Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A call from Aunt Sylvie.

Aunt Sylvie called last night, right in the middle of the basketball game. I knew immediately something is wrong because Sylvie hardly speaks unless something is wrong. Aunt Sylvie is Uncle Slappy’s wife. They’ve been married for 62 years and she’s played second fiddle that whole time. Mostly when you try to engage Aunt Sylvie in conversation what you get is hand motions and dismissals.

“A beautiful day here in New York today, Aunt Sylvie.”
“Ach, New York,” she spits with the back of her hand.
“We went to the opera last Wednesday,” I say, trying to draw her out.
“Ach, the opera,” she spits back at me.
“This was our first Wagner,” I persist.
Now, she introduces a bit of poetry into her response:
“Wagner, Schmagner,” she says, “Germansche schwein.”
“Is everything ok, Aunt Sylvie?” I ask.
“Is everything ok?” she rejoins. “I would be calling if everything was ok?”
“Well,” I begin, worried, “whatsamatta?”
“Your Uncle Slappy,” she begins.
“Did he fall again?” I ask. Over the winter Uncle Slappy fell in the frozen foods at the Piggly Wiggly and “sprained his back.”
“Ach, did he fall again? He falls like a helium balloon, he falls.”
“Then what, Sylvie?”
“The cable is out.”
Now I take Aunt Sylvie’s role. “The cable is out?”
“The cable is out.”
“Did you call the call the cable company?”
“Did I call the cable company? You think the cable company is waiting for my call?”
“Aunt Sylvie, usually when the cable is out you just have to reset your set-top box. It’s easy, they’ll walk you through it.”
“They’ll walk me through it?”
“It’s about as simple as turning it off and turning it on again.”
“Mr. Big Schot whiz kid.”
“Hey, listen Aunt Sylvie, whydontcha put Uncle Slappy on? Maybe we can do it together?”

Long story short, it turns out the cleaning lady had unplugged the RCA when she vacuumed the den. And Slappy had the game in no time, missing just a bit of the first half.

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