First, I spilled water over the entire table at lunch. Second, I caught my (cheap but beloved Target) leather jacket on a random nail on a telephone pole and ripped my sleeve as I walked by it. Third, the early evening took a turn even I wasn’t anticipating. Work bled into life outside the office. I offered my opinion at a time when I normally wouldn’t. I was more involved with work politics than I intended, wanted, or cared to be.
And then, of all things, the Governor of Boston was having a meeting at the local bar where we attend trivia every Tuesday evening. We couldn’t get into the bar, but we could see the Governor leaving, and, like all politicians, in person, he was 1,000,00% more charismatic than he appeared on TV.
Because of all that, the Trivia game started later than usual, so I stepped out in the third quarter to call Maga. We chatted while my team fought to stay alive. There was bridge work and crazy loud machinery, but she could, of course, hear me without any problems. (Minus me wishing I could be inside “helping” my team.) (Yet she can’t always hear me in my quiet apartment?) We chatted about the usuals and I promised to call her back within an hour as she claimed I wouldn’t be interrupting her bedtime routine or anything.
“So how’d your game end up?” Maga asked when I called back for round two.
“We were second place. $20.”
“Oh, you can put that towards the car you’ll buy.”
I snickered, but collected myself, “Well, it’s actually $20 to split between the team of five players, so it went towards the appetizers.”
“Well, I’m glad you got home safely and well.”
I couldn’t fault her logic. As a single female, there are a couple of friends I have a code with to indicate when we’ve gotten home safely, so it was delightful to add her to the list of people who care when I’ve reached home.
I turned the subject towards her because she’s the one who’s lived 97 years and has way more interesting stories. Plus, she’s the one who went to undergrad here in the greater Boston area. She knows a lot. But due to either the time of night (11pm here, 9pm her time) or the number of years she’s lived (97), she quickly deflected the question…”It’s been so long since I’ve been at Wellesley, I’m sorry I can’t tell you completely.”
I know my probing question hit a nerve for Maga, but weirdly, her deflection felt wildly familiar, because, you know, I didn’t particularly want to talk about anything other than the weather or how my trivia team did. I know this isn’t the way people get to know each other, but then again, when one half of the party is 97 year old, sometimes all you’re left with are the tidbits and ripped patches of a cheap Target jacket…