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Friday, May 9, 2014

Wherein I Place a Phone Call

I have to call someone I know will appreciate this.


“Herrow,” she says.

I am hurrying from work, heading toward the bus stop, heels clicking on the marble, yoga bag bouncing.   I have stuffed my lunch bag into my purse, and I adjust it as it slips off my shoulder.  “I just witnessed something that, if I could reach it right now, would leave me scratching my head.”

“Oooooh,” Mary says mildly.  “Tell me.”

I push through the front doors, merge into the foot traffic on the sidewalk.  The concrete is wet, the skies a dark, murky soup.  “Well,” I say, “you know the little conversation areas set up in the lobby of the City Center?”

“I am,” Mary says, “going to have to take your word for it.”

“Do,” I say.  “I will never lie to you.”

“Good to know,” she says.

I am at the lights, waiting to cross the street.  A woman with bright purple hair smiles at me, and I smile back.

“I’m leaving the elevator bank, passing this leather couch over there, and there’s this guy sitting there, right?  Good-looking guy, bright blue tee-shirt, and he’s got his cell phone out, and you know what he’s doing?”

“Oh, Holy Hannah,” Mary intones.

I cross the street.  Just ahead, my bus is third in line.

I move the phone from one ear to the other.  “He’s taking a picture of his armpit.”

Mary chokes, then laughs, the sound of drunken elves ransacking an unlocked car.  “He’s what?”

“The guy is taking a picture of his armpit!”  Standing in line for the bus now, the woman in front of me turns around, narrows her eyes at me.  Did I just say what she thought I said?

“That’s right,” I say.  “He’s got his arm up, the sleeve pulled aside, and he’s taking a picture of his armpit, right there in the lobby.  He sees me see him, gets this super weird look on his face.  I don’t know what to say, what kind of expression to have on my face, nothing.”

I wave my bus pass in front of the doohickey and move to the back. 

“So what did you do?”

“What could I do?  I looked away.”

“Very Minnesotan,” Mary nods.

“Mmm,” I say.  I sit down, adjust my purse and bag on my lap.  “So is it?”

“What,” Mary says, “a thing?  Are you asking me if taking a selfie of your armpit is a thing now?”

“Right,” I say.  “That’s my question to you.”

“Well,” Mary says, chuckling, “since Madonna took a picture of her armpit at the end of March, I believe it’s trending.”  And with that, Mary starts to laugh. A woman known to go weak in the knees and fall over in the throes of enjoyment, I listen for what is sure to come next, and I am not disappointed.

There is the sound of her falling off her chair.

“Oh, God,” she says, between breaths.  I picture her laying on her back in the center of her kitchen floor.   “Oh, God.  It’s trending, Pearl.  I’m pretty sure this armpit thing is” – there is a muffled sound, possibly of Mary wiping the tears from her eyes – “this whole thing is trending.”

I start to laugh as well.  Mary and I, raised in a time where recalcitrant cassette tapes were rewound with the eraser-ends of pencils and in a world were potpourri was pronounced "pot purry", do enjoy these modern times.

I look around suddenly, realizing that I'm the woman on the bus talking about someone else having taken a picture of their armpit.

“You know -- and say -- the weirdest things,” I say.  “I gotta go.  I’ll talk to you later.”

“Hey,” Mary says, grinning.  “Hey.”


“Don’t send me any pictures tonight.” 

“I won’t.”


Almost Precious said...

Oh Lord, I hope it's not trending. But I suppose there could be worse body parts to take selfies of . . . God help us.

Should Fish More said...

All the more reason not to leave my house today.

Shelly said...

I'm not talented at taking selfies and I have ended up with shots of the corner of my ear, or two of my teeth on the far left side... but an intentional armpit selfie breaks new ground. One of the many times I'm glad I'm not trending.

Anonymous said...

Peple just have way too much time on their hands today.

joeh said...

I tried to take a selfie (not my arm pit!) for a post, and could not get it right. I tried 5 times and never got myself into the frame correctly...then Mrs. C showed me how to flip the camera so you could see what you were snapping. Clearly I remember rewinding a cassette tape with an eraser end. Well I do now that you remind me.

Jayne Martin said...

You had me at "the sound of drunken elves ransacking an unlocked car." You are a certifiable genius! This may be my favorite piece of yours ever -- and that's saying something.

I bow to your awesomeness! Sharing!

bill lisleman said...

Do you think he is related to Carlos Danger? Compared to the Carlos Danger pics the armpit is not too bad but very weird. Really who ever dated a guy for his nice armpits?

Indigo Roth said...

Selfie? Smellfie.

vanilla said...

Pot purry, indeed.

(And I am falling off my chair.)

jenny_o said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenny_o said...

Maybe it was trending ... ORRRRR maybe he had an armpit owie that he was having trouble seeing. Just offering choices here.

Geo. said...

Nothing up his sleeve? No hidden agenda --a rare sight.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM

Where does it go next? DON'T ANSER THAT MARY..... YAM xx

Leenie B said...

I can always trust you to entertain and also make me wish I could enjoy life like much Mary does. THANKS!

Gigi said...

Half the stuff that's trending is weird, so yeah, this seems like a "thing."

Eva Gallant said...

Maybe he he was celebrating "no-shave May"?

Patricia said...

I once dated a guy for his sexy armpits; hence, this does not surprise me at all.

Elephant's Child said...

Drat you Pearl. You have created a visual mind-worm I am going to have trouble dislodging.

Jocelyn said...

Even bigger than how much I enjoyed this story is how much I enjoyed the way you told it.

And that's the mark of talent, baby. Not that this is news to you.

Joanne Noragon said...

My children rewound their cassette tapes with pencils, too, when their mother said battery purchases would be from their allowances.

Linda O'Connell said...

I saw a gross selfie: a man's hairy belly. Well, I am assuming it was a man.

Daisy said...

If this is a trend--it's the pits! Hahah! (sorry, I couldn't help myself) :)

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Thank you for making me smile and feel good by reading this

River said...

The question will never be answered. Why?
I love that you made Mary fall off her chair laughing.

Douglas said...

Remember when people used to sit on the copier? Simpler times, those.

Antares Cryptos said...

Remember when people did weird things at home and no one knew about it, except anthropologists?

Launna said...

Always entertaining... as I was reading it.. I was thinking... Does Pearl realize she is entertaining people on the bus with her armpit story, lol?

Texting is much safer, haha :)

So funny that Mary laughed so hard she fell off her chair :)

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

OMG! Armpit selfies?? I am so not going to open any attachments for awhile. Thanks for the warning!

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

I can only hope that he shaved.

Slamdunk said...


Armpit selflies make as much sense as some of the other popular things on social media these days.