Saturday, March 22

What's this now?

I was doing some tidying up down at The Tranquility Center the other week. I don't like to brag about it, but I enjoy doing some volunteer work now and then and TTC is always looking for someone to answer phones or re-arrange chairs or simply find a way to get the chaos of a community center into some kind of order.

As I was planning what to organize next, a woman near me said, “Hand me that thingamajig.”

I looked around at the dozens of items that could qualify as a thingamajig, but couldn't quite figure out what she wanted. “Which thingamajig was that?” I asked.

She waved a finger in my general direction and said, “Over there. That whatchamacallit.”

It seemed that there were even more whatchamacallits around than there were thingamajigs so I asked again, “Can you be more specific?”

“What are you, a lawyer?” she snorted. “Right there. That gizmo next to the whatsit.”

Again, I was lost so I said, as slowly and as patiently as I could, “What-exactly-do-you want-me-to-hand-you?”

She paused a moment and then said, equally as slowly and just as patiently, “I-want-you-to-hand-me-that-doohickey.”

Sensing the possibility of non-tranquility Pastor Carl, the Center's administrator, came over. “What's going on? Is there a problem.”

“Yes,” I said sharply. “That woman...”.

“She has a name, James, just like you and me,” he instructed.

"Sister Shelly," she said, belligerently.

“Right. Sister Shelly. Well, Pastor Carl, Sister Shelly wants me to hand her a doomakajig or something, and she won't BE SPECIFIC ABOUT IT!”

“We try not to raise our voices at The Tranquility Center, James,” Pastor Carl reminded me.

“Of course.” I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I would have called it a cleansing breath, except for the fact that I was shaking slightly and I believe my eyes were protruding.

“That's better," said Pastor Carl using his most Tranquility Centered tone. "Now, Sister Shelly, what is it that you wanted James to hand you?”

“As I said before, I need that thingamajig.”

Ha! I thought. What now, Pastor Carl? What now?

Pastor Carl paused a moment then asked,“You mean the double-sided adhesive transfer tape dispenser that accommodates both 1/2 and 3/4 inch media?"

Sister Shelly sent forth a beatific smile and said, "Yes. That's it." Pastor Carl picked it up and handed it to her and she happily set off toward some cardboard boxes.

"You know, that didn't really look like a thingamajig," I said to Pastor Carl. "To me it looked more like a doodad."

"I suppose it could have been a doodad," he said in that annoyingly accepting way that he has.

"Still, I guess you did me a favor, Pastor," I added.

"And what do we say when someone does us a favor, James?" he asked expectantly.

"I don't know. Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo?"

1 comment:

D. McEwan said...

This is an actual line of dialogue in my play Rebel Without a Clue. It a housewife speaking to her husband when they are carrying in boxes of stuff as they move into a new home: "Frank! This can't go in here with that! These are trinkets! Those are knicknacks! Honestly, don't you have any sense at all? If the knicknacks are in here, the trinkets must go in the rumpus room!"

My mother lives on in my fictions.