I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
April 4, 2011
I took my number at the DMV, scanned the rows of plastic chairs, and paused when I saw Margaret seated next to an empty one.
Margaret was a casual acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in a few years. I instantly recalled that I didn’t much like her– but I couldn’t for the life of me remember why. Still, I walked over and sat down beside her. We were going to be waiting for a while and I figured I’d rather sit with someone I knew, even someone I knew and didn’t think I liked, than a stranger.
“Hi Margaret,” I said.
“Why, Lindsay Ferrier!” she said, surprised. “I haven’t seen you in ages. How have you been?”
“Oh, you know. Busy.” I laughed falsely. “How are the kids?”
“The kids are fabulous,” she answered. “Sally is loving soccer and James is reading on a fifth grade level.”
“Wow, that’s fantastic,” I said. “What books does he like to read?”
“He’s really into Bailey School Kids,” Margaret answered.
“Oh my gosh,” I said. “Punky loves Bailey School Kids! She’s been reading about–”
“And Magic Treehouse,” Margaret interrupted. “He reads a lot of Magic Treehouse.”
“Magic Treehouse is fantastic,” I agreed. “Especially the one where–”
“James is also playing piano now,” Margaret said, ignoring me.
“Okay!” I said. “Well, that’s great! I’ve heard there’s a fantastic piano instructor at that music school over on–”
“And Sally is playing guitar,” Margaret went on as if she hadn’t even heard me. I shut my mouth and listened as she proceeded to launch into a long and involved story about Sally’s guitar teacher.
“You know, our neighbor is a guitar teacher,” I said once the story was finished. “He-”
“It’s funny that I’ve run into you,” Margaret said. “I talked to Mary Helen just the other day.” I bit my lip.
“He’s quite popular with the moms,” I said, stubbornly finishing my sentence.
“What are you talking about?” she said. “Mary Helen is a she.”
“Oh, well, I was still on the guitar teacher,” I said, shrugging.
“Well, Mary Helen is selling Pampered Chef now,” Margaret said, undeterred. She went on to enumerate every Pampered Chef item she had ever wanted, and why.
“I like the baking stones,” I said when Margaret at last paused for breath. “I have two and I use them for–”
“And the onion slicer,” Margaret said over me.
“–I — USE THEM FOR BISCUITS AND COOKIES.” I said loudly.
Margaret looked startled.
“Anyway,” she said, “the onion slicer is so handy when you’re sauteeing vegetables, and what I do is this…” She continued talking, but I couldn’t listen anymore. Blah blah blah. Drone drone drone. My eyes glazed over as she went on and on and on. “… but I had to do something drastic after I started watching Hoarders,” she finished. Suddenly, I perked up.
“Hoarders!” I said. “I love that show! Did you see the one where–”
“I packed up six bags of junk and took them all to Goodwill,” Margaret interrupted. I paused.
“Did you see the one where-” I started again.
“They asked me if I was moving!” she interrupted again. “I said, I’m not moving, I’ve been watching Hoarders!”
“Did you see the one where-” I said a third time.
“And trust me, I’ll be back again next week with more bags!”
“THE ONE WHERE THE WOMAN HAD SO MUCH JUNK THAT HER CATS HAD BEEN CRUSHED-” I continued, raising my voice. It didn’t faze her.
“I’m going to attack our basement next because–” she went on.
“AND THEY STARTED CLEANING UP THE PLACE AND THEY FOUND ONE OF THE CATS, LIKE MUMMIFIED-” I went on obstinately.
“Because OUR BASEMENT REALLY IS A TERRIFIC MESS,” she said, practically shouting herself in order to hear her own voice over mine. But I wasn’t backing down.
“AND ITS FACE WAS FROZEN IN HORROR, LIKE SOMETHING HAD FALLEN ON IT, AND IT WAS SO GROSS-” I boomed.
“AND I MOVED ALL MY GRANDMOTHER’S THINGS DOWN TO THE BASEMENT AFTER SHE DIED AND-”
“-SO GROSS THAT THREE OF MY GIRLFRIENDS CALLED ME AS SOON AS THE EPISODE WAS OVER TO ASK IF I’D SEEN IT AND I SAID-”
“-I HAVE YET TO GO THROUGH A SINGLE BOX, BECA– USE I COULDN’T BRING MYSELF TO THROW ANYTHING OF HERS AWAY, BUT-”
“-THAT REALLY TOOK CRAZY CAT LADY TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL!”
“-IT HAS TO BE DONE! I HAVE TO MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE AND CLEAN OUT MY BASEMENT!”
We stopped talking at the same time. Both of us were flushed and out of breath.
“Number 27!” the woman behind the counter shouted.
“That’s me,” Margaret said, standing. “It really was so nice to see you again,”
“Good to see you too,” I said, smiling a little too brightly. “Bye now.”
As she walked away, I stared after her, frowning. What was it about Margaret that had rubbed me the wrong way all those years ago?
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.