Recently, my friend Coco observed that I am “like an Amish rebel”. I don’t know what that means exactly but I suspect that it is an accurate assessment of what I am minus a beard missing a mustache. I don’t have air conditioning. I’ve never owned a microwave. I have been without a TV since July, and this week, when I’m home, I am sitting in the dim. My fifteen-year-old Pottery Barn desk lamp, which had been showing signs of death, bought its rainbow on Saturday night. I performed the equivalent of lamp CPR and swapped out the bulb to no avail. Then, I tried plugging it into another outlet but there was no light.
On Sunday, I was meeting my friend, Lola, for tea at a place we never get into, Alice’s Tea Cup. I also wanted to set up having my lamp repaired, but I did not want to hightail over to my hardware store with my lamp. What if they couldn’t repair it? Then, I’d be stuck bringing it to the cafe. That would draw attention that would surely work against us. The hosts at Alice’s Tea Cup are gay guys with attitude who are younger than the plaque in our teeth. Add me holding a lamp, it is conceivable that this will be the time that instead of telling us the wait is two hours, we’ll be told to leave and never return. I went to my hardware store armed with an iPhone photo of my lamp, and showed it to a guy named Danny who thought they could fix it.
This affirmation prompted me to race back with my lamp. Even though I told Danny about the tests I conducted, he repeated them. Possibly this was to ensure that I am capable of screwing in a light bulb correctly and I’m able to properly insert a plug into an outlet. I reasoned:
Me: If my lamp turns on for this guy, I will feel betrayed by my appliance.
As badly as I wanted my lamp to work, I did not want to suffer the indignity of looking like an incompetent who’s incapable of turning on her own desk light. On the flip side if it did work for Danny, then I would not have to pay to have it repaired. My cheapskate side, which is most of my being, considered this.
Me: Bring on humiliation! C’mon, little lamp, turn on for Danny!
My lamp remained dead, but it can be resuscitated in a week to the tune of thirty dollars. Danny handed me my repair slip. Just as I was about to leave he said:
Danny: Oh here, take your light bulb.
I was not carrying a satchel. I had no place to put my light bulb. I did not want to stuff a glass light bulb in my pocket, envisioning an explosion inside my coat on par with the bombing of Dresden. So I trekked to one of the snottiest restaurants on the Upper West Side carrying my light bulb. Lola and I met simultaneously.
Lola: Look at you, you brought your light bulb!
We entered Alice’s Tea Cup where we encountered a hostess who was uncharacteristic i.e., pleasant. She told us that the wait was twenty-five minutes. Lola didn’t want to wait. We left, walked two blocks but couldn’t decide where to go. We returned. I was anticipating that the hostess would transform into an eight-headed hydra and tell us that because we were wishy-washy dingbats, the wait had escalated to three hours. It was reduced to fifteen minutes.
A quarter hour later we were sitting at a charming wood table in an estrogen filled room that was so deafening loud, my ears were bleeding. Lola surmised that it was like being trapped in a bird cage. If there were sixty guests, at most eight were men. The male of the species does not flock to Alice in Wonderland themed eateries dotted with loquacious females wearing fluttery angel wings.
I don’t know what all that wing wearing was about, but the tea and scones were good. I ordered a pot of potent black tea that kept me wired until 2 am.
Lola sipped a very fragrant herbal concoction that looked reminiscent of urine, but apparently it tasted considerably better than steeped bodily fluid.
I was feeling tranquil. The conversation was good. I enjoyed nibbling on my warm pumpkin scone topped with sticky sauce.
I dabbed it with whipped butter and raspberry jam. Lola screamed:
Lola: What are you doing? You can’t eat that! It’s cream!
I have severe lactose intolerance. What I thought was butter was clotted cream, a delicacy known as You’re Spending the Night Writhing in Pain in Your Bathroom in my world.
Lola: Do you have any pills? Take some pills.
I no longer eat anything that requires I pop a pill, but I had two pills that expired last October in my wallet. I swallowed them immediately. I ate such a trace amount of the offending substance I survived without suffering any side effects. But I know I dodged a bullet. Or maybe it was a light bulb.