Saturday, May 16, 2009

I stick my foot in it...

I really did, last night when we had dinner at the Book Lady's house.

But to explain what I did, I first have to explain about another book lady who I used to clean house for, and how I put my foot in it with her but managed to get it out again.

This woman had particular ideas about how she wanted her house cleaned. When I first began working for her, I did not realize this because she was never home; but her shift changed, and then she was always home for at least an hour when I first got there. And she began to watch me with an eagle's eye as I went about cleaning her house and doing the dishes. One day I was in the kitchen doing my thing. I had just finished washing the dishes and had picked up the towel to dry my hands and suddenly I hear this gasp and she comes rushing in

"NO! NO! NO!" she says and snatches away the hand towel I had just picked up.

"This towel," she says, "is only for drying the dishes. Never dry your hands on this towel. You always use this towel" and here she pointed to another towel "to dry your hands."

Today I understand that there is a logical reason for doing things this way, but at the time, I thought she was being ridiculous.

She had lots and lots of books. Shelves of books. All of her books were new from the book club or the bookstore; never a book from the used bookstore or the library. She trusted me enough to let me borrow her books. And of course I was very, very careful about not messing them up. On one such occasion, I borrowed this book.

As soon as I got it home, I took the dust jacket off and put it in safe place so it wouldn't get wrinkled, or ripped, or dirty.

I read the book. When I got ready to go back to her house 2 weeks later, I couldn't find the dust jacket. It had vanished. I was stricken with panic. I got that horrible feeling in my gut that one gets in these circumstances. She was going to hit the roof if the book came back without the dust jacket, and I was already somewhat afraid of her.

So I didn't take it back right away. Two more weeks went by, and she asked about the book. I said I had misplaced the dust jacket and as soon as I found it I would bring it home. She got a look on her face. She was not happy.

I knew I couldn't stall any longer, I would have 2 weeks, and then it would hit the fan. But, during the next 2 weeks, we went to the used-book store and there on the shelf, with a dust jacket in pristine condition, was the same exact book club edition of the book I had borrowed.

And then I got that euphoric sort of feeling that one gets in these circumstances when you realize you have been saved. Saved from disaster.

So, I did a sneaky thing. I bought the book and put that dust jacket on the book I had borrowed and took it back. She was happy. I felt like I had dodged mortar shell.

So, where was I? Oh yeah. Last night we went to dinner at the Book Lady's house and after the meal I offered to do the dishes. She has an amazing window of the kitchen sink.

I don't know why I brought this up, but I started telling her about the other book lady not using library books or used books and then I said one thing too much.... I started to tell about her rule of using a different towel to dry ones hands than the towel that is used to dry the dishes, and I took a breath and she interrupted me, bless her heart, she interrupted me before I got get myself in any deeper...

"I do that," she says.

I don't know how to explain just how embarrassed I was. But "very" is as good as any, I guess.
And she explained there is a certain logic to using two towels. The towel to dry the dishes stays dryer if you don't use it to dry your hands. Simple enough.

I am pleased to report that I did use the right towel to dry the baking dish that would not fit in the dish drainer.

1 comment:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh goodness me Leilani Lee - what convoluted situations develop from such small beginnings. How lucky you found the book jacket - just hope your germaphobe lady doesn't read blogs! Am back from holiday - it is lovely to be reading blogs again.