Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I'm still not sure what happened last night. Sarah and I went out to dinner with our neighbor Christine, a short and feisty woman I'd guess to be 65 years old. If you talk to Christine for at least three minutes (an easy task as she effortlessly turns small talk into a 10 minute conversation), you're guaranteed to hear, "Nowwa, Lissen heare," "Well i says," and "Boy, I oughta hit you upside the head!"
On top of the joy that comes with conversing with the human incarnate of Foghorn Leghorn, I love talking to Christine because I feel like I'm doing some good in the world by spending time with an old woman who lives by herself. The other day I suggested that Christine come over for dinner.
"Hell, Justin your wife is too pretty to be cooking in the kitchen, let's go out to eat," was her way of saying, "Sure." After we agreed upon going out on Thursday, I received a call from her that afternoon, where she just kept repeating, "Are you sure you wanna go out with me? I'm nuts! I tell ya, I'm nuts."
Now would probably be as good a time as any to disclose the 5% ulterior motive, to the 95% of me just being a good guy who wants to provide some company to a lonely woman, who for all I know, isn't actually lonely at all.
At the end of the month Christine is moving back to her hometown of Greenville, Mississippi and I was hoping that she'd just give us a sweet deal on her apartment, which is much bigger and has a real bedroom, unlike ours which has a walk-in closet that happens to just fit a queen-size bed.
When game time rolled around and Sarah and I strolled the thirty feet from apt 203 to apt 207. Christine rumbled to the door, let us in and within 60 seconds, she was already saying she wanted us to have the apartment and that we need to move in. She repeats this over and over without revealing any numbers.
As we walk the six blocks to a Thai restaurant that she had picked out, Christine is babbling about everything and anything. She often will stop mid-walk to tell a story, this was especially troublesome when she stopped in the middle of the six-lane avenue of Van Ness, forcing us to dangerously stand on the narrow median. The short commute that should have been eight minutes, ended up taking us well over 30 minutes.
The entire time she either gripped Sarah's arm, my arm, or both in an effort to maintain balance. As she kept leaning backward, I was very afraid that she was going to topple over. Fortunately, she never fell. Unfortunately, I couldn't stop feeling like I was in an episode of Seinfeld, woo-ing an old lady in an attempt to steal the apartment she's owned since 1975.
Once we arrived at the Thai restaurant T2J, Christine let her presence felt. She shouted out the staff's names -- names that I'm not sure were all that acurate since I have a hard time believing a Thai woman is named "Punky." After doling out a few kisses and hugs, she ordered up a delicious duck salad dish, followed by some crunchy egg rolls. Over a few glasses of wine she told us stories that ranged from wildly confusing, to utterly boring, to just-above-mediocre.
"You know what Bob's landscape is?!" was followed by a 10-minute rant that can be summed up by the fact that she once saw "Bob's landscape" painted on a tractor wheel in Spokane, Washington.
"Sarah you're gonna love riding the combine," she said, once we told her we'd like to visit her in Mississippi (although the odds of that actually happening are slim). "Justin, you can't ride the combine, you're stuck in the kitchen cooking rice with me."
"Don't fuck with Chinese men!" Christine repeated frequently in regards to the Chinese chef, who gave Christine her fifth glass of wine for free.
"You know Daddy was a scout for the Dodgers and Giants, on top of running the rice plantation." I really can't tell you how much I love how she refers to her late father as "Daddy," and the fact she actually grew up, and is returning to a rice plantation is just the cherry on top.
My own lunacy prompted the most awkward part of the night. I'm not sure what to call my faux-ADD other than faux-ADD, but at the end of a meal, I often doodle images into the sauce on a plate with the edge of my fork, or I'll rip my paper placemat into million pieces. Last night I was unconsciously shredding a piece of parsely until Christine asked, "What the hell are you doing?"
I tried to play it off. But just like a mother trying to teach her son a lesson, Christine wouldn't let it go. She kept yelling, “Make it right,” and no matter how I tried to reconfigure, or simply hide the dissected parsley leaves, she would put them in front of me and demand that I put it back together. This went on for a good 15 minutes.
After she brought up the fact that she wanted us to have her apartment for the 203rd time and after we subtly said we're relatively poor, and shyly inquired about the price for the 203rd time, we learned she's was willing to give us the apt for $3,500/month, which is cheaper than the $4,000 she knows she can get. This woman may have been tipsy and full of love, but she knew full well what she's sitting on and the SF real estate market. Our dreams of moving on up from an incredible apartment to an incredible-and-massive apartment were over, but like I said before, that was only 5% of the evening's goal.
Sarah and I picked up the bill and this moved Christine to cry tears of joy for a long two minutes. I'm pretty sure it's a good Thursday night when you get an old woman, or anyone, to cry tears of happiness, even if those tears of joy have been greased by fives glasses of wine.
She tried to offer us money as she felt bad about us paying, but I got her to laugh when I told her that we'd deduct the check from the bill of sale when we buy her house in a few years.
We took a cab back to our place and walked Christine to her door. She gave Sarah a bunch of cookware and kitchen utensils, with the promise that we'd be scoring a lot more goods before she moves out. I'm OK with the fact that half of our kitchen has came from Christine or /r/randomactsofamazon, which Sarah has learned to master -- both have been a lot more fun than the wedding registry we both felt wrong about making since we didn't invite anyone to the wedding.
At the end of the night, Sarah told me she couldn't believe how wasted Christine was from the start of the night. Somehow this went over my head as I thought she was just an very nice and very old lady.