Even though I’m far from the nerve center of Hackensack, New Jersey, where our parents are stumbling through their not quite golden years, I do try to help in any way I can. While I was visiting last month, I discovered Bob wearing two watches, neither of which he could read. One Jeanne had just scored from her dental hygienist’s husband, who’s well-connected, Jersey style, ya know what I mean? The only problem with that watch was its ultra modern face had no numerals at all.
Wiggles: Mah, Daddy can’t read that. He needs a watch with the numbers clearly marked.
Jeanne: But it’s so beautiful! It’s a beautiful, beautiful watch.
Wiggles: That he can’t read.
Jeanne: I don’t understand why you don’t like it. It’s beautiful! Look how beautiful!
So, when I returned to San Francisco, I dug around in my shamefully full watch drawer. (Yes, it’s that bad. One drawer just for watches. With three compartments: gold, silver, and “other,” meaning bronze, colored or mixed metals. Plus a few loose pieces in front that don’t lie flat. I am officially out of control.)
For Bob I had in mind a particular Diane Gilman model with an enormous face, the 12, 3, 6 & 9 in huge font, plus a line for each minute. I own this beauty in gold and silver. For a man, I thought, silver would be more macho. Plus, this watch has a big bubble over the face enlarging the whole shebang. Perfect. Now, my little wrist required the removal of a link, but I still had it, so I put the extra piece into a sealed plastic bag and put said plastic bag and the watch into a nice, soft jewelry pouch. Before mailing I made a telephone call to my mother.
Wiggles: I’m sending you a watch for Daddy. He’ll be able to read it. Now, listen carefully, Mah. He’ll need the link I had removed, so I’ve put it into a sealed little plastic bag inside the jewelry bag with the watch in it. Okay?
Jeanne: Yeah, sure, fine. I don’t know why you’re sending him a watch. That one I got from the dental hygienist is beautiful!
Now, Mah tends to let days pass without bothering to check her mailbox, so I always asked during each telephone call whether or not the package had arrived. It did, Daddy loved the watch, and he could read it. So far, so good.
Jeanne: We’re going over to Vinny’s.
Vinny is Jeanne’s jeweler of choice, a lovely redheaded Italian man with whom I’ve flirt shamelessly, to the point where he blushes uncontrollably. Once I even forgot to fork over the cash for whatever services I’d had rendered there. When I called over to apologize, his grown daughter told him, “It’s Wiggles. She was so busy batting her baby blues at you she forgot to pay.” Vinny, true to form, said to forget about what I owed. He’s adorable, if a handsome, sweet, generous fellow is your cup of tea. I digress.
Wiggles: Great. Take the link.
Jeanne: What link?
Wiggles: The one I sent to you. In the plastic bag. The one I called you ahead of time and told you I’d included. The one that’s from that exact watch.
Wiggles: Mah, I told you. I specifically made a point of calling you and telling you.
Jeanne: I forgot.
Sotto voce to Bob, “She’s infuriated with me. And I was so happy because all my piano students played well today.”
Jeanne: This is why I need you here. I forget things.
Wiggles: Don’t you still have the pouch?
Jeanne: I threw it out. And Daddy says Vinny will have the right link to add in.
Wiggles: Mah, what does Daddy know about watch links?
Actually, it’s endearing that Jeanne still considers Bob the authority on everything.
All I know is, I haven’t heard a peep out of Jeanne or Bob. I promised I’d send the extra gold link if they need it, which would be a touch ghetto, but Bob could rock that look.
It’s a lotta work raising parents.