Friday, April 20, 2012
A to Z Honesty - R is for Return to Sender
Sam, who is 11, is home for a few days because he fell at school and has a concussion. Poor little mite. He was headed out for recess on a windy day and the door blew back and caught him on the head, knocking him unconscious when his head hit the pavement. He has two goose eggs on his head and his one eye is bloodshot – now that I think of it he looks a lot like Rocky Balboa.
Thankfully he's feeling better. His headaches are gone and yesterday he ate an entire chocolate rabbit he'd been hoarding since Easter. Who can hoard chocolate, by the way? Can you? I certainly can't. Any chocolate that I've ever seen has a best before date of MUST EAT NOW.
While I would love to stay at home with Sam and help him eat chocolate, I have to work. Sigh. Always that work thing. I remember thinking, when I was Sam's age, that I would work only until I secured a husband and then rest on my laurels and eat bon-bons for the rest of my life. Well, I'm on husband #2 now and I'm still working. Talk about the best laid plans ... why can't I be a welfare mom like everybody else? Half of my relatives are welfare moms. The rest are welfare dads. Is there a course for this? A sign-up sheet? Feck...
So anyway (quit distracting me like this, will ya?), Sam has to stay home while we go to work. I say to him, "Don't use the electrical stove. Don't touch the wood stove. Don't let the cats out. Do let the dog out. Don't forget to let the dog in. Don't go anywhere. Don't fart. Don't breathe. And please, no matter what, keep the door locked and do not let strangers in.
I get to work, literally just walk through the door, and my friend Leah says, "Did you pass Vic on the way?"
Leah and Vic are good friends. They have a key to our house and they only have one car. Sometimes when Vic needs the car she comes into work with Leah and then uses our house as her command centre. Which is fine by us.
"Feck!" I say. "Sam's there! Last thing I said to him was don't let anyone in the house. He's gonna be peeing his pants when he sees Vic."
I call home. Vic answers. "Is everything OK?" I ask. Vic laughs. Apparently Sam was making toast when our dog started barking and he realized someone was at the door. He didn't move. Stood stock still by the toaster. Hoping the person jangling keys at the door would just go away. Meanwhile, Vic, who has 1,400 keys that all look identical, was trying to figure out which key unlocked our front door. She had no idea Sam was inside. She just kept trying key after key after key. Finally she found the right one and the door opened.
"Hi," said Sam. Vic screamed and crapped her pants.
That was the other day. Yesterday I refreshed the same mother litany of don'ts on Sam with this one addendum - if Vic shows up, try not to scare the shit out of her. And don't let anyone BUT Vic in the house.
A few hours later Sam phones me. He's a little bit hysterical. "Is Vic there?" I ask. "NO," he says, "but I saw this bald guy coming up the walk so I put my pants on..."
"You had no pants on?"
"I just got out of the shower. Remember? You told me I needed a shower?"
I nod. Even though I'm on the phone.
Sam continues. "So I was trying to get my pants on and the bald guy was at the door but by the time I was dressed he was gone. He left a package. A cardboard package."
Ooooh, a PACKAGE. Nothing makes the heart lighter than a package. "Who's it for?" I ask. Greedily.
"Some guy named Robert Cooper. Can I open it?"
Robert Cooper used to own our house, like YEARS ago. Like, several owners ago. Every once in a while we get Christmas cards for Robert Cooper. We always hang them up along with the two or three cards we get. Makes us feel popular. Like we have actual friends.
"No, I say, "you can't open it." Even though I really, really want him to open it. It could be a box full of cash. Or a new puppy. Or bon-bons. The possibilities are intoxicating. This could be it. The life-changing whatchamacallit. The pivot upon which all things will move forward from. I'm looking at the package right now, as I write this, and it's everything I can do not to say "feck it" and reach over and just open the damned thing.
I will not, though. In fact, I have already contacted UPS and they will be coming to retrieve the mysterious parcel and either find the equally mysterious Robert Cooper or Return it to Sender.
No doubt the bald guy will show up when Sam is here by himself. Hopefully he has his pants on this time. Sam, not the bald guy. Although, seriously, the bald guy better fecking well have pants on ...