Dial 0 for Operator
….Sometimes my mind is working on all four cylinders and sometimes it is not. The fact that I remember that there are four cylinders in an engine and my use of the metaphor itself is an indication that I am having a good day; as of this minute anyway.
Perhaps it is not a surprise, or maybe it is, and my kid sister, who is ninety-five by the way, let the kid out of the bag, or is the cat out of the bag? Either will do. Anyway, she sent me a letter in the mail. The letter carrier just delivered it, and when I saw the return address from our home town of Ding Dong, Texas, and yes it is a real town; look it up on one of your doohickey, thingamajig’s that you carry around with you everywhere and call a phone, but you rarely use it to talk to anybody, so I guess I should consider myself lucky that you are talking to me right now. When I was your age, phones were attached to the wall and the only way to connect was to dial 0 for a real live operator. If the party you were calling was not home, you had to try all over again because messages were only delivered by the United States Postal Service, same as I just received from my sister.
So it says here in this letter in my sister’s shaky old lady handwriting that she is sorry that we cannot be together for my big day on January 15th, 2021; that she won’t be able to be celebrate my birthday with me, so I guess that means my family is planning one of those Veteran’s Hall celebrations, down in the basement with paper plates, lasagna, and birthday cake like they did for my 90th, and I’m not kidding, maybe it is wishful thinking on my part, but I totally forgot that I am going to be one century old in two weeks. Leave it to my sassy sister to so boldly point that out.
Since you now know my age, imagine this tidbit of information; I was born just months after the 19th Amendment to the constitution gave women the right to vote. And now we are finally going to have a female Vice President of the United States inaugurated just a few days after my birthday and she’s a dark skinned woman to boot! I still remember when we couldn’t drink from the same water fountain, something I don’t mind forgetting about on one of my bad days. When your memory is slipping, like mine, there are certain advantages that come with the disadvantage and don’t I wish that I could choose how to work that system.
And hey. Can you do me a favor? Can you call me from that thing of yours that actually does dial my phone number? I’d really like to be reminded in case it’s a bad memory day for me on January 20, 2021 to watch the inauguration this year. Okay?
Better yet, come by. I’ll save you a piece of leftover birthday cake and we can watch the inauguration together and then if you would be so kind, you can show me how to work the calendar on my phone. Something tells me it’s gonna be an eventful year.
But the one thing that has me stumped is the reason my sister has used to not come see me. She said although she is healthy enough to fly, she can’t take a chance because of Coronavirus. Coronavirus? Is it just me? Did I hear about it on a day I was misfiring? Have I forgotten some important information or is my kid sister taking advantage of my blinking brain with her blinking brain and pulling one over me? Do you care to explain? Maybe it will come back to me, maybe it won’t. So if you could help an old lady out I’d be much obliged.
…...Oh….What’s that you say?….Right….Coronavirus….Nevermind. It just came back to me. All of it. It is the reason why I am sitting here all alone talking to you. All my kids claim they want to protect me by staying away, and I believe they do, but I also wonder if they might feel a little relieved to leave me off their to-do lists. So I guess my sister did not spoil any big surprise since parties are still a no no instead of a go go.
But it’s okay to be all alone. Really it is. I’ve got my books and I’ve got my cat Fergie here with me keeping me company and my groceries are delivered by this nice young fella. He always wears a mask that says BLM and at 100 years old, I am fully aware I could be six feet under all alone, so why should I complain when I’m still sitting upright, breathing air and talking to you.
….Who did you say you are again?