The Week That Was

Last Saturday night, Jacob holds his gin and tonic out for me to take a sip and I wrinkle my nose. "Eiww, no thanks!" I say--ok, yell--over the insane din that has enveloped Luna Park. "I'm not a gin girl." My attentions go instead to the Technicolor fruitiness of whatever I've just ordered, and the boy gives up (temporarily) on attempting to share his drink.

Then comes Sunday. [It occurs to me here that this post is about to read like a chronicle of a soused week. So be it.] Boss and I meet up at the Big Four for some belated birthday cocktails and patrician-watching. On my way to the bar, I'd been thinking about what to order; at the Big Four, the Manhattan is my standard, but for some reason I felt on Sunday like going father afield.

So when we sit down at the bar and there in my eyeline is a bottle of Hendrick's gin, I don't hesitate, asking the bartender for a Hendrick's gimlet. I'm wary--too many sips of undrinkable G&Ts have made me gin-phobic--but, upon sip #1, am delighted to discover what may be the best drink ever. Several more of same follow. (Thanks, Boss, for picking up that tab.)

Equally delightful was waking up on Monday morning without the slightest bit of a hangover. Praise be to the clear alcohol! I praised it again on Tuesday, when Erfert, Boss, and I went to Bourbon and Branch and I once again went the gimlet route (with a brief detour through a bourbon-based drink; when in Rome, etc.).

People, I have seen the light! I will probably continue to brook no gin that isn't Hendrick's or otherwise foofy (e.g., cucumber-infused), but give me the good stuff and a masterful bartender and I'm totally Gin Girl 3000. I'm sure there's a lesson here for all of us; I leave it to you to figure out what that might be.

Katie, my editor, e-mailed me on Tuesday evening to let me know that the proof of my book was ready for review. She directed me to the PDF and offered to overnight a hard copy; I took her up on that offer because, as otherwise perfect as my little MacBook is, it does not have a screen that lends itself to easy review of landscape format PDFs.

The proof went out on Wednesday and was due to reach me on Thursday, which it did, though indirectly. I came home from my client meeting that afternoon to find a FedEx box addressed to me on the sidewalk in front of my steps, roughly torn open and emptied of its contents. I was approximately 75 different kinds of baffled when I picked up the box: had the FedEx guy left it on the steps? Had someone taken it from under the front gate? Would not any normal thief, upon discovering the contents of such a box, immediately jettison them? And if so, why couldn't I find a chunk of pages anywhere in the vicinity of my house?

It was while stumbling around, box in hand, that I noticed someone sitting on my neighbor Jody's steps, chatting with another guy who stood on the sidewalk in front of him. I walked toward them and felt my heart threaten to jump clear out of my chest when I saw, on the step next to the sitter--a semi-homeless guy I've seen around the neighborhood, and have previously caught stealing my Sunday paper--the folded-over, rubber-banded pages of my proof.

This will sound pat, but as my brain wrapped around what was happening, my entire body tensed up in what was the largest, strongest, most utterly overwhelming burst of anger I can ever recall feeling. I screamed so long and so loud that, by the time I got back to my house (proof in hand), I was utterly spent. That level of anger? Scary, scary stuff.

Fast forward several hours. My doorbell rang. I opened the door cautiously, and there on the steps was Sandy, a neighbor from down the street. He told me the thief was his brother, Gary, who had severe mental issues. He apologized profusely. I said I knew he couldn't be his brother's keeper, told him in detail what had happened, listened as he told me about how he and Gary's doctor try to monitor him as closely as they can, listened as he vowed to me that he would direct Gary to stay away from the neighborhood.

It was probably the stress of the afternoon and the stress of working under a tight deadline to finish the review and any number of other flavors of stress, but as Sandy and I talked, it was all I could do not to dissolve into tears. Because, yes, it was maddening beyond words to have had my proof stolen, and creepy in the extreme to think that Gary is disturbed and adept enough to pull things from under our gate. In the end, though, I got my proof back, and all I could really focus on as Sandy apologized again and again was what it might be like to bear the responsibility for a family member gone wrong, to know that there's so very little you can do.

That, by a mile, is the harder row to hoe.

The eyelashes. I had forgotten, or maybe hadn't noticed before. The hazel eyes, those I remembered, but those long, stunning, dark eyelashes--those were new.

So a temporary goodbye, defenses, and nice try, though we both knew we were sort of doomed from the start, and that (for today, at least) was sort of the point. Blame the eyelashes, the eyes, the impish grin, the tap of a finger on my bottom lip, our matching pearline shirt buttons, the completed Saturday Times crossword (we missed just one square), a dozen other things that feel like not-unpleasant little kicks to the gut.

But don't make yourself too scarce; there will all too likely be work for you in the weeks ahead, given what This is and isn't and might and might not be. Next time, though, we'll try to be better prepared, you and I. Remember the eyelashes.