Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day to My Four Pretend Husbands and Especially to My Two Pretend Adjuncts

For me, a Pretend Husband is all about being able to listen to Gershwin without becoming completely undone. Not all Gershwin, certainly, just the heart-stabbing Someone to Watch Over Me. Which, as far as I’m concerned, could just as easily be called Someone to Drive Me Home From My Colonoscopy, except for the problem of scanning. Someone to Drop to His Naked Pulverized Knees Just to Unclog My Horrible Shower Drain would work for me too, so please let me take this fine opportunity to thank the Cowboy for doing so. Even though I’ve already thanked him profusely and even though he was yelling at me the whole time and hurling Ajax cans at my head.

But even if the Cowboy had not fixed my drain (It’s a cesspool, Jeannie! D’ya hear me? A cesspool!); even if he and his three P.H. brothers had written me off and moved to Des Moines, I would not feel nearly as ruined as I might have before because now I know there are adjuncts. Really! I’d had no idea   I was being watched over by peripheral others, but I was, and you might be too.

My first adjunct presented himself when I once again ordered the swordfish kebabs from my favorite kebab place in Boringame. But this time the guy at the register stopped before he put in my order, looked at me with something like pity and quietly said: “Do you not like salmon?”

“I love salmon,” I said.

“Then why do you not ever order it?”

I had ordered their salmon in fact, and had only stopped because, very frankly, they cooked it to death. 
Which I'd of course never mentioned, but since he had asked:
“Because,” I said, “you cook it to death. No offense.”

No offense taken. Au contraire! He swore to me I had only to ask them to not overcook it (“Translucent,” I warned him. “I like it translucent!”) and it would be cooked to my absolute order. Which, frankly, I doubted, because this is a tiny fast busy place that would seem to have neither time nor a motive to bother to do any crazy such thing. “Please,” he said. “Please, for today, have the salmon.”

“But why?” I asked. “Why do you care?”

“You eat too much swordfish!” he bleated. “They are filled up with mercury! Don’t you know how bad it is for your body?”

Well, of course I did, as who doesn't?  In fact, when Hank Fitz and I go there together, we refer to them as Mercury Kebabs and never order anything else except maybe some baba ganoush.

But never mind--his was a rhetorical question and now he was saying: “You should eat them no more than three times a month!” You’d think I’d been eating them three times a minute. And maybe I had—I’m just that obsessive, about what I eat, and everything else.

“All right!” I said. “I’ll get the damn salmon.”

But why why why did he look so relieved? Did he think I would sue him as soon as I got whatever you get from a mercury surplus? Or did I already look so old and atrocious he feared I might croak right there in his restaurant? Or was he just some wacky altruist? I still haven’t figured it out, but let me just say that they did keep the salmon’s middle translucent and still do every time. It makes me feel not just watched over but famous.

My second Adjunct Pretend Husband appeared less dramatically in the form of my auto mechanic. After giving my car one of those major overhauls that cost twice the rent no matter what happens, he told me he was still waiting for my new wipers and that I should come in the next morning so he could install them.

I said I would be there but of course I was not, because I’m a moron who thinks she is busy but is merely a moron, and after a few days he called me and said: “Jean! Come get your wipers! Please! It is raining!” 

Which surely it was--Cats and Dogs and Swordfish Kebabs--so I put on some speed and followed his lead before you could say Ira Gershwin.


  1. No one ever said that Someone To Watch Over Me had to be a.) living in the house and cluttering up the couch, b.) someone who speaks to you more than once a week, or c.) someone you don't pay.

    How lovely to find that the eyes of the world are not all cold and merciless.