This brought to mind a phone call from one of my dear but wacko friends a while back. She left a message on my answering machine: Sorry I missed you but maybe you’re not back yet from Mexico. Hope you are having a good time in San Miguel Allende. I thought to myself: Did I forget to go to Mexico the way some folks forget to have children? Maybe I should hop a flight and look for the expat community.
When she reached me, she apologized saying she was thinking of somebody else who went to Hawaii. This is the way it works with octogenarians. I told her I couldn’t make it to Mexico but I’d been drinking margaritas to make up for it. I was glad not to have gone to Hawaii since I have a profound dislike for all things coconut.
She said she was sorry to hear about my allergy to peanuts. I was also sorry to hear about it since I’d just had some peanut sauce with Chinese food. Was my body beginning to itch all over or was that a reaction from the coconuts I didn’t eat by not going to Hawaii? At least I didn’t have jet lag.
I thanked her for saving me a visit to the dermatologist as well as an intestinal disorder from suspicious lettuce where I might have perished from dehydration in an emergency room, an unclaimed body with a tag on my toe.
We need friends like this in our twilight years to check up on us as our diminishing memory turns into galloping senility and other childhood diseases. The phone is ringing again. This time from a friend who started telling me about the time he set fire to the shower curtains while his mother was taking a bath. He was seven and apparently a very curious boy. I didn’t ask when he was weaned from the breast. It was 1934 and times were tough. I’m sure this is not why he called but I forgave him his trespasses. How we segued to this defining moment neither of us could recall. That’s how life works. The chronology turns to mush. How
I ever got to eighty-nine when just yesterday I was eleven can only be explained by missing a plane to Mexico because of the skin rash I didn’t get from not eating Chinese food in the bathtub with burned coconuts or was it caramelized walnuts? Back to a Trump-like substance prevailing causing millions of Americans to learn Canadian as a second language or a mass exodus to Portugal or Slovenia. The prospect of proto-fascism looms large but I plan on living out my shelf-life blabbering in blissful incoherence.