Aug 23, 2020

I met Myra last year during preschool drop-off. She’s quick to catch your eye with her big smile and striking salt and pepper hair, which tells me she is a confident and intelligent woman. I think that about women who go gray in their 40s. They’re the wise owls of my generation, embracing their gray to show the world they are even more beautiful as they age. It’s like they know something the rest of us foolish women have yet to learn. This makes me curious. What else does she know that I don’t?

Along with her fellow owls, she carries herself with a calm sense of grace. This is a most unique quality for a mom of a preschooler. Most of us look disheveled and rushed, scampering about more like spider monkeys as we quickly gather our children, tossing them on our backs and running off in search of food to keep them alive and not throwing each other out of trees.

Myra is politically savvy, and I admire this quality. I can’t recall at this moment what her career is, but I know it is in public service to others and requires a high level of education; thus, I hold her in high esteem. I must also point out that she makes it to school drop-off with her hair in place, makeup on, and her shirt not on inside out. Now that I think of it, she might be a sorceress and not an owl.

I befriended her on FB, and we quickly began chatting. She complimented my writing, and thus, our friendship blossomed. My love language is words of affirmation, and this will get you far in my book. I once went to second base with a guy just because he told me I was more intelligent than any other girl in the class: Bye-bye, shirt.

Myra and I hadn’t exchanged phone numbers, but while on a group text of all the preschool moms, I keenly deciphered which response was hers and stored her number on my phone.

I texted her, inviting her to a fundraiser I was hosting. She declined. Two weeks later, I texted her to ask her to a playdate. This time there was no response.

This was odd. She was a regular chatty Cathy at school, but then other times, she seemed too busy to even respond. I concluded that her job was so demanding that she didn’t have time for me during work hours. She is very important, you know?

A few weeks go by and I text her again,  “A group of us are meeting for lunch at PHX Brewery for an afternoon of beers and sunshine on the patio. Come join us.”

This was, of course, PC. (Note: I’m coining this acronym PC as a play on politically correct and pre-COVID. If somebody else has already done this, please don’t tell me as I am rather impressed with myself right now. )

“Sorry, who is this?” She texted back.

Ahh, it all makes sense now. She didn’t know it was me all along. ”Oh, it’s Shea from preschool,” I replied, but she declined.

Months later, COVID hit, and we were quarantining. I texted her, “Hey, do you have a pool? If not, we’re leaving town, and you are welcome to come swim with your kids to get them out of the house.” Once again, no response. I thought this particularly rude as I had opened my home up to her.

The next day she reached out to me on FB and asked if we could homeschool our kids together. This is a BIG compliment to invite another family to join you in their quarantine circle. I held my head high, thinking to myself, “she must be able to tell that I’m a great mom. Somebody, she wants her children to be around. You know, a good role model. I called her right away to discuss our options for group homeschooling.

“Hello,” she answers.

“Hi, this is Shea. How are you?”

“Good. I’m at work,” she says in a soft voice.

“Oh, we can chat later,” I assure her.

“No, it’s fine. I can talk for a few minutes. What do you need?” she responds in a monotone voice.

“I wanted to talk about our kids homeschooling together,” I explain.

“Shea, I haven’t decided what we are going to do,” she says.

I’m a little taken back by her less than friendly tone. Nonetheless, I begin to ramble on about the virus and the pros and cons of homeschooling with our family. Inevitably, I divulge more information than I should, as this is my unfortunate shtick.

She stops me and says, “I have to get back to work. I’m not sure about homeschooling together. Let’s maybe first just have a playdate. I’m sure Olivia would like that. But I have to get back to work now.”

“Oh, ya, okay. Umm,  let’s just talk about it later then.” I reply. We get off the phone, and I am feeling rejected and somewhat perplexed.

Now, I’ve mentioned to you before that I struggle with my memory. I confess that I suck with names. It isn’t uncommon for me to avoid using your name even after meeting on multiply occasions. This is by no means a lack of interest, rather an inability to store dates and names in my brain bank. And please don’t plan on me remembering your kids’ names. That will likely take a year due to poor memory. Well, maybe a lack of interest as well, but I would never confess that, of course. Who would be so crass?

But gender, that one I’ve got down. That’s a visual I can remember. I remember Myra has a five-year-old son, not a five-year-old daughter. So who the hell is this Olivia she speaks of?

Suddenly the puzzle pieces are all coming together, the Dr.Jeckle and Mr. Hyde personality and the group text so many months ago. 

How did I determine which number was Myra’s?

Could I have made an incorrect assumption? 

Could I have been inviting a stranger to my home over and over again? 

Who, in God’s name, is Olivia’s mom and what kind of looney does she think I am continually begging her to be my friend?

I quickly jumped on FB and messaged Myra. She confirmed that we had not spoken. Who was this other mystery, mom? She likely assumed I was having a midlife crisis crush on her or sincerely desperate for friends. Either way, I imagine she was a little taken back at the idea of leaving her small children alone with her stalker.

Case solved, Myra is not batshit crazy. 

Until the next mystery, my friends. 

Will we ever know who this other woman is? The mystery continues.

I try to find the lesson in all my stumbles. I haven’t embraced my grays, but I can share some words of wisdom. 

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS!

 

Signing off,

Shea

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