Sometimes I think I have a very thick skull. Things don’t get through very easily, though once they’re in, they rattle around for a while before I can get rid of them. Engagements rarely register before I see the engagee (or their floating heels) in person. As a result, I am incapable of behaving as I’m told I should behave when I hear that someone is engaged.
I had very little contact with my first engaged friend at the time of her engagement. So I heard she was engaged, said mazal tov, and proceeded to forget about it until I found myself at her wedding thinking, “Oh my goodness! She’s getting married!”
I did a drop better by Friend #2, but not considerably so. I was in middle of walking downstairs when she called and said, “Hi, I’m engaged.” I paused mid-stride to absorb this interesting piece of information. “Now why did you go and do that?” I asked.
In case anyone here thinks it’s a cute line and that they’ll try it on a friend one day, it isn’t and don’t. We made up three days later.
Anyway, I was racking my brain for the file labeled “things to say to someone who’s just told you that they’re engaged” and found it empty. Luckily, by then I was in the kitchen, and my sister, getting the gist of the conversation, yanked the phone from my hand and did the screechy-dance you see girls do when their friends get engaged. She asked all the right questions and hung up for me, after which my entire family roundly lambasted me for “keeping it a secret” for all of 30 seconds.
I don’t know what they were upset about. I’m not exactly histrionic at my noisiest. I can confidently declare that I will never jump on a chair and screech at a mouse. One my mother thought a mouse was invading a cabinet. I opened the cabinet and – serendipity – caught it red handed. It jumped from shelf two to shelf one, and my fist, apparently on its own, reached out to pin its tail. A split second after my brain kicked in and asked, “Is this wise?” to which my fist replied, “Does it matter?” Luckily I missed. My mother heard the thump of contact with the shelf and asked, “What are you doing?”
But apparently a bit of screech is expected, so I did a drop better by Friend #3. About a week earlier she’d mentioned an idea for a practical joke that included insinuating engagement on her part, and I had guffawed heartily because, ha – it was a good one. So there we were, about to start studying, and she’s flipping to the right page. “Hold on… a sec… found it. OK, ready? Oh wait – I almost forgot. I’m engaged.”
I laughed, figuring this was another joke. “Engaged, eh?” I leaned back in my chair. “Since when?”
“Last night, 11 pm. I know you go to sleep early and wouldn’t want to be disturbed for something like this.”
“Yep,” I agreed. “I wouldn’t want to be woken for news of my own engagement. But seriously…” Then I paused and considered the conversation. “Wait a sec – you are serious, aren’t you?”
Having learned my lesson well, I asked her to wait just one minute, put the phone down, went to the stairs and bellowed, “Friend #3 is engaged!” There was a lot of shouting and door bursting as a response, but I was back at my desk asking some of the questions I remembered my sister asking after Friend #2. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I really don’t care who set them up or where he was born or any of the other stuff people ask. The important point is that a friend is happily engaged. The exciting part is seeing her shiny eyes and listening to her gushy conversation. Especially the part where she says (invariably) “I’m not going to be ‘engaged’ so don’t you dare accuse me of it.” To which I have learned to roll my eyes and say, soothingly, “No dear. You’re not the slightest bit ‘engaged.’ Nobody would guess, that’s how cool and with-it you are.”
So the way Friend #6 handled her engagement last night was perfect for me. (Disclaimer to Friend #6 if she’s reading this [which I doubt, because she’s currently commuting above the traffic lights, and probably can’t reach something as terrestrial as a keyboard]: not #6 in importance, just #6 in engagement lineup.) I was chatting with her sister when she popped on to ask me over for ice cream motzai Shobbos. When I said I couldn’t make it, she handed the phone back to her sister. “She was inviting you to her vort,” her sister explained. “Really? Mazal tov,” I said. “Now, what were we saying?”
I must be getting faster on the uptake, though, because by this morning it had sunk in. I gave her a ring. She assured me that she has no intention of acting “engaged” and that I should slap her if she ever lapses into it. If I’d taken her seriously, she would have been a fitting poster model for the abuse hotline advertisements before 9 am this morning.
Engagements. So much fun. But no screeching necessary.
If nobody got the idea: the singles club has shrunk by one. Party time!