Send in a clown

by cheri block

My pilgrimage to Joe’s house yesterday was not without worry.

He’d changed our lunch venue back to his home, a two-story house in a neighborhood north with twelve cement steps leading up to a locked door.

His newspaper, still on the porch and wedged by a jute doormat, signaled a weakened Joe.

My arms full and my heart heavy, I knocked on the door.

No answer. Maybe Joe is in the bathroom, I thought.

Down I set the soup, the sandwiches, his newspaper, my binder, The Merchant of Venice, King Henry IV part 1 and my purse and then looked out to the street, over his front yard. This rainy winter and Joe’s weakened health had conspired to produce  sinewy weeds and tall turf.

How do I suggest to Joe that my gardeners pay a visit to his house? I thought.

With no Joe opening the door, a door I have faced though the highs and lows of our lives, my concern heightened. This time, I used the door knocker. Tap, tap, tap. Still, no answer.

I kneeled down and pulled my phone from my purse and hit speed dial.

Well hellloooo, Ms. Sabraw, Joe answered.

Joe, where are you?

Here, waiting for you, Joe replied. Where are you?

I am at your front door, I emphasized with some impatience.

Oh, Ok. Joe hung up.  I waited for his customary whistling from within.

I picked up the soup, the sandwiches, his newspaper, my binder, The Merchant of Venice and King Henry IV part 1 and my purse, readying myself for entry.

But still no Joe.

My god, I thought. Maybe Joe’s many meds are messing with  his mind.

This time, I pulled at the door knocker and pushed it against the door three times, briskly. Clack, clack, clack.  And then I waited. Nose to nose with the door knocker, I wondered why Joe and Maureen hadn’t changed the name on the knocker after all those years of living in the house. Maybe they had been  too busy living life.

I hit redial.

Where the hell are you, Cheri? Joe barked and then coughed.

Where are you? I questioned delicately.

I am standing in my hall with the God damned door wide open and I certainly don’t see you.

At that moment, my arms full with soup and sadness, I looked closer at the door knocker. Johnson, it read.

I was on the Johnson’s porch, two doors down.

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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21 Responses to Send in a clown

  1. My oh My! Who is confused? Dear Cheri what will you so at my age?

  2. zeusiswatching says:

    Oh thank God! I’m not the only one who makes these kinds of mistakes. It is not a function of age, at least is isn’t in my case.

  3. Cheri says:

    Well, Zeus…

    Showing up at the wrong house could mean many things:

    1. I am preoccupied.
    2. The houses all look the same in the neighborhood where Joe lives. (Yeah, right!)

    The best part of this whole scenario is that Joe told me as I left that he “wouldn’t tell anyone else…”

    Ha!

  4. andreaskluth says:

    Too bad Johnson didn’t make it into the story. (S)he probably opened the door seconds after you shoved off two doors down.

  5. Richard Manchester says:

    I’m doing this sort of thing, and far worse, all the time. I wander into the office and look blank. They humour me, give me a seat and a nice cup of coffee. Then I’ve got to find my way home.

    They make me quite happy, really.

  6. My question confused you? Sorry! I figured only older people, such as I, would go to the wrong door and not realize it even with a name plaque on the knocker.
    Well after reading the others’ comments, I stand corrected.

  7. Ellen says:

    So glad to hear Joe is still his old self! I thought you were leading up to something way worse than middle-aged pre-occupi-ed-ness.

  8. Cheri says:

    Hi Ellen,
    Always great to hear from you!

    And yes, I had fun with this one. Trying to tell a true story and also characterize Joe as I found him on Monday.

  9. Sharon says:

    This is just the laugh I needed today! Perhaps the Johnson’s are disappointed that they missed the soup and sandwiches!

    • Cheri says:

      Welcome back to the blog, Sharon. Nice to see some women weighing in. I was just thinking about blogging about why only men comment here.

      Well, for sure the soup. Homemade chicken with barley.

      They also missed the look on my horrified face when I discovered my gaffe.

  10. Rita says:

    I’m glad that Joe was okay and it was just you — standing on someone else’s frontporch. I think what would have been hysterical was if a neighbor was looking through there window watching the whole thing unfold. Instant entertainment.

  11. Cheri,

    What a funny story teller you are and such sweet impatience; it took me back to being a newlywed – a Wife of Bath in the making – a 40 year blink ago.

    Returning from the basement, laundry piled to the moon in my arms, I approached our apartment door down the end of the hall. How lucky for us to have a street side flat with its windows and accompanying noise. But what is that very loud Spanish music I hear playing inside? I advance my pace, certain to catch this robber who has the nerve to play a song as he takes my what? We didn’t have anything!

    Like a bad knock, knock joke I raise my voice indignantly while actually knocking, “Who is in my apartment?”

    At which point a young and pretty Mrs. Hernandez flings wide the door with her eyes riveted on me, “Yes? What can I do to help you?”

    “Sorry, Mrs. H., I forgot to stop on my own floor.”

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Mary Jane,
      I have followed several of your moving posts—so beautifully expressed–on Andreas’ blog. The one about your daughter—your heroine—touched me deeply.

      I, too, am interested in Jung. My husband and I are taking a class on Jung this summer at St. John’s College in Santa Fe.

      This story above really cracked me up. I just posted one last week about a similar story, where I showed up on the wrong door step with soup in hand.

      Thanks for commenting on my blog.

  12. Cheri,

    Very cool on Jung in the summer for you and that lucky husband. Who’s teaching it? My first read, The Portable Jung, written by Jung himself, was handed to me by a psychiatrist I worked with in 1986. I carried it around for 2 years then one day I had a Maslow moment! Can one say Maslow and Jung in one post?

    Thanks too, Cheri, for mentioning Katie. I had a dream about her last night which, honestly, makes me feel her absence and yet her presence paradoxically. She wants to make certain that I’m behaving and I’m failing miserably I’m proud to say.

    • Cheri says:

      Mary Jane,

      Here is the link to St. John’s College and the Summer Classics offerings this summer. We absolutely love this week of study, fabulous food, and all things New Mexico. Not sure if you are familiar with the curricula model at St. John’s. The professors are called Tutors and the classes are all Socratic, including math and science.

      Last year we took one week on Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality.

      Here’s the link to the Jung class and the tutors’ names.

      http://www.stjohnscollege.edu/outreach/SF/SC/week2.shtml

      Your story about Katie on the HB was a moving one, written powerfully.

      And I see from your website, you are in Bryn Mawr. Is this correct? I have been to Bryn Mawr College where one of my best students attended.

      I, too, am fascinated by dream content and its relationship to our conscious thought. Like Andreas, I love storytelling and of course, Jung added new dimension to that realm.

      I hope your day is a good one.

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