Weekend Wanderer: Dressed for Success — with Rope and Ribbon


I didn’t want to speak with a stranger in my gynecologist’s waiting room. But adventure follows me wherever I go. So yes. I spoke with a stranger in my gynecologist’s waiting room.

I was minding my own business. I really was. I sat down next to a charging station. I plugged in my phone. I opened my book. My intentions couldn’t have been clearer if I had a “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging from my nose.

But when a lady sat next to me in a largely empty waiting room, I knew what was coming. Conversation. Bizarre conversation. I would consider myself lucky if I escaped without holding her hand during her exam.

She asked me if I knew where she could charge her phone. Realizing I had an opportunity to escape, I offered her my charging station. This would, after all, necessitate my changing seats.

Except she moved with me. She plugged in her phone. Then she left it there. She moved with me.

I interrupted our conversation for a bogus bathroom trip. I chose a new seat upon my return.

She followed me again.

When my name was finally called, I was certain I’d recline on the exam table only to find my waiting room compatriot reclined next to me.

I share this story because the wedding I attended two weeks ago was just as adventurous as that trip to the gynecologist. Just, you know, with less nudity.

I was tasked with bringing my parents. They are the family matriarch and patriarch. My parents’ presence at family events is everything.

They’re 84 and 78 years old. Soon, having them attend family events will mean having those events in a cemetery.

If we can find one with a pool and a bar, I’m in.

A misty rain fell from the sky as I pulled up in front of my waiting parents. Although the groom had specified the dress was casual — he wore jeans to the ceremony — my dad sported a tuxedo.

My dad’s shoes were untied and his cuff links sat in my mom’s purse. He held his cummerbund in his hand.

I fixed two of those problems. The cuff links could wait. We were already running late thanks to my mom’s initial refusal to attend. Driving in the rain is dangerous, you know. Nobody should drive in the rain.

“Slow down!” she yelled when I, Top Gun need-for-speed-like, inched the speedometer over thirty miles per hour.

The wedding was street parking only. The groom had assured me one of my cousins was saving me a spot in front of the venue.

Not so much.

I parked illegally just long enough to help my parents from the car. Two of my cousins risked death-by-rain to escort them into the venue while I found parking that wouldn’t cost me $300 in towing fees.

I slipped into the venue. My parents occupied a table filled with my cousins.

They had not saved me a seat.

Happily, another table of cousins did save me a seat. Now, if you’re keeping track, you’re wondering just how many cousins I have.

More than I can fit in a breadbox.

I have some I’ve never met. Some who don’t know I exist. Probably more coming. My mom told me the men in my dad’s family like their sex.

“Never say those words to me again,” I told her.

I was helping my dad with his cuff links when I became aware of a more pressing problem.

My dad needed suspenders.

Where would I get suspenders in the middle of a wedding?

My dad suggested the venue staff might have some rope I could fashion into suspenders.

Over 24 percent of people my age are caregivers according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting asked to do funky things like fashion suspenders from a rope — much like having strangers talk to me wherever I go — is the norm.

My parents have asked me to secure a helicopter to transfer their friend between hospitals. I’ve been texted a picture of my uncle’s bare bottom along with the message, “Does this look normal?” And, the day before this wedding, my mom told me I had to rub lotion on my dad.

“Never say those words to me again,” I told her.

Making rope suspenders isn’t the most outlandish thing I’ve been asked to do, so I grabbed a waiter.

Neither of us spoke the other’s language. He brought me four inches of ribbon.

I grabbed — yes — another cousin. He was wearing suspenders. He happily doffed them for my dad.

I extracted my dad from his tuxedo coat. That was how I found the tuxedo’s suspenders hanging from my dad’s pants pocket.

I secured the suspenders and settled my dad in his seat. My attention was on the glass of wine poured for me by — you guessed it — a cousin.

 “I’m ready to leave,” my dad said.

I reversed the procedure I had performed not two hours before — car to curb, cousins escorting parents, parents in car.

“You know,” my dad said, “they probably got married because they wanted to have sex.”

“Never say those words to me again,” I replied.

And on second thought, my gynecology office stalker wasn’t so bad.

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