Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Christine and The Massage

When Christine would arrive in my house, she was nothing if not polite. She would remove her Barbie back pack, and her Care Bears fanny pack, and her velcro running shoes, always in that order. Then she would tell me that she was very, very thirsty, and that she hoped I had lots of drinks made for her, with ice, because "you know how much I love your ice here!"

And then she would do some sort of armpit-sniffing ritual that you would think would be to detect odour, and yet, though she often had a stunning odour about her, it never got noticed in the sniff test. But often her clothes would be drenched right through, just from the short walk from our driveway to the door, and if that was the case, she would ask to borrow clothes.

Now, you may remember that Christine is a 300lb woman, but people who have known Christine tell me that this number is a bit too generous. A more accurate number may cause you to round up another, oh, say 100lbs, but this still doesn't do her justice. I am all for a chubby woman. I like meat. But Christine was not a chubby woman. She just did not wear her weight well, I'm afraid. She just didn't fit in her body at all. At any rate, she knew better than to think that she and I could possibly share t-shirts, so she would ask to borrow one of Jason's. Poor, poor Jason. He always looked like a deer caught in the headlights when Christine started barking orders. Jason lives with me, so he's forgotten how to say No to a woman. But with Christine, that word is imperative. You need to keep it handy. Jason would look at me frantically, searching for an answer, the right answer, and I would be generous with my Nos.

Now usually I would give her a towel to dry herself with, and we'd prop her in front of the air conditioner for a moment or two, just to do away with the excess moisture before she plopped down on our furniture. Christine was not particularly fond of the word No (although frankly, what woman is?), so she would use it as a bargaining tool. If she couldn't have X, then surely we would not deny her Y.

With Christine, you always got an exercise in deny, deny, deny. She must have thought we were no fun at all: no I wouldn't pluck her eyebrow, no I wouldn't give her piggy back rides, no she couldn't take home random contents of my home to keep. She got smart to my pattern of denial, and so she went to Jason, and she went straight for the jugular:

"Hey Jason...give me a massage!"

Honestly, I thought he was going to faint dead away. But he stayed conscious, so I'll give him that much. But, he did turn green, and he did run to hide behind me.

I sat with Christine and explained to her that Jason was not allowed to massage her "because husbands and wives are only allowed to massage each other." She nodded at that. Seemed to think it was reasonable. Phew. Dodged a bullet with that one. But that's me, quick on my feet, I am. You have to be with Christine around.

Anyhow, her attention was easily diverted because the very next week was a big occasion for her and I: I would be graduating from University, and my mother and sisters were coming up for a dinner afterwards to celebrate. You cannot imagine how excited Christine was to meet them. Every day we would walk to all the framed pictures of my family in the house, and we would point to each one, name them, and say something clever about them. She was determined to "make a good impression" on them.

So the big day finally arrives. My Mom arrives, with a good friend of the family, Joan, and my oldest little sister Shirley, and her boyfriend Dave, and my 2 other sisters, Curly, and Blondie. A whole big group. And we sit around chatting while we wait for Christine to make her grand entrance. I prepare them for her eccentricities. My Mom is amused; she works with special needs children, and has loved the Christine stories I have related. Joan is up for the challenge; she's a visiting nurse who has met a few characters in her day. The rest of the group is apprehensive. The two youngest sisters tend to be shy with "normal" people. But they don't have to worry, because the appointed time has come and gone, and no Christine.

I call her house, all concerned, and inquire as to her whereabouts. Oh, Christine is still at home, I'm told. She's playing Barbies. I tell her that's too bad, but since she's an hour away by bus, I guess she won't be able to make it after all. The food is ready to go. I'm not waiting for Christine. She's supposed to be learning responsibility, and consequences for her actions, and really, this is my day. But Christine starts to cry. And cry. And cry. So Jason kindly goes to get her by car, and she arrives monumentally sweaty and flustered, eager to meet everyone, and impress them with her knowledge of them.

Christine is nothing if not entertaining during dinner. She is flanked by my mother and Joan, who marvel at her appetite. She sucks down the shrimp appetizer and looks around her, eager to snatch spare ones from other people's plates. My sisters sit shakily on the opposite end of the table, eyes as big as saucers as Christine regales us all with tales of summer camp - "My favourite strict rule is, no girls showering with boys!" she tells us. Yes, yes, we agree, that is indeed a great rule.

And then she takes her pills, and passes out on the couch for a while, and everyone watches her snore up a storm. When she wakes, she is hungry again, or still. She has eaten me practically out of house and home, but she's ready for 3 or 4 slices of cheesecake, she tells us, and anything else I might have on hand for dessert.

Then she looks around the room, and her gaze lands on the person she knows least about, Dave, the boyfriend. "Hey you" she commands, "give me a massage!"

Dave is not as brave as Jason. He doesn't faint, not quite, but we have to ply him with cold drinks and fan him with throw pillows to prevent it.

"Christine," I say, "remember about the rule?"

Oh she hasn't forgotten, she assures us. "But they're not married" she points out, and it's true. Christine has found a loophole. Luckily she grudgingly agrees that boyfriends and girlfriends are kind of like married people, and so Dave is exempt.

Jason piles her into the van. She is making groaning noises, and is not looking well. "I told you you ate too much" I tell her, and she only groans louder in response. Off they go, and when Jason finally returns, he is stricken. It has been an awful ride he tells us. We understand that Christine has been "gassy" and that when Jason rolled down the window to save his own life from the noxious fumes, Christine yelled at him to shut it. The rest of us find this hilariously funny, but Jason doesn't want to talk about it anymore. Everyone else gets to go home now, but Jason knows that Christine will be back again next week, when it will all start over again. With Christine, the stories don't ever stop.

More Christine stories found here:

The first installment
the second,
and the third.


2 comments:

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