I find some way to like all my clients — or else I get rid of them, like the rich lady who used to call me at seven in the morning — but I have to admit that some of them are problem children. Today one of them showed up ten minutes early — which was foot-dragging, for her — announcing before she got in the porch door that she had brought me a book.
Early has been telling me for years how much stuff she has in her walkup apartment and how she just can’t get it under control. She really is just one of these people who can’t throw anything out, and will probably be found one day by paramedics expired and mummified at the center of a maze of stuff piled head high, with books and magazines predominating. I salute her attachment to the printed word but at some point you have to start recycling. Apparently she decided to start with me.
She had brought me a copy of the Mayo Clinic Family Health Guide, probably a useful book of reference, but I have a couple books of the sort already. This thing is the size of six bricks and would probably feel just about as good dropped on your foot, which I almost did. According to Early she found that she already had a copy. I don’t know how you could forget owning a table-thudder like this, but Early does not seem to be the most focused person in the world. I thanked her, anyway.
I have a policy about unwanted gifts, especially when the giver is clearly trying to get rid of something. I put them in the box I set aside for charity thrift shops and periodically schedule with the pickup trucks that make irregular calls around the area. This book is going in with the orange jumpsuit my Albino Ex grandly presented to me the last time we met for dinner, in the apparent delusion that I would wear it shoveling snow or doing winter mileage or something.
Actually, someone had gotten the jumpsuit as a gag gift for him on something called Freecycle, and it didn’t fit him and, halfway home from the dinner date (with the fucking thing slung over my shoulder in 85-degree heat, because I was walking) I realized he had given it to me solely because it was funny to see someone walking down the street with an orange jumpsuit. Albino Ex is a big one for the fully staged practical joke. It’s good to occasionally dine with your ex, so that you remember why it is good that he is your ex.
I almost shitcanned the suit in the nearest public parks trash bin but my natural frugality restrained me. Still, knowing that it came from some free exchange site meaning the source was god-knows-who-or-where, involving god-knows-what kind of cooties, I left it hanging over my porch railing, for the amusement and delectation of my clients. It looked like I had killed a chain gang laborer and hidden the body incompetently in my front porch enclosure.
Maybe I ought to put the Mayo Clinic book out there too. Early said she was suffering an infestation of carpet beetles but was only going to be able to clear one room for spraying because the other room was full of hibachis, or something. I don’t make the news, I just report it, OK?