Last night, I was on the way to a Leftovers Party at a friend's house (what a freakin' brilliant idea!)... Walking distance, so I could drink as much as I wanted and crawl home if necessary. Awesome, right?
I'm walking along with my container of mac and cheese, a container of smoked salmon spread, and a box of water biscuits... texting with a college chum who had asked for my mac recipe and was quizzing me about making collard greens (because it makes perfect sense to ask the WASPiest and Yankiest and Britishest of your friends how to do these specific things). Anyway...
I make my way to the big yellow brick house on the left and ring the doorbell, which is duly answered by a woman I've never seen before. This doesn't surprise me a bit. It's a party. Party Rules - the person closest to the door answers, whether that person is the host/ess or not. Right?
Me: Hey. I'm Jen. Sorry I'm a bit late.
Woman Who Answered Door: Umm. Hi. John... Jen's here.
Enter John, holding an antique phone receiver. Like this one:
|Western Electric 302, Metal with Bakelite Handset.|
John: Umm. Hi. Are you here for a pick-up?
Me: (Puzzled look.) Umm... no? (Internal monologue: But maybe I'm hoping someone will try to pick me up at this party. It's possible that that's why I'm wearing kinda tight jeans and my new Chatham College t-shirt that kinda maybe emphasizes "the twins" just a little bit. But I don't think that's what you mean. Even at all.) This is Nita's house, right?
John: Umm. No. Are you a new babysitter? Because we're always trying to find a reliable sitter.
Me: Umm. No. But I love you for thinking I might be a teenager or an undergrad. I'm looking for my friend's house. For a party.
Mrs. John (who answered the door): Of course you are. You have water biscuits. Babysitters don't randomly show up with water biscuits. That would be weird. But... do you babysit?
Me: Umm... wait. This is why I shouldn't text and walk. I think I turned on the wrong street. But that's a really cool receiver. I love antique phones.
John: Well, then, you need to see this.
Opens pocket doors to gigantic living room... FULL OF PHONES. Hundreds of them.
Me: Oh. My. God. This is so cool.
John: Do you have an old phone?
Me: I got one for cheap on eBay once, but I never got it working. (Starting to worry that this might work like stamp collecting and I might have to hear the differences between every single phone in the room).
John: Well, drop it by. I run old-phones-dot-com.
Me: I think I lost it in the divorce. Or threw it away. Or something. But if I ever get a landline again, I know where I'm getting my phone.
Alas, I did not get picked up at the Leftovers Party. No breakfast pastries involved. I did, however, have a great time at said soirée. And someone thought I was an undergrad looking for her babysitting gig. Which means that there's hope for me to get picked up at some other party. Or bar. Or street corner. Maybe by a younger man. Which would make sense, since my alma mater's mascot is, and I swear I'm not even kidding...
(Rachel) Carson the Cougar.