Mr. Lucky came in from walking the dogs and said we had a New Neighbor, a chatty woman moving into a house down the street. He didn’t even have to inquire, “Is there a Mr. New Neighbor?” She eagerly volunteered the fact that she was divorced, and he was bewildered by her alacrity in doing so.
I had a ready explanation for that. “She’s letting you know she’s available. Remember what happened the last time some woman told you she was available? It was only twenty-one years, three kids, and two mortgages ago.” He, for his part, never got around to telling Ms. New Neighbor he was already leg-shackled; he’s not one to offer his CV to every stranger he meets.
I explained how she must have assumed he’s a lonely bachelor with no one for love and companionship except two beagles. He never wears his wedding ring because he keeps losing it, so there’s no telltale tan line on his finger. The ring is safe in my jewelry box, and lest any of you scandalmongers out there think he keeps losing it because of some subconscious desire to be a bachelor again, remind me to blog someday about Mr. Lucky’s penchant for losing (or “misplacing” as he likes to sugarcoat it) anything of value. He doesn’t even own a watch for this very reason, but I digress. Ms. New Neighbor will learn the ghastly truth soon enough.
But I confess I’m just as perplexed, and even alarmed by women—like my own mother—who volunteer such personal information to strangers.
My parents divorced when I was sixteen. About a week after the divorce was final, the water heater sprang a leak, and my mother called a repairman who’d never been to the house before. This stranger had barely reached the bottom of the basement stairs when Mother—a notorious extrovert—told him she was recently divorced.
Now what in the name of Marvin Mitchelson did that have to do with the leaky water heater? I couldn’t have been more shocked than if she’d turned to me and my siblings and said, “Kids, say hello to your new stepdaddy!” (Which, thank heavens, never happened.) Even more baffling, over the previous year our parents’ divorce was The Big Secret: We weren’t allowed to say a peep about it to anyone, not even the grandparents—who I remain convinced to this day were the last people on the planet to know. And now here she was singing the whole opera to some strange man in our basement!
During that same time period, I’d just received my driver’s license and was very interested in buying a car. Scanning the classified ads, I noticed many of those placed by women included the word divorce. They had to sell the cars because they were going through a divorce. I didn’t understand—and still don’t—why any woman would include that information, unless she was also on the prowl for a new guy. Ads were sold by the word, so mentioning a divorce had to cost extra money. Maybe trumpeting her new availability while hawking the used car saved money on buying a separate ad under the personals. Still, there must be a better, safer way to meet a new Prince Charming.
Call me paranoid (it won’t be the first time), but there are lots of wackos out there, and for all Ms. New Neighbor or even my mother knew, Mr. Lucky and the water heater repairman could have been Exhibits A and B.
To his credit, Mr. Lucky didn’t come away from this encounter with the smug feeling he’s “still got it.” He said she was about my age, but he thinks I look younger and better.
Sounds like someone wants cake and ice cream for dessert!