“Waiter, there is an old woman in my soup. If it is not too much trouble could you call 911 and refill our water please?”
I put on the dreaded panty girdle because I cannot hold my breath all day. I have tried. I look angry and slightly constipated. When I exhale, I look four months pregnant. The black pencil skirt tells no lies. I should have just worn pants, but I am a team player.
The restaurant I selected fit all of the criteria for business lunches with Mr. Fussy Pants (My boss). It was loud, cheap, with good food and no paper napkins. Our reservation was for one o’clock. The girdle of doom had caused a rash and a horrible itch by ten. It seemed logical to take it off and stuff it into my purse rather than walk around the office scratching my ass. The plan was to put it back on before lunch. I forgot.
Lunch went smoothly. I only had to kick Fussy under the table a few times. The investors we were meeting with seemed pleased. It was time to get the hell out while I was ahead.
I requested the check. The waiter went to fetch it. I was silently congratulating myself for a job well done. I exhaled. Unfortunately, at the same time I was breathing a sigh of relief, the old woman at the table next to me stopped breathing. She apparently swallowed wrong and started to choke.
The waiter came back with the check. When he heard the wheezing he stopped dead in his tracks and stared—At Me! I scanned the area. Everyone was looking...
Granny continued to hack.
Silently I reviewed the procedures for the Heimlich maneuver smiling inanely to project a feeling of calm control and digging through my bag for my cell phone. I reasoned that as long as Mee-Maw was coughing she was not going to die. The worst thing that could happen is that she would barf and frankly, I did not want her barfing on me (Go-ahead call me evil, I deserve it).
Calmly I pulled crap out of my purse and found my phone. If she stopped coughing because her airway truly was obstructed, I would need 911 or BFSK (Best friend since kindergarten) the nurse, to talk me through this.
"Are you going to do something to help her?" Estelle Getty from another table shouted at me. Everyone including the bastards at my own table wanted to know why I was not doing anything.
Do I look like Marcus Freaking Welby? What do these people think I am supposed to do?
I considered rushing to her side and screaming “Put your arms up! Put your arms up!" while shaking the crap out of her, because that is what Big Judes (My Mom) used to do to me as a child, but I know from experience that all that does is make the screaming person feel better. It does nothing for the person choking.
Instead, I reluctantly stood and patted the old bat on the back (It is no secret that I am missing the nurturing gene). This is the best I could do. As predicted, Granny seized until she yaked in her napkin. Lovely. I must say she felt much better afterwards.
I on the other hand did not.
I weakly sat back in my chair and wiped my brow with my own napkin.
Except that my napkin-- Was not my napkin.
It was the panty girdle.
As if I needed further proof that no good deed goes unpunished.