Saturday, November 22, 2014

An Unexpected Phone Call

It was Saturday night and I had no plans. (That’s not meant to sound as pathetic as it does: It sometimes takes very careful and deliberate planning to have no plans like that. I plan to have no plans all the time.) A bowl of ice cream and I were going to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and only one of us would come out of it alive. In my pajamas by 6:30PM, with my hair in a lazy bunch on top of my head like a Who from Whoville, I was under strict Lockdown Protocol, by which I mean, although we weren’t expecting company, if there was a knock at the door, I intended to ignore it until the interloper went away.

Somewhere around the escape from Goblin Town, my phone rang, buzzing loudly next to the now empty bowl.

Delighted to see that the caller was Randi (who never calls anyone when a text will do), then disappointed to realize it was a Facetime request rather than an ordinary call (during a Lockdown dress rehearsal, of all times!), I answered. “Hello?”

On my screen, Randi had her phone tilted slightly so that I could also see her four-year-old daughter Ari in her lap. Ari, fashionable in a string of fake pearls and a long t-shirt over tights, waved frantically at me, smiling fit to startle a dentist. Randi’s smile appeared to have been dropped a few times and reapplied in haste.

“Hi,” said Randi, stopping Ari’s wave with her free hand. “So, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you, but Ari cosplays as you sometimes. This is her outfit for today.” In the time it took Randi to gesture at her daughter’s attire, Ari resumed her waving.

“It’s lovely,” I said.

“There’s a hat that goes with it.”

“Is there?”

“And also a jacket.”

“How practical,” I said. I wondered briefly what Ari must think of my Batgirl pajamas.

In tones of mild desperation, Randi said, “Would you tell her that you’re a librarian? She never believes me when I tell her you’re a librarian.”

I opened my mouth to say that, yes, indeed, I am a librarian, but stopped short. “What does she think I am?”

Randi sighed, rolling her eyes slightly as if to avoid eye contact. “She thinks you’re a princess.” Ari nodded enthusiastically.

I kept a straight face. I even sat up a little straighter, ensconced in the recliner as I was. It made sense, though. The only time she ever saw me was at parties and ren fair, occasions for which I took the greatest care with my appearance. “Well, Ari,” I said, looking into her big bright eyes through the phone’s unflattering camera. “As it happens, I’m a librarian princess.”

“Really?” Ari said in a breathy gasp, drawing out the syllables.

Behind her, Randi face-palmed.

I nodded. “Because princesses can be whatever they want to be and I decided to be a librarian.”

“Wow!” said Ari.

“I suppose that will do,” said Randi.

We said our good nights and hung up. I went back to my movie. Later, Matt passed by on his way to the kitchen, regarded me in my pajamas, and asked, “Having fun?”

“Yes,” I said. Because princesses can be whatever they want to be and this one had decided to be a hermit for the rest of the weekend.

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