When the phone rang, I wasn’t expecting it to be my best friend Sheila, in a panic. I had to tell her to slow down about six times before she did enough that I could understand her.
“It’s Petey, he’s eaten Playdoh with a nickel stuffed inside, a nickel Playdoh sandwich, and I don’t know what to do, it says non toxic on the tub but that’s not mixed with nickels. Ricky never did anything like this, I mean he put that Lima bean up his nose but you know he sneezed it out pretty quick–”
“I said calm down, Sheila, just cool it, okay? There no need to make a science fair out of this. He’s not choking, right?” I asked.
“Of course he’s not choking. I’m not stupid, you know. I would know what to do if he were choking, I have that certification–”
“That’s great, yeah, I know. Did you call Poison Control? They should be able to tell you pretty quick that he’ll be fine,” I said.
“I did call and they said he’d be fine, but what do they know? When did they eat Playdoh and nickels? I have to go, I’m calling 911.”
“Sheila, look, I can be gone in ten minutes and there in eleven. It’s not an emergency of he’s not chok–” I stopped talking when I realized she’d hung up on me.
The phone ran again. I answered without looking.
“I tried to tell you it’s not an emergency.” But this time it was my mother.
“What are you talking about? Who’s having an emergency? Do I need to call 911 for you?”
“No, Mom, it’s fine. We’re all fine. I just thought it was someone else calling. What do you need?”
“Oh. As long as everyone is okay. I was calling about that top you got Sarah for her birthday last week. Remember that top? Well, you know she didn’t like it, so she gave it to me–”
I used her pause for breath to cut in. “No, Mom, I didn’t know that. Thanks, though.” See if I buy you any more clothes that you specifically ask for, Sarah. Jeez.
“Oh, you’re welcome, honey. But I don’t really like it either, so I was calling to see if it came in any other color. You know I just don’t look right in lilac.”
I sighed resignedly. “Yeah, they make it in green. You still like green, don’t you?” Call waiting beeped in my ear. “Look, Mom, I’ll call you later. Sheila’s beeping in.”