I’m living in a condo near the beach. It’s stiflingly hot. Santa Anas, they call them, a rare but excruciating weather pattern. Instead of a cooling breeze feathering in off the ocean, the situation is temporarily reversed, bringing searing winds from the desert, leaving anyone with an ocean-facing condo and no air conditioning, as we Jew people say, chalushing from the heat.
I’m chalushing from the heat. Which explains why I’m watching a ballgame on my living room couch, wearing – uncharacteristically – nothing. That’s how hot I am. I’m naked in my condo. It’s a heat thing. Read nothing more into it.
Suddenly, I hear feverish knocking on my glass-paned kitchen door, facing in the easterly (away from the ocean) direction. It’s the middle-aged couple who live three condos down. I know them to say hello, but that’s about it. I’m not sure I even know their names.
The couple can’t see me. My condo is constructed so that the living room is a few steps lower than the kitchen. Let me amend, “The couple can’t see me.” They can’t see I’m naked. But they can see my head. So they know I’m home.
The feverish knocking continues. Having no alternative, I quickly wrap a blanket, kept handy for couch naps, around my unclothed body, and I get up and answer the door.
It turns out, the wife has been involved with some serious but successful cancer treatment. The condition has, however, cost her an eye. As I quickly learn, the couple has just returned from the prosthetic eye store, or whatever you call them, and they’re absolutely thrilled with the outcome. This results in their “barely contain themselves” question to a fellow condo dweller, standing naked under loosely wrapped blanket, tightly tucked under his left armpit.
The question is this:
“Guess which eye is the real one?”
“Guess which eye is the real one?” This is not a question one is commonly asked. It may actually have been my first time. To be honest, I didn’t really want to look. But when I finally did,
I had absolutely no idea.
Which speaks highly of the work they’re doing in that area.
It seemed to me saying, “I really can’t tell” would make them ecstatically happy. Which, after an appropriate waiting period, is exactly what I said.
“You know, guys. I really can’t tell.”
I said that, not just to make them ecstatically happy. I really couldn’t tell which eye was the real one. More importantly, however, I said it because, standing at the door, naked under a loosely wrapped blanket,
I desperately wanted them to go away.
For some reason, however, they weren’t satisfied with “I really can’t tell.” They insisted that I guess. Refusing to leave until I did. What they wanted, I suppose, was for me to mistake the artificial eye for the real one, so they could scream,
“Wrong! Isn’t it wonderful!”
Hard as I tried, I just couldn’t tell the eyes apart.
The couple refused to let me off the hook.
I stood at that door
For twenty minutes
Naked under a loosely wrapped blanket
Unable to tell them
Which of this poor woman’s eyes
The real eye.
Am I wrong, or is that not the most embarrassing story you’ve ever heard?
If you have an even more embarrassing story, bring it on.
I don’t need the title.
You don’t have to use your real names.
If this weren’t my blog, I wouldn’t use my real name either.