Text I received from Jay about an hour ago: “You stole my shoe.”
Apparently, he is packing to evacuate because Hurricane Irene is headed straight for Berwyn and he doesn’t want his monster truck to be damaged.
I waited a moment, thought about that, considered not answering, then replied, cautiously: “When?”
Seconds passed and “I hate you.” popped onto my Blackberry screen.
I’ve opted not to respond to that. What good could come from it? I’m sure he does hate me. And he’s opted not to elaborate. So far.
And some of you may find my response to him a little odd (“When?”), but that’s only because you weren’t there for The Great Shoe Meltdown Part I (I guess, because who could have imagined that there was going to be a Part II to a shoe meltdown a month after we’d moved out and left him, shoes and all).
I really don’t know what got into me in June, when, one morning as I was leaving for work, I grabbed one of Jay’s dress shoes and tossed it into the giant Louis Vuitton Bag of Doom I lug around with me everywhere and took it to work. In fact, the shoe lived in there for 3 or 4 days before I got so tired of the bag being so ungodly heavy one morning that, while cleaning it out in my office, I tossed it into my desk drawer and promptly forgot it was sitting there amongst hanging file folders full of outdated forms and stuff I never look at.
Help! Help! Please take me back to my sole mate!
Weeks later, the snazzy-dresser from the registrar’s suite (sorry, it’s only been 18 months; I don’t know her name, but she’s always totally made up and perfectly coiffed and dressed really nicely andin heels) popped into my office to ask for an inter-office envelope (which are in short-supply there for some reason). I opened the drawer, grabbed one and handed it to her.
“Is that a man’s shoe?” she asked, looking at me with a puzzled expression and staring straight at the offending footwear.
“NO, there is NOT a man’s shoe in my desk drawer!”
I looked at the shoe, then back at her, then back at the shoe, paused, probably a moment longer than I should have, and replied, “No!” as I slammed the drawer shut.
The snazzy dresser went back to her equally snazzy office (note to IU: put us in a nicer office and we will dress to complement it), and I re-opened the desk drawer and contemplated the shoe. It was July. By then, the Father’s Day Fiasco was history, the Battle of the 4th had been fought and won, and I was actively looking for a new home. I closed the drawer.
I asked Vicki, the most uber-officemate anyone could ask for if you have to share an office, if I should bring the shoe home. She thought it was hysterically funny that I had his shoe in my desk. ’nuff said then. The shoe stayed.
The evening of July 7 had started out pleasantly enough, but it quickly turned, um, uncomfortable and really, really funny (for me, at least), when Jay announced that he had to go to federal court in Harrisburg to be sworn in to the bar there. With two of the partners in his firm. At 8:30 the next morning. It was 9:00PM at that point. No chance to rescue the shoe.
Jay began rummaging through his closet, looking for a white dress shirt to iron. In his OCDness, he always, always, always wears a plain dark suit with a plain white shirt and a solid colored tie and his black dress shoes to court and depositions. Always. Always. He cannot deviate from this. Or the earth will fall off its axis. Or the zombie apocalypse will start. Or the Lynchburg hillbillies will need to move in with him or he with them (aka his parents, whom he is allowing his single-mother cousin to support with no help from him, which is a whole other oddball story the crux of which is that he, too, owes poor Sharon a giant wad of cash he is not paying her because he’s buying expensive toys and German Shepherds and paying $400 a month for 10 million cable channels, and thus, he avoids her, along with his parents, and so going back there would likely be worse than being eaten by an angry zombie). One of those things. Or something worse, maybe. And, of course, he could not find a white shirt. More on this after the intermission.
I texted a friend: “OMG. Jay has to go to federal court tomorrow morning. I have one of his dress shoes in my desk and he has no white shirts!”
Friend: “WTF? Why is his shoe in your desk? Where are his shirts? And he only has one pair of shoes? Wait! Are you drunk?”
Me: “I put it there, I gave his shirts away last week, and yes to both.”
The irony of an attorney, working at 15th and Walnut, only owning one pair of dress shoes and two white dress shirts, should not be lost here. In fact, the irony of a grown man only owning 3 pairs of shoes total, should not be lost on you. On a typical work day, he wears cheap dockers, Doc Marten boots with calf-high white socks, a faux-oxford shirt, open at the neck so that his undershirt shows and no tie. On “court” or “dep” days, he suits up with the white shirt, solid colored tie and the black dress shoes. The rest of the time, it’s shorts and sneakers. This is his uniform; it cannot be altered. See above about the portent of doom involved in deviating from this routine.
Friend: “Put it on youtube when he goes crazy looking for the stuff tomorrow morning. It will be an instant sensation. We can be on the news. BTW, why didn’t you just throw the shoe out?”
Me: “I thought it would be funnier to have it reappear in some odd place after he lost it. Like he was losing his mind or something.”
Friend: “THAT is fucking AWESOME. He doesn’t have much of a mind to lose. You so have to put it on youtube.”
Me: “I will try.”
Friend: “Be careful not to get his face in the video or he could sue us.”
Me: “Roger that. No face while he flips out because his shirts and his shoe are missing.”
Meanwhile, he came up short in his search for his white shirts. I kept quiet and continued to text while regularly visiting the fridge to make sure that the spigot on my box of wine was clear and able to dispense liquid. No clogs. I accomplished this by drinking copiously.
“Where are my white shirts?” he asked me, truly baffled and looking sad.
“I don’t know,” I responded, shrugging helplessly. “I haven’t seen them around. When was the last time you wore one?”
I mean, technically, I had and still have no idea where they are. I kind of remember, almost immediately after the Battle of the 4th, a conversation wherein I asked if he wanted me to take his white shirts to the dry cleaner and he responded with something like “that would be nice of you for a change” and I interpreted it to mean that he wanted me to show him more good will and so I took them and dropped them off at the Goodwill Donation Center across the street.
“You don’t even care!” he kind of shrieked, like I should care and was doing something wrong by notcaring. “You’re drunk!”
“I don’t care, and I may be drunk, but the two are entirely unrelated. I wouldn’t care even if I hadn’t been drinking since before you got home.”
Apparently, it was the wrong thing to say at that moment, because it made him really mad, and he stormed off into the bowels of his closet muttering something about “all women are the same” which made me think that at least one woman in his past must have hidden and/or donated special items from his wardrobe and he was used to this treatment. So I felt justified and vindicated as I poured another glass of wine and followed him into the bedroom.
I sat cross-legged on the bed sipping my wine and nibbling stale corn chips while I observed his frantic search for his shirts with some curiosity and without any guilt whatsoever. Then I tried to feign interest in his swearing-in ceremony by asking inane questions, but when it became obvious that it did not involve a sword, the bestowing of a royal title or membership in a secret society that would bring (me) wealth and power, I totally lost all interest and went to bed.
I slept through most the drama that ensued 7 hours later, but suffice it to say he had a very, very bad morning. I vaguely remember a lot of swearing about a missing shoe, more swearing about having to wear a blue shirt and then Baldrick bit his leg when he tried to get him to stop eating a magnet. A whole lot more swearing followed that, and he kicked the dog, which made him (the dog) start barking and growling (Jay just kept cursing). I think he put on his suit with the shirt and tie that don’t match and with his sneakers and white socks to go be initiated into the federal court’s secret society in middle Pennsylvania. Anyway, there was a lot of crashing in the living room and kitchen and then the front door slammed. I’m sure I’m missing some funny stuff, but that was his morning in a nutshell. It was 5:30AM. What can I say? I was barely awake and too hungover to figure out how the video function worked on the phone to surreptiously record the whole thing and upload it to youtube. And for that he should be GRATEFUL and feel LUCKY. But nooooo, he hatesme.
And then his morning got worse because his bosses actually expected him to hit the office after the initiation which ended at 8:45. So he had to go to work looking like a lawyer-jester. And he acted like it was all my fault. Again. Like I was the one who ruined his plans to come home, go to the gym and watch re-runs of True Blood all damned day. Nay, nay, Jay…that was Tom and George and Bob. Not me.
A few days later, I hid the shoe under an electric fireplace in our bedroom and “helped” him find it while we were looking for something else. He was overjoyed. I drank more wine. Whatever. When people reach a certain level of stupid, it’s not even fun to mess with them.
And now, six weeks later, he hates me because I stole his shoe. When I moved, I took the bed. I took the grill. I took some DVDs, and I took our cat. But I swear, this time, he lost his shoe on his own. I don’t have it. And if he’s poorly dressed to meet Hurricane Irene, it’s not my fault.