Nearly all of the holiday decorations are deployed at the home of the Parent Imperfect. Ms. Connie is sitting on the couch pounding out her own version of “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Can the holiday be far away?
There is no snow on the ground yet, but the signs of winter are all around the PI. Last week came the assigned evening for Vince and Connie to pick up the ski equipment that will make possible their participation in the YES Program this year. Since the PI had not gotten around to returning last year’s equipment yet, that had to happen, as well.
The PI had the audacity to go to a meeting at The Boston Foundation about the ongoing crisis in Haiti, so Liz would have the special joy of navigating the chaos that overtakes YES on these evenings.
The PI expected to hear from a reconstruction official of the Haitian government, but there was no official to be found. Perhaps he had to stay home because of the political crisis resulting from the very questionable elections that had just happened in his country. Instead, the Haiti representative of Action Aid gave his view of the situation, which was probably more interesting than what any government official could have said.
The wonders of SMS text allowed the PI to send Dear Vince a message to be sure that all was well at YES. It took at least 15 minutes, but Vince’s response finally popped up on the PI’s Blackberry.
“They wouldn’t give us anything because you were so late returning our equipment from last year.”
“But Will told me not to bother making an extra trip to return equipment,” thought the PI. “I knew I should have gone there! Why hadn’t Liz called him?” Because there is no cell service in the friendly confines of the Boston Foundation, of course!
Unable to get Vince on the phone, no matter where he stood, he tried texting again. The text seemed to go through, but there was never any guarantee. “I can’t believe that we’re going to have to make another trip down there for skis.”
Seeing no alternative, he put on his coat and headed to the elevator, missing the conclusion reminding people how they could help in Haiti. He was completely outside the building lobby before he had a decent cell signal. As always, Vince didn’t answer, but at least Liz had her phone with her.
“Did you remind Will that he had said that we didn’t need to return the equipment until tonight?,” he asked Liz, without bothering to say hello or ask how she was doing after a harried visit to YES.
“Uhhhhh…did you talk to Vince?”
“No. Of course he didn’t answer his phone. He texted me saying that they didn’t give you the equipment.” His question hung in the cellosphere as Liz let out a long sigh.
“They did give us the equipment. He was just playing your own game with you.”
The PI could feel the smug teenager smiling in the seat next to his mother.
“You’re kidding. I couldn’t contact him, so I ran out of the meeting to make sure you knew to talk to Will. I’m all the way out on the street.”
“I can’t believe he texted you…” The PI could hear Vince in the background, “Tell him it was your idea.”
“Oh…so you were involved in the big joke, too?”
“Yes, but I thought he was going to call you and then, of course, tell you he was kidding. You know it’s exactly the kind of thing you would do…”
The PI quickly got off the phone, not knowing if he should laugh or shout. He thought about going back through security to the elevator and then to the tenth floor, but the meeting was probably over, anyway. Instead, he turned toward Back Bay Station and the return subway to Stony Brook. The subway ride was good, calming his own frustrations with Vince for leading him on a wild good chase. He had, after all, only been giving him the early Christmas present of some of his own medicine.
When the PI arrived home, Vince was hard at work on Math, hoping to avoid the worst of the PI’s wrath. When he saw that there was no wrath, the Math quickly gave way to the cell phone. Between texts, Vince apologized for causing the PI to run out of his meeting, but he had a very difficult time doing it with a straight face.