Comic Timing

Dearest Rachel –

They say the difference between drama and comedy is mostly a matter of timing. If that’s so, it would explain why I tend to be the straight man amongst our friends, despite being the ‘weird’ one among my colleagues. The day has been a series of mis-timed misadventures, so I figure I might as well tell you about them in hopes you’ll get a laugh out of them.

I’ll start with the more pedestrian situation. When I left home for the ‘office,’ I was in such a hurry that I forgot all about the salad that I had planned on bringing with me. It wasn’t until Mom invited me upstairs to share some of her own lunch that I realized what I’d left behind, and decided that once I did come up to join her, I’d just head home afterwards, several hours earlier than I’d planned to. Well, it wasn’t as if there was all that much pressing to take care of, so…

I got home to find Daniel fairly hard at work:

I’d actually asked him, before I left for the ‘office,’ to take care of a few things before the contractors got here this morning. The first was for him to move his car in the driveway, as they were going to be bringing in another dumpster for the flooring and cabinetry that they would be ripping out. He’d already taken care of that, and was working on the second request I’d made, which was to clear off the old fridge, which as you recall was covered with magnets holding everything from old photos, newspaper cartoons, and his old school artwork (which was why I was asking him to take care of it) to reminders for your frequent shopping trips (that I couldn’t bear to get rid of, due to it being in your handwriting). Since we intend to keep the fridge – at least so as to keep things cool while the workers are still here (the new fridge is going to be installed immediately, after all) – these things needed to be removed in order to facilitate moving the appliance. I helped him to finish the job, but you can see that he was pretty much done by this point in any event.

If it weren’t for the fact we threw out a fair number of old magnets and calendars and what not, I dare say you would’ve been proud of him.

The job being finished, we went downstairs so that Daniel could show me where he wanted the refrigerator put for the duration, only for him to ask, “hey, what are these bricks doing down here?” Uh… well, you recall how I dismantled the shoe rack in the front hall closet? Well, I set the bricks down in the basement in the one place that wasn’t already occupied where the floor and the wall met. I hadn’t considered that there was a reason that area was left clear. Needless to say, Daniel wasn’t thrilled about this, but at least it was easily corrected, as he set about relocating the bricks – which, to his disgust, had a number of ants on them at this point. I suspect this had something to do with the stuff from the pantry being set down there, rather than there having been any brought down from the closet (I mean, what’s there to eat in a closet, even for an ant? In fact, what would they even find on a shoe rack, other than their – albeit inert – mortal enemy?).

That being dealt with, it only remained to wait for the girls. I had hoped that we could play a game of billiards with our new soccer balls, but thanks to the rains over the weekend, our backyard had a lake in it like I’ve never seen in April.

Normally, this is an issue we deal with in February, when the ground is still frozen. The problem clears itself up as the rains are absorbed into the ground during the spring. For whatever reason, we got so much rain that it was enough to attract ducks.

I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t have been a problem last week, but that’s how things go. I suggested we meet at a local park behind a strip mall (you know the one – there are several restaurants there from which we could pick something up), and play there. Kerstin then pointed out that, without boundaries, the balls could go in all sorts of directions, and recommended a park nearby that had a tennis court, to enclose our game in. I accepted a recommendation, but determined that we would need to change our meal plans; we could order from a pizza place (which I knew would appeal to Erin), and, while the others would be playing, I could pick or order up, and we would eat at the park.

Thankfully, I only needed to put one seat down in order to transport the balls and the nets. After all, there would be five of us heading to the park.

And here’s where the timing starts to get silly. Normally, everybody gets together by around seven at the latest. What with having passed the vernal equinox, the sun’s out late enough for this to work to a certain extent. And indeed, both Kerstin and even Erin managed to arrive while we could still see the sun over the houses across the street, so it looked like this would be doable.

Ellen situation, however, turned out to be a completely different story. I wish she could write and tell it herself, if she could go into more detail (and would probably make it sound that much funnier than I could), but the basic story is very much a series of unfortunate events. Every time she attempted to leave the office, she would notice one or more assignments with a deadline of the next day (which is to say, today) that needed to be taken care of. Individually, they weren’t much of a problem – just a few minutes each – but collectively, they began to build up. Once they were taken care of, then, she needed to get gas in her car – only she’d left her wallet at home, so she couldn’t just stop on the way. Then, the place she pulled into required her to pay at the cashier’s station, as opposed to just swiping her card. When the cashier – who clearly spoke very little English – asked her how much she wanted, she responded she didn’t know, as she intended to fill her car up. It took another customer acting as an interpreter to ascertain that she simply needed to request an amount higher than she expected it would take to fill her car, at which point the pump would stop charging her once her car was filled, rather than going onto that excessive number she’d requested. Really, it’s a wonder she made it as early as 7:30.

Now to order the pizza – or, in Ellen’s case, ribs, since those had the dual advantage of being both gluten free and the daily special for Tuesday from the place. Everybody had to take time to decide what they wanted, and by the time I phoned in the order, and we headed out to the park, well…

Believe it or not, it was considerably darker than this; there’s something to be said for the editing tools on this phone.

The ironic thing was, since I had to go fetch the pizzas, I didn’t wind up playing much pool. It was just like my time at CocoCay, where I wound up refereeing, rather than actually playing, the game.

Also, I found myself surprised that Erin knew nothing about how to play billiards; I would have expected that she would have encountered the game while at college. Pool tables were almost ubiquitous in the common areas at the dorms back at Wesleyan; and you’d expect engineering students to be into the game, given the physics involved. I guess times change; after all, MTV was the ‘campus nightlight’ back in our day, but by the time Erin was in college, the lack of music videos on the channel known as ‘Music Television’ was a running joke.

There was an electrical box on the opposite corner of the tennis court, but as you can see, it was locked. And while there were some wires exposed at the base of the light pole, I couldn’t see to do a single thing, and even if I could, I’d be afraid of electrocuting myself.
These pictures hardly convey just how dark it was; the three-second exposure allowed for better lighting than I expected. However, it blurred everybody’s faces, which, considering their reluctance to be photographed, it’s probably for the best.
I forget which one of the girls said it, but it did feel like eating out at a campsite. Although I kind of missed there not being a fire; not only would it have been brighter, it would’ve been a bit warmer, too.

By the time we were done eating, it was too dark to play anything (or so I thought), so I began to pack up the balls and nets, and put them back in the box.

Meanwhile, Erin turned her attention to the playground, making a beeline for it. Guess there was some playing yet to be done, after all.
The others noticed this spiderweb sort of thing, and Daniel made an attempt to cross it. He actually managed to make it standing up to the other side.
Once Erin spotted what they were doing, however, she decided to one-up him by crossing to the other side, and then returning by climbing along the underside of the web. Clearly, she was in ‘full pelt’ mode last night. I have to admit, she’s fun to watch when she’s on a roll like this; the only problem was, it was so dark, I could barely see her.

It took some convincing to get everyone bundled back into the car (and I do mean ‘bundled’; it may well be nearing the end of April, but Mother Nature doesn’t care about the calendar, as it was starting to drop into the low thirties. I understand it was ultimately to fall into the twenties overnight), and back to the house. There wasn’t that much more for the night, save for Erin to retrieve a few pints of ice cream she’d bought on the way (not so much to share – especially since we were all full of pizza and ribs – as to participate in a fundraiser for a local school her cousin attended, and I think an uncle still teaches at). From there, our goodbyes were such that I wondered if she might not wind up bringing home a collection of rather large milkshakes.

Well, if so, that would be her story, not mine, I suppose. Would be interesting to find out, though.

Eventually, they left, so I could move the car. The contractors are going to be here today, and I needed to make room in the driveway for them. Once that was done, Daniel and I settled in to watch a few videos…

…only for me to have one last joke played upon me, as my body couldn’t bring itself to stay up long enough to enjoy them all. The next thing I knew, it was already after midnight. So, what else is there to do at that point? I bid him goodnight, and staggered off to my bed, for what might be the last night there for a couple of months.

So, that was my day yesterday. How was yours?

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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