used to getting on an uninterrupted schedule until I showed up. Most of Adrienne conversations with Natalie come while she’s looking for company to help pass the time while she waits for the bus. These conversations usually go something like this.
ADRIENNE: Natalie. What are you doing?
NATALIE: Eating dinner. We’re watching Real Estate Interventions. Can I call you back?
ADRIENNE: No. You have to talk to me now.
NATALIE: Well, I’m eating.
ADRIENNE: There is a homeless man who just asked me for money and I didn’t have any change and he called me a racist. I’m not racist to black people.
NATALIE: No, you’re not. Can he not tell you’re black? You’re a dark girl with an afro.
ADRIENNE: I think he knows. He doesn’t seem drunk. I don’t want him to think I’m racist.
NATALIE: Okay. Real Estate Interventions is back. You’re going to have to deal with this. Are you alone?
NATALIE: Then I am going to go.
ADRIENNE: No! Stay on the phone with me.
NATALIE: You’re fine. He’s not dangerous and you’re not alone. The bus is coming soon. I’ll call you later.
ADRIENNE: WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO MUCH!
Click. ADRIENNE disconnects abruptly.
Adrienne also has this penchant for losing things. I joke the cure to cancer will come to Adrienne while dodging sketchy Berkeley potheads and hippies at the bus stop. She’ll quickly type it in her cell phone which she will them promptly loose along with her house keys when she sits them on a shelf at Whole Foods to examine a box of organic coffee roasted exclusively by Venezuelan women for American women.
She also has a cadence in her speech that belongs on a woman fifty years her senior. It isn’t unusual to have a ten minute conversation peppered with “Isn’t that lovely,” “delightful” and a couple off the cuff “Oh my dears.” And although she is quick to call her twenty-nine year old sister who is four years her senior, old, I wouldn’t be surprised if Adrienne has a crystal dish of hard candy that had merged into one amalgamous hunk.
Natalie refers to this as Adrienne’s “old soul.” I credit it to good old fashioned genius wackery and the trauma of being the middle child. On the latter, she would probably agree.
It isn’t like she’s without her fanbase. All my friends who’ve met her, adore her. My co-worker Jon once commented, in front of his wife Amy, “I’m telling you now. God forbid anything happens to Amy, because I love her, but if anything does I’m making a move on Adrienne. She’s adorable.” Amy nodded her head in futile acceptance of these facts and added, “She is adorable.”
Back to my story (see, you thought I forgot). On our way to Gainesville, Adrienne called and in relating the events of the previous evening she explains how she lost her wallet, retraced her steps through the various restaurants and bars they’d been to without luck. In a moment of distress she tripped in the street median only to be helped up by a stranger who had been looking for her because he’d found her wallet.
Now, if you’re an expert on Doris Day as I am, and secure enough in my manhood to admit it, you know this is called the “Meet Cute” and would probably end with Adrienne falling in love with this man not knowing he’s the womanizing Lothario who lives across the hall who she’s never met but can’t stand and expresses this to her best friend, Tony Randall.
Instead, Adrienne would get her wallet back with all of its contents intact, no note, no phone number, no interesting story to tell people at parties. Not that it would have mattered because from what I have been told, Adrienne is fairly oblivious to flirting and straight men.
The real point of the story was Adrienne woke up the next morning with blurry vision and she was concerned this may be a side effect of drinking. Natalie and I, with only two years of Grey’s Anatomy and nine years of Scrubs between us, assured her it wasn’t. She instructed her that if it persists, she shouldn’t wait until Monday to go to the doctor, she should go to the Emergency Room today. After she got off the telephone I asked Natalie had she rubbed anything on her hands before she went to bed. I had an incident in 2000 where I woke up with my eye unexplainably swollen shut and had to be taken to the ER by my brother. Hours later I recalled before I went to get I rubbed Icy Hot on a finger I jammed into a door and somewhere in my sleep managed to rub my eyes. I would later be told by the doctor this is the equivalent of macing myself in the face.
A few hours later Natalie would get a call from her youngest sister, Brittany. When asked about Adrienne, Brittany quickly responded, “I talked to her. She fine. She told me her glasses felt different. I told her the glasses she was wearing probably weren’t hers. They weren’t.”
Genius wackery. Make your own Fred MacMurray jokes here.