LEADER OF THE PLAQUE

Published August 15, 2009 by jean cohen

Adonai Wept!  The apocalypse is upon us!  Life, as we knew it, has ceased to exist.  Yeah, I’m real depressed.  I’m having nightmares involving a nickel defense made up of graduates from the University of Georgia.  It’s so bad I don’t even feel like shopping. Stop with the shit-eating, sarcastic emails already.  Yeah, I’m embarrassed for my team and my city.  It’s worse than Terrell Owens.  It might even be cosmic payback for all the Plaxico jokes.  But Michael Vick???  Seriously.  What was Andy thinking?  (Probably about where he’s going to score his next cheesesteak; wow, he got really fat.)  Poor Donovan must be so upset.  And we all know what happens when he gets upset…. he can’t throw the fucking football.

 

I believed.  I was convinced that this was our year to take the whole enchilada, get to the big dance, be the bride instead of a bridesmaid again.  Michael Vick???  Thank God there’s not a 700 Level anymore.  What is the equivalent of the Fifth Ring of Hell in the Linc, by the way?  It will, I’m sure, be brutal.  Gee, I wish I could be there.  There’s nothing better than vicious, drunk Philly fans.  You may be assured that Pinkie will not be permitted to purchase any clothing items sporting a #7 during our sojourn in the classy City of Brotherly Love.

 

Okay.  I’m glad I got that off my chest.

 

Note to British readers:  Michael Vick is… well, he went to jail… he killed a lot of dogs… he’s the new backup quarterback… oh, never mind.

 

Just before I left for my shift at Sam on Thursday, my phone rang.  It was Scooter Man, my upcoming date for Monday.  He’d had a change in his schedule, and had to be in Woking on Friday.  Was I free for dinner on Thursday night?  Hmm.  Decisions, decisions.  Input loads of boring computer jargon into JDavid’s new website and then do the quiz at the Ashtree with Cheese Boy or go on a date?  I drove poor Mike insane at the shop.  “Jeano, are you listening to me?  Pia wants a display of biographies put in the window.”  “Abso-bloody-tutely, Mikey. Do you like me better in Hunter green or Autumn Wheat?  I’ll go borrow some samples from Brics and you can decide.”  “Hester?  Jeano here… at Books.  Emergency!”  

 

Scooter Man was staying at the Ship Hotel, specifically because of me.  They should start paying me a goddamned commission.  This is the third one in a month.  I skulked into the bar at 7:00, praying I wouldn’t meet anybody I knew this time.  This was starting to get embarrassing.  After saying ‘hi’ to Irish Dave, Mad Tommy, and that lady who does Meals-on-Wheels on Fridays with Eve, I ran into Father Tom from Christ Prince of Peace RC Church.  Little Towns… Father Tom said he’s looking forward to this year’s Thanksgiving Feast; it’s at his church again.  He said he was meeting a fellow ‘chaplain’ for dinner, and I sent up an SOS to Yahweh.  “Please let it not be Jackie from Shul.  I will expire on the spot.”  Fortunately, it wasn’t.  It was Father Salvatore from that Italian Church in Kingston, the one I met with a couple times when I started my citizenship thingy.

 

“Reginamaria!  Caio.  Come sta?”  (Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!)  “Yo, Padre Sal.  ‘Come Sta?’  Oh yeah, right.  Fine.  Um… multo bene!  E tu?  Sorry.  Gotta dash.  Women’s Institute.  ‘Brussel sprouts are our friends.’  I want to get a good seat.”

 

Maybe Pinkie’s right and everybody in Surrey knows me by now.  It feels like it sometimes.

 

We took a walk up the High Street so I could show Scooter Man charming, gossipy Weybridge, including the Bookshop.  “I did the windows today.  Notice the exciting display of rock star biographies on the third shelf.”  “I don’t think Nelson Mandela is classified as a rocker.”  “Yeah?  Well. Sue me!  I was a little distracted.”

 

We went to dinner at Thai Garden.  I know; I know.  Even Joey, BooBoo’s ex-husband, sniggered when he saw me again.  It was the fifth time in, like, three weeks.  But one of those times was with Stuart, so it doesn’t count.  It wasn’t a date.

 

Scooter Man is positively yummy.  And we have another date—the original one scheduled— happening on Monday.  End of that story.

 

Here’s something you never hear me say.  I’ve been really ill.  Everybody around me is always whinging about some illness or another, especially now with Swine Flu around.  And I’m always perfectly fine, except for my allergies (apparently I’m allergic to fresh air, trees and the bar in the Ship Hotel).  I got a severe gum infection.

 

This was a very serious problem, because it required the ministrations of a dentist.  You try finding one of those in England.  At home, three of my clients were dentists, my sister-in-law’s brother-in-law was my dentist, Jerry’s best friend (Ellie) is one and my neighbor up the street was, as well.  I won’t go into the boring details, but it was all my own fault.  After two nights of agony and no sleep, I had to let my fingers do the walking and call every dental practice in Weybridge, begging for an emergency appointment.  There’s about three or four.  I finally talked my way into a slot with one on the High Street.  Frankly, I didn’t care if he was an Arab.  Or an Indian.  I didn’t even ask.

 

Since this is a re-occurring problem for me, I knew what was going to happen.  I was pleasantly surprised that the office was modern and high-tech.  I fully expected the torture chamber from Warwick Castle or Weybridge Hospital.  The dentist wasn’t English – why would he be?- but he didn’t seem to be a Dr. Mengele clone.  As expected, before he could even work on the problem, I needed massive doses of antibiotics for four days.  And, again as I expected, my gums were better in a day.  The yeast infection and the intense nausea from the drugs were another story.  I had one treatment session now, with two more to follow.  Fred always gave me oodles of lovely gas while he excavated in my gums; Dr. Whatever doesn’t use it.  But I was a brave soldier; no choice, really.

 

And because I’m honest, I’ll admit that after an hour of Dr. Tooth excavating with a pick-axe almost to my naval, I went right to my next appointment – to get my eyebrows waxed.  Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of my own life.  Maybe I secretly crave pain.

 

I went to shul on Saturday.  It’s only five weeks ‘til the High Holidays!  Time to start thinking about The Book again.  I can’t believe a whole year has passed.  Thanks to Pinkie, I’ve still got a stash of New Year’s cards so I don’t have to worry.  And at least I don’t have a whole lot to be sorry for this year; just one or two little faux pas.  Cousin Bernie was the gabai, looking adorable in his tartan yarmulke.  We are no longer kissing people when we say ‘Shabbat Shalom’ ‘cause of the Sheep Flu.  Come on.  I think we can’t actually even say ‘Swine’ flu in synagogue.  And as always, there were a few messages directed at me personally.  The Torah reading was from Deuteronomy and spoke about our obligation not only to pray and worship God, but to give of ourselves, our time and attention not just alms, within the community, especially care of the vulnerable.  Yep, I thought smugly, one big check on the right side of the Book for Jeano, Weybridge Senior Centre Committee Person and escort on the trip to Brighton this week. 

 

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