Remember my 84 year old Aunt VeVe?
She’s still 84 years old because I jumped the gun last year when I wrote about her and made her 84 years old a couple of months before God did, a lapse in judgment that I regretted for four entire months while hearing BY THE WAY, I AM NOT 84 YEARS OLD YET, THANKS A LOT, to be followed ten minutes later by DID I MENTION I’M NOT 84 YEARS OLD?
So, she’s still 84 years old.
But, she is an inch shorter. Possibly two.
I have to walk very carefully when I go to her house so that I don’t accidentally step on her and squish her.
My mother is up visiting from North Carolina and she, Aunt VeVe, my kids and I all went shopping at the mall the other day.
If I had a dollar for every time I asked “Where’s Aunt VeVe?” and shook the racks hoping she’d fall out of one of them, I’d be wearing approximately two-thirds of New York & Co., right this minute instead of an Old Navy flag t-shirt from eight years ago.
Conversely, it’s relatively easy to spot my mom, even though she’s almost as short as Aunt VeVe. That’s because my mom is always the one with the freakishly high eyebrow arch, standing at the opposite end of the store playing air traffic controller by frantically waving both hands in the air while shouting YOOO HOOOOOO! ANDY! YOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Also, you can see her hair from space.
You can’t see Aunt VeVe’s hair from space. You can barely see her little tuft above the sale rack from two feet away.
And I’m pretty sure Aunt VeVe has never emitted a YOOO HOOOO in public and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
It’s no picnic being the subject of a relentless YOOO HOOOO. People look at you funny and the ground never opens up and swallows you whole, no matter how hard you pray.
Should Aunt VeVe and I ever venture into retail land again, I think I shall outfit her with one of those harness/leash contraptions they make for toddlers who like to wander.
Not that Aunt VeVe wanders, because she doesn’t. She walks with a purpose.
At least, she used to and I assume she still does. I can’t really be certain though because she only comes up to my knees and hence, is out of my field of vision by about two feet.
So, maybe the harness? Except if I yank on it and she wails, we’re liable to draw attention to ourselves and it’s common knowledge that I don’t draw.
Unless we’re talking short sticks. Then I draw all the damn time, whether I like it or not.
Ooh, and conclusions! I’ve gotten so good at these, I don’t even need any information beforehand. I can draw them out of thin air!
Fat air, even!
But anything else, like pictures? Weapons? Water from a well? Attention? Especially undue attention?
No. It’s in my contract.
And God forbid my mother persists in yodeling while I’m yanking and Aunt VeVe is wailing, we’ll probably be kicked out of the mall entirely and my kids will never speak to me again.
Maybe I’ll go the old fashioned route and place a little bell around Aunt VeVe’s neck when she’s not looking?
But then, I risk inadvertently driving her batshit crazy because she won’t know the bell is there and will have no idea why her ears are constantly ringing, forcing her to repeatedly holler WHAT THE HELL IS THAT GOD AWFUL NOISE? DOES ANYBODY ELSE HEAR THAT? And I’ll have no choice but to look at her strangely and respond “What noise? I don’t hear any noise” and then throw her in the car and drive to the local mental health clinic and commit her.
Because no way in hell am I going to admit to my Aunt VeVe that I put a bell around her neck, let alone drove her insane, albeit unintentionally.
You do not want to be on Aunt VeVe’s shit list. Especially if she’s insane.
Aunt VeVe always wears earrings. Her ears have never been naked since the day I first met her, back when I was living in utero.
Maybe I’ll attach a beacon to her earrings and it can shine a strobe light?
She’ll be like a lighthouse!
And nowhere near water.
Then again, the strobe light might hamper her vision and she’ll wind up seeing spots. Then she’ll start bumping into walls and exclaiming OUCH! FOR GOD’S SAKE, ANDY! WHY ARE YOU STANDING IN MY WAY? AND WHY ARE YOU WEARING POLKA DOTS? And I’ll have no choice but to call out “I’m standing all the way over here, Aunt VeVe,” and then throw her in the car and drive her to the local mental health clinic and commit her.
Because if I can’t admit that I tied a bell around her neck and drove her insane, I sure as hell can’t admit I blinded her.
Or that I haven’t worn polka dots since I was seven.
Perhaps a GPS unit somewhere on her person, in a spot where she won’t notice it.
Maybe on her shoe? She never looks down. She’s too busy looking up, trying to peek over the shoulders of the rest of the world.
But what if she changes her shoes? What then? Fling my body on her feet, beg her not to and refuse to budge when she swats me?
I think she’ll be suspicious.
I could simply call her on her cell phone to ascertain her location but Aunt VeVe refuses to use her cell phone unless it’s an emergency.
She’s got a pretty high standard when it comes to what constitutes an emergency. Careening off the fairway in a wayward golf cart and subsequently smashing her knee to smithereens did not meet the threshold. Neither did participation in a three car pileup which shut down a nearby road for hours.
Somehow, I don’t think the fact that I am unable to see her over the clearance rack in JC Penney is going to warrant non-essential cell phone usage.
I could simply shriek AUNT VEVE! WHERE ARE YOU? every five minutes.
But you know how I feel about that whole undue-attention-world-swallowing-me-up type of thing.
And besides, she might get annoyed and tell me to hush up and then where would I be?
I’m running out of options.
A trail of bread crumbs?