Micki is another of my dear friends. She is sensible, successful, well-informed and does not suffer fools easily. No one can quite understand our friendship. Her youngest child is 6’4” a wide receiver on the football team and a sophomore in high school, so any patience she had for extended conversations about children, childhood, cleaning products or managing household help ran out a few years ago.
Micki calls me in an outrage to tell me of a charity dinner in support of the homeless she attended the previous evening. The honoree was a young woman of some consequence. Micki could tell she was super important by the way the men genuflected in her presence. Men that normally have debilitating conversational ADD were gripped with an overpowering interest in her detailed explanation of exactly why she chose the grade school she did for her first child (even though they had “plenty of choices”). They laughed uproariously at the antics of the second child (imagine a two year old being clever enough to demand a diaper to poo in instead of the toilet…even though he’s able to do it in the toilet…obviously!) Micki, hearing all the hilarity from across the room, sidles up to join in the fun. She gleefully interrupts The Oracle’s explanation of how through foresight and sheer skill he avoided ANY repercussions of the economic meltdown (they are not huge fans of each other) to ask what in particular the young woman did to be honored. “Well…” (she assumes a demure eyes down-cast modest stance) but before she can reluctantly relay all the giving that has gone on she is called to the stage. She apologizes and modestly slinks away as if to say this is all so embarrassing and she would rather just do then have to go through all the rigmarole of being honored. Standing behind the podium she magnanimously thanks everyone who has helped her on her 4 year odyssey (how long she’s been doing what she does). “And you know” (she pauses, closes her eyes, swallows and dips her head which shows what she is about to say next is very important) “I actually understand how it feels to be homeless.” The silence in the room is suddenly deafening. “When I had my second child, I, along with my husband and first child, lived in a two bedroom apartment.….it was….(swallow) well…. it was tight. The baby nurse slept on the sofa until we found our new home! I vowed then to do all in my power to prevent other mothers from going through what I did.” Any sense that all might not be right hydroplaned off her super-confident surface as she tripped lightly down the stairs of the stage waving happily to the audience.
Micki, stunned, turns to the quiet pale man next to her and
says, “What the hell? Unbelievable,
huh?” The man, who Micki realizes is the
young woman’s husband, says, “I know, and it’s not true…it was actually me who
had to sleep on the couch.”