The Very Charitable Mrs. Wertheimer – 31 through 35

Rx: To be read after 1 through 5, 6 through 10, 11 through 15, 16 through 20, 21 through 25, and 26 through 30.
31
Despite Bettina’s lack of a proper manicure, Mrs. Wertheimer grew to love Bettina as if she were a member of her family. She even defended that sentiment when, during an alcohol-drenched lunch, it stumbled from her lips onto the starched white tablecloth, where it was met with smirks and raised eyebrows (these were the days before Botox) by the three other ladies. What did Kiki Owen know, anyway? That woman went through housekeepers like they were cabana boys.
She loved Bettina more, though, when Bettina made good use of the salon gift certificate Mrs. Wertheimer presented to her at Christmas.
32
Mrs. Wertheimer’s lips form themselves into the closest approximation of a smile possible, given that, what with her hand grasping this filthy pole, the last thing she wants to do is smile. She directs this fabricated smile toward the bearer of the stumpy hand, on whose overly made-up face is an expression that would make a catatonic’s look positively jubilant.
Mrs. Wertheimer wants the person attached to the hand to acknowledge her apparent lack of aversion to this unwanted but necessary sharing of the pole. She wants the woman to reward her with a smile of appreciation for her charitability.
33
A smile from the other woman is not forthcoming, either immediately or for the next minute or so that Mrs. Wertheimer allots for it, so Mrs. Wertheimer removes the smile from her own face and replaces it with what she thinks is an approximation of everyone else’s expression. She finds it’s easy to affect this blend of boredom and weariness. And then recognizes it as the same expression she wears at home every morning when Charles drones on at the breakfast table.
Mrs. Wertheimer’s hand remains touching the other woman’s hand, even though there is now room to move it.
34
The subway comes to a stop at Times Square. As the bulk of the crowd extrudes its way out and onto the platform, a wad of new flesh replaces it. Despite a fair amount of unnecessary (and quite rude) jostling, Mrs. Wertheimer does not surrender her position at the pole. Her right hand retains its grip above the other woman’s right hand.
“Move it,” a surly thug says to the other woman as he crams his way behind her in his rush toward an empty seat. The woman ignores him, and is shoved forward, into Mrs. Wertheimer, as he passes.
35
The force of the woman’s body causes Mrs. Wertheimer to stumble backward a step.
“‘Scuse me,” she mumbles to Mrs. Wertheimer.
Mrs. Werthimer almost loses her grip on the pole, but is kept from falling backward by another body just behind hers. This body is as solid as a wall and does not suffer from the impact.
“Oh! So sorry,” she says over her right shoulder. “Excuse me.”
“No problem,” the body says. Its voice is deep and smooth and inexplicably reminds Mrs. Wertheimer of devil’s food cake with thick, rich frosting.
She turns back to face the other woman.

0 thoughts on “The Very Charitable Mrs. Wertheimer – 31 through 35

  1. I was told by someone who placed their laptop on top of a domed trash can (because there was no place to sit down to check their email) that they “tried everything (they) could to catch the computer, but it wouldn’t stop until it broke on the floor.”
    I had no idea the laptop was THAT determined? Were there any warning signs? Was it depressed, then suddenly cheerful? Did it give way most of it’s perephrials in the weeks prior to? Was there a note left behind?
    There will be a closed casket service. Donations should be sent to the Don Rickles Syndrome foundation, you Hockey-Puck.

  2. I only wish there had been something LOLworthy at work yesterday or today. Although, after one interaction with a co-worker, I thought to myself, “If Betty White is sick of your shit, what makes you think I’m any different?” Which made me smile a little, because I was picturing Betty walking in with a gun and, well, making my day easier.

  3. I’m absolutely in love with my sexagenarian French professor. Each class he makes the most hilarious jokes – sometimes in English, often in French, but always with incredible joie de vivre. Sadly, only a few of the students in my class seem to understand his sense of humour.
    Today, for example, the word for ‘parking ticket’ popped up in the dialogue we were reading – ‘une contravention’ – and so he decided to impart to us an interesting bit of French culture information.
    “In French,” he said, “sometimes we use a lovely little metaphor to describe a parking ticket. We call it ‘un papillon’ because when it is placed under the windshield wiper of your car, it looks like a butterfly.” He even drew a little diagram on the chalkboard to illustrate this.
    And then in his darling Parisian accent he said, “But this metaphor is interesting because I don’t think you would be in a very poetic state of mind if you got un papillon, now would you?”
    LOL! Professeur Bodolec, comment je t’adore!

  4. The day was rather LOL-less. In fact, I spent most of it thinking that I’d like to stab various people with steak knives. But there was one point at lunch when Jay remembered a college speech class from 1996.
    The class was given an assignment to read something into a recorder to improve their speaking voices. Most people read things like the front page of the newspaper, a page of a textbook, the class syllabus. But then one girl stood up. She had curly red hair (like “Annie”); giant glasses; a sleeveless, down-stuffed ski jacket zipped all the way to her chin; and moon boots (that her jeans were tucked into). She had a voice as soothing as Martina Navratilova’s. And she proceeded to read a poem she wrote, called Touch Me, Boy (Yeah, You Know How).

  5. It’s a toss up between “you need more batteries” and “I think somebody’s gonna get close to vomiting”. Totally unrelated comments, thankfully.

  6. My boyfriend forwarded this email to me that he received from human resources:
    “We will be changing ALL plants within the building over the next few weeks. We will attempt to make this a smooth transition however you may be without a plant for a few weeks so please be patient.”
    I hope he survives the wait.

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