Last Friday, the day after my act of charity, something made me check the voice mail on my cell phone. I almost never it, a really bad habit. One of the messages was from the receptionist at my eye doctor’s office, letting me know that my contacts had arrived. I checked the call log and the number wasn’t listed as an incoming call. If I hadn’t checked my messages, I wouldn’t have known they called.
It’s fate, I thought excitedly.
The office was only supposed to be open for about another hour, so I stuffed shoes onto my feet and ran the few blocks to the doctor’s office. I know my doctor told me to not wear my contacts until he sees me again this Friday, but there was no way I was going to squint my way through the Armor For Sleep show that night. Besides, how could I make fun of people if I couldn’t see them?
I left the office with two boxes of contacts resting peacefully inside my purse, and then walked another block to pick up some diapers at CVS. A young guy held both doors open for me with an exaggerated flourish and it made me smile. When I thanked him, he answered back with a "You’re welcome" that was so friendly and genuinely enthusiastic, the kind that you almost never hear anymore, except maybe if you’re watching an old movie.
Inside, I squinted and fumbled over bags of diapers until I found the right size, (I had to call Henry first to ask him what size to get. I’m such a great mother, I don’t even know the size of my kid’s ass.)
Leaving the store, I passed an older man — a charming Richard Dawson-type — as he was walking back to a pick up. While he hoisted himself into the passenger seat, he jovially called out, "Good afternoon, lady!" I replied with a very plain hello. As I walked away, I heard him murmur something that sounded like, "Green girl." Why yes, I am wearing a green jacket, how observant.
I crossed the street and the pick up idled next to me at a stop sign. The aforementioned man rolled down the window and shouted, "Hey!" to get my attention.
Oh great, I thought, I’m about to get heckled. That hasn’t happened in awhile. The last time it happened I was walking down the side walk with Henry and some kid in a passing car hollered, "Your shoe’s untied!" It wasn’t, but it got me to pause and look, which I guess was the effect he was going for. Still, what a lame heckle.
"Does your husband tell you how pretty you are?" he asked, his query coated with just the appropriate film of sleaze. It occurred to me then that he wasn’t actually calling me a green girl earlier, but "pretty" girl. This is good because I was afraid that "green" was code for: FAT ASSED STUPID BITCH. Maybe I need to book an appointment for a hearing test once I get my eyes figured out.
I laughed. I laughed so hard I was almost doubled over. First, I laughed at the thought of Henry ever securing the title of my husband, then I laughed at the thought of him complimenting me without expecting my vagina to immediately fall in his lap.
"No!" I answered childishly, arms akimbo for added effect.
"Well, he should!" he said seriously shouting over traffic. "You’re a very pretty girl—" behind him, the driver reiterated the sentiment, "—and he’s a very lucky man!"
Maybe he’s not allowed to wear his contacts, either.
I thanked him, laughed a little, and continued on my way home.
Back at the house, Henry sat on the couch and sneered as I told him the story, obviously jealous that random men don’t stop to tell him he’s a pretty girl, too. I keep telling him all he needs is the right lip gloss.
"This is all because of Mel," I realized out loud. "This is what they mean by paying it forward!"
"Yeah, doing good deeds usually comes back to the person, not that you would know anything about that."
I vowed to started good-deeding it up, maybe donate two of my ribs to an animal shelter or something. I had big plans to let hobos live in my basement, to let stray hookers gyrate against my downspout (not a euphemism for Henry’s weener!). But then I lost interest and resumed being an asshole.