By Judy Berman
Sheila hasn’t called in a while, and that usually means trouble.
Movie script writers would salivate to be able to tell her story. But it often is one she doesn’t want to share because she doesn’t want to “trouble” any one. Sheila’s golden silence, however, automatically triggers the exact response she wishes to avoid.
“Hey, Sheila,” my calls always begin in an upbeat fashion. “What’s happening? I checked the obits, and you weren’t listed.”
“What fire?” I ask. (I shake my head as I wonder: “how come my calls are never like the ones in the commercials? ring. ring.)
“Nothing serious,” Sheila says soothingly. “I lit a match to look under the mattress, and it caught on fire. Damaged my bedroom!”
“Got a pen handy?” she inquires casually. “I’ll give you my new address.”
“You moved?” I’m 300 miles away and am powerless to do more than just voice my concern.
“Yeah, had to after the fire. Didn’t need that expense on top of the parking tickets.”
Common sense dictates that, if I ever want another full night’s sleep, this is the point where I should hang up and get an unlisted number. But, a morbid fascination keeps me hanging on.
“Parking ticket problem?” I mumble, knowing the answer won’t be a simple one.
“Yeah, my neighbor had been moving it for me every day – alternate parking here. But when he went in the hospital, the car just sat there accumulating tickets. Sometimes as many as three or four tickets a day.”
“What with the other problems I’d been having,” she continues unmercifully, “I sort of put it on the low side of my priorities. Up until I got the notice threatening to garnish my wages if I didn’t pay up, that is.”
Now, Sheila’s been relatively unruffled during this whole story. I, on the other hand, have not exhaled once.
I take another breath, pause and ask, “How much do you owe?
“Twelve hundred dollars!”
I inhale incredulously and then, mercifully, exhale. Despite that kind of money not being within her reach, she’s been calm. Almost Zen-like.
Still Sheila’s closing remark nearly unglues me.
“When you talk to Jan about me, try not to worry her.”
“No problem,” I assure her. “I know exactly how to handle this. Trust me”
As I hang up the phone, I’m thinking: “I’ll just tell Jan that they’re making your life story into a disaster film. And it’ll be bigger than “Titanic,” “Towering Inferno” and “Airport” all rolled into one.”
* Is your favorite disaster movie on the list below? What are your candidates?
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-12. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original
- Video: TOP 10 “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!” MOVIES http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxgAM7aZmsY
- IMDb’s Top 100 Best Disaster Films – list. http://www.imdb.com/list/hvpKFksMvTI/
- Video: Airport (1970) This disaster movie was spoofed by the “Airplane” movies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vn8uX4_hI8
- Video: Towering Inferno (1974) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsRnQQpklPM
- Video: Titanic (1997) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCy5WQ9S4c0
- Main Photo – War of the Worlds – Movie set of the 2005 Steven Spielberg film, War of the Worlds (2005) on Universal Studios Theme park in Los Angeles. Photo taken Feb. 28, 2006 by Mr. Bullitt. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/War_of_the_Worlds_set.JPG/640px-War_of_the_Worlds_set.JPG
- Photo: parking meter http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a4/Parking_meter_pd_med.jpg/341px-Parking_meter_pd_med.jpg
- Photo: burning match – taken Jan. 2, 2006 by Sebastian Ritter (Rise0011) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Streichholz.jpg/320px-Streichholz.jpg