Friday, October 28, 2005

The Old Lady In The Shoe


I was pleasantly reminded yesterday how stange and wonderous the Universe really is. No matter what you believe in as far as God, Universe, Allah, or Buddha or something else it doesn't matter, sometimes there are just little things in life that make you turn your head and say...hum. Well, how do you like them apples?

The story of Mrs. Shoe creates one of these instances in life for me. It makes me understand a little more about the power of irony and coincidences...there aren't any coincindences.

Here's a little history about Mrs. Shoe to set the stage. Mrs. Shoe lives next door to me. I call her Mrs. Shoe not because she is a Jimmy Choo wearing goddess. No, more of the old lady in the shoe who had so many children she didn't know what to do fame. Mr. and Mrs. Shoe have lived next door for ten years. In the last 12 years of Mrs. Shoe's life she had successfully pumped out 6 little slippers. My husband is one of 5 children (4 boys and a girl) and we used to joke that he had moved next door to his parents, 25 years ago. She is a veritable mini-shoe factory, living next door to the barren dessert where shoes aren't thought of naturally. Rather, they are imported from China. All of the kids in her Shoe run amuk...in my yard, in my garage, in the street but that is not the point to this story.

Mrs. Shoe is somewhat neurotic. Ok, she has 6 kids dashing about, who wouldn't be slightly looney in that situation? I mean she's really certifiable. She is incapable of listening to another adult for more than about 6 seconds before she opens up and starts spewing off who knows what about her life, kids, horrid husband (her term, not mine) or her holier than thou church. Mrs. Shoe is somewhat fanatical about her beliefs in her church. Which was fine with me, until she felt the need to try to "save me" from the hedonistic existence of my rather laid back approach to church attendance and non-literal intrepretation of the good book(s). I would say as fanantical as Mrs. Shoe is about getting her butt to confession, I am just as fanatical about NOT BEING FANATICAL.

Back in the old days when I held employment outside of Chez Ava Mrs. Shoe would sometimes stalk my mailbox waiting for me to drive home from my Big Blue corporation. At first I felt a little sympathy, she was after all a stay at home mom with at that time 3-4 kids. She had a husband who was pretty much non-existent except for chow time and obviously at times when another little slipper was in the making. Besides, she only had a bunch of church ladies to whoop it up with. It was when I was speaking with Mrs. Shoe on those nights that the trouble started. I would attempt to talk about Big Blue things, she would return with diaper talk. Yuck. She constantly asked me when main muffin man and I would settle down and make our life just like hers. Gag. I started to travel a lot with Big Blue. Time went by and as she pumped out another kid, we struggled for just one. I mean really struggled, a lot of wasted effort and tears on my part beating my head against a wall trying to have a baby. She offered that maybe I just needed to attend her church and do some praying so that we would be granted a child. (I tried to hide my furious deviant thoughts.)

It was on one of those dark days that I walked outside for the mail. Mrs. Shoe saw me and also headed for the mailbox too. She asked me where I'd been. Working and traveling out of the country I explained. She asked me where. I told her 3 weeks in Australia. (It was fabulous, by the way.) Then she said IT. Something I will never forget for the rest of my life. I was mean spirited in a way I hadn't thought possible for grown adult neighbors.

She explained to me that God gives us all gifts. Some people are good at some things and some people are not so good at some things. Duh? Yes, she told me that apparently I was good at work. She was good at having a family and surrounding herself with the children who love her. Maybe I should just be happy with that, since it seemed that I was good at work but not the other. See what I mean? A) she's just that dumb or B) she could be the lowest scoring human being to ever take the Emotional Quotient (EQ) test or C) all of the above. You vote.

That was the beginning of operation bear down the hatches...the neighbors are OUT. Things are much better several years later. We have a non-verbal understanding with the Shoes. Pleasant 2 sentence or less conversation and no more than once a month.

About 6 months ago Mrs. Shoe stopped by for her 2 sentences. Main Muffin Man and I locked glances the minute she left. He said, she's done it again...bun in the oven. Surely not, I said #6, no way. He said, yup I know it. He was right, in the next 2 sentence conversation he had with her a few months later she stated how everyone one of those little mini Shoes was praying for a baby girl this time. She couldn't possibly be having another boy, she stated. On and on about how there would be no bedroom space for another boy in the house. We have contemplated leaving secret Century 21 business cards on the door step. Big houses, go north.

I learned yesterday that Mrs. Shoe had a healthy baby boy last week. My darling little girl, who hasn't quite mastered the art of social finesse yet, piped right up and told Mrs. Shoe and her brood that she was getting a baby too. A baby sister!

It took everything I had not to start rolling around on the front lawn, laughing until I cried. I could have kissed my little tactless wonder! I laughed all the way home. Ava laughed too, but in that way that little kids laugh when you laugh and they have no idea what the joke was.

I'm at a place in my life now where I am happy for the Shoe's. A healthy baby, what a gift. I hope they see it that way too.

Oh and back to the universe and it's irony.

Imagine an old lady in a shoe with so many boys she didn't know what to do.

She lives next door to a little girl from a far off place, where for little girls there often isn't enough space.

Oh, there's plenty of room here, come home, rest and live happily my dear.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

what a priceless story! I love that fact that you had the last laugh! I truly believe that for most of the people on this planet-tact- just isn't in their vocabulary.
Made me smile-
Thanks
Jenny
www.sophiashope.com