June 4, 1999
The week before Memorial Day was seriously important for Lisa. She was getting ready for a big event – a photo-shoot or meeting with some Hollywood mogul. I am privy to only a teeny portion of the real story (you already know how secretive she is about her screen projects. And remember how I was severely reprimanded for revealing the identity of one of her important friends in the Clinton entourage.) I don’t understand it but I guess hush-hush comes with the territory – that of being a budding media presence.
Well, here we are in Woodstock. It’s Sunday late afternoon. It’s warm. It’s lazy. It’s Wagner. I’m lazily and happily immersed in the Ring. Lisa on the other hand has returned to the City. She’s getting all her ducks lined up for the impending event. She reviews the beauty arsenal and overall strategy:
waxing and shaving – done
nails manicured and polished (hands and feet) – done
massage and facial – scheduled Tuesday (already paid for)
hair – scheduled Tuesday
Everything is on target and looking good. She is in control and projects a steel calmness. She goes into the bathroom to brush her teeth. Oh. My. God.
Where the hell is her new Opalescence Tooth Whitening Gel kit (ADA accepted, American Dental Association, made by Ultradent Products, Inc. The Syringe People)?? She had jumped at the chance to buy it at discount in New York ($200). The normal cost in Beverly Hills for that kit and care was $1299.98
But where is the kit right now when she needs it? She panics. Terror, tears and heart murmurs set in as she realizes that it is exactly where she left it – sitting on a shelf IN YOUR WOODSTOCK HOUSE.
She freaks. Visions of herself in Transylvania with long brown teeth grip her. Visions of ridicule. Small boys and dogs laughing and barking at her. Heart racing, she picks up the phone. A lady answers, “Emergency 911, give me your number please.” Oh shit. She had dialed 911 instead of 411 (makes sense.) She redials and gets your number. You explain that Sharon is in the midst of listening to Das Rheingold. Reluctantly, Lisa talks to you instead . She chokes back her embarrassment and tries to be cool …. “Thanks so much for a wonderful weekend Scott. The bus ride was so lovely. It only took a few hours. I got home safely. Boy, it’s hot in the City… Oh and by the way, umm, would you mind passing on a little message to Sharon. Please ask her to bring home the teeth stuff tomorrow. She’ll know what that is. It’s on the shelf in the bedroom next to her L.L. Beane bag.”
Later, you give me the message. I nod but worry that Lisa is going to gag on the unfamiliar east coast summer weather which had come in with a vengeance overnight. We heard that it’s over 90 in the City. I leave a message on Lisa’s machine. “Hi Niecie. I hear its blazing hot in the city. There ARE air conditioners in the apartment. Your room should be cool enough with the cross breeze from the bathroom but feel free to sleep in my bedroom with its own air conditioner tonight. See you tomorrow. Hope you had a safe trip home.”
Lisa plays the message. “A safe trip home?? Oh. My. God. She didn’t say anything about my teeth stuff. Didn’t Scott tell her? Did he forget? Did she tune out when he was telling her? Or, maybe he told her and she forgot? What do I do now? I better call back again. Just to be sure. Gotta have that kit. Gotta bleach. Oh. My. God. “
Lisa decides to call. Again. She is so embarrassed. “Hi Scott, this is Lisa.” “Oh, hi”, you say. Silence. “Um, oh just checking in. (pause) Can I speak to my aunt?” “Oh”, you say, “She’s in the middle of her Wagner project.” (Pause) Lisa doesn’t say anything. You continue, “You know, in conjunction with Nietzsche. Right now she’s listening to Die Valkürie.” Lisa rolls her eyes. You go on, “It is exactly at the incredible part when the valkeries are flying around. I couldn’t possibly stop and interrupt her now.”
Lisa’s internal combustion revs up. “Not interrupt? This is a huge emergency. What the fuck do I say? I can’t just repeat what I already said about the teeth stuff. Maybe I should just try to call again later. … But suppose nobody’s there. I’d have to leave the same message. Oh. My. God. Oh screw it. I’ll just tell him. He’s understanding. I wonder if I should tell him to keep this under his hat. Not to tell anybody. Oh I’m so embarrassed. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me in my whole life. Part of me wants to melt into the woodwork and just forget it; the other part wants to just deliver the message and dare anyone to snicker. What do I do?”
She takes a big decision. She’ll go with nonchalance.
“Oh, that’s ok.”, she says. “Please don’t interrupt her.” Then, with just the right amount of insouciance, “I just wanted to remind her to bring my teeth stuff. It’s on the shelf near her Beane bag. I know I called yesterday. I’m just concerned about her forgetting. I mean I know I’m the one who forgot in the first place … but I’m concerned about Aunt Sharon. She’s always joking about memory over 50. She’s over 50, you know. I just didn’t want her to forget. She’s such a dear. You know, she would just feel awful if she forgot. We always remind each other – its our way of woman-relating. We’ve bonded so well, I wouldn’t want anything to screw it up. I’m sure you understand.”
You mumble, “Yeah, sure I’ll remind her.” This was NOT reassuring to Lisa who resisted but succumbed again to images of herself, dentally challenged, but now pictured on the front page of the Enquirer at the checkout line of every supermarket in the country. For distraction until I returned, she tried to while away the afternoon surfing the net, catching up on the latest scandals, reading Midsummer Night’s Dream (to prepare for the new movie) – all to no avail. Her anxiety dissolved only when I entered our apartment and handed her the teeth stuff. She whipped into the bathroom and closed the door. She performed the ablutions spelled out on the instruction sheet, praying that the skipped day wouldn’t make a serious difference.
I don’t know how the big event actually turned out.
What a treasure this website is. I love the story of your listening
to The Ring while your niece is desperate to reach you. Waiting out The Ring for a return call or message could make anyone crazy.
This is fantastic, very funny, you can feel the hysteria rising, making you want to scream, “Auntie, answer the phone”! love it!