Monday, November 10, 2008

Thelma & Annie

Thelma & Annie
Current mood: eccentric
Category: Friends

I don't routinely answer my cell phone when the incoming call is from a number that I don't recognize coming from one of the suburban area codes.

If memory serves, I was most likely bored and a skoash curious when, last week, I broke from the norm and answered a call from the 847 area code. On the other end of the line was a really confused sounding elderly lady, looking for someone named "Jesse Palmer."

(For clarification purposes, that's not me.)

Confused Elderly Lady dialed her phone correctly, and chances are the customer who had my cell phone number before me is this Jesse Palmer person. This didn't stop Confused Elderly Lady from calling me another handful of times, increasingly apologetic, so I asked her what her name was.


"Hi there, Thelma, I'm Andrea, which I think I told you the last 4 or 5 times you called me, and I'm still not Jesse Palmer."

Thelma's kind, gravelly, grandma-next-door voice and evident lack of knowledge about telecommunication in the 21st Century tugged at my heart, so when she informed me that the Yellow Pages (they still publish that thing?) were also of no help to her, I volunteered to use This Wacky Internet Invention Thing to assist her in locating Jesse Palmer, who is her tenant and still owes her November's rent.

Lucky for Thelma, I'm well versed in the particulars of both rent dodging AND locating people via the internet, so this mission was turning out to be more the fulfillment of destiny than a cure to boredom. Sort of. And it turned out that Thelma's son's wife's sister's friend's mother is also named Andrea, so, well, there, surely the cosmos had aligned the universe so that Thelma and I could become the best of friends.

During one of our conversations, Thelma mentioned that Jesse said he worked at a place called The Last Detail in Evanston, that did car detailing. No such business is located there, though I did stumble upon something similar in North Chicago, which is close to the Wisconsin border.

Having already spent an inordinate amount of my Saturday bounty hunting for Thelma, I called her back with the information I'd gathered and wished her luck in both her search for Jesse and his deadbeat pocketbook. I'm sure she would've been happy to yack at greater length, but I had band and church, so I left a message on her answering machine (which no doubt still uses actual tapes).

So she called me back...again. This time, I let it go to my voice mail, but I'll be saving Thelma's message for eternity. She was just too cute. So cute and old-ladyish that I'd have to have been just a complete bitch not to have helped her out. Which, of course, I'm not. She thanked me "so, so, so much" and remarked at what a "dear, dear, sweet girl" I was to take the time to assist her, and that "you just don't meet people any more who are willing to help out a complete stranger."

None of my grandparents are still living, so I totally envision taking Thelma a plate of Christmas cookies and noshing over tea about the cold Chicago weather, what's on sale at the grocery store and the benefits of wearing support stockings (her, not me).

Jesse Palmer, if you're out there, I'm gonna find you and shake you down till you pony up the dough you owe my new friend. Thelma, you're very welcome...I got your back.

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