My dad was in the hospital last week and I realized, while sitting in the emergency department waiting for him to get a room (Ha! You actually can say that and not be talking about Michael Bolton and Nicolette Sheridan) that there is an unwritten rule of the universe that when you look your worst is precisely the moment when you will run into The Old Boyfriend.
I realize this must sound shallow, but my dad would expect nothing less from his youngest born.
I crouched behind some sterilizing gizmo to avoid running into a boyfriend I hadn't seen in 30 years because, let's face it, there's nothing like a pre-dawn trip to the E.D. to make you look your best. I'm talking oily hair, no make up, mismatched sweats, the whole not-so-fabulous at 50 picture.
He turned out to be a doctor, you see. And when I heard him being paged to the E.D., I nearly threw up on my tangerine velour pants. And, yes, they are every bit as hideous as they sound.
While my dad slept peacefully, I peeked around the curtain. Good. No sign of High School Boyfriend. Just like him to be late. Some things never change. Jerk. People could be DYING in here while he just sits around and plays with his stupid Hacky Sack. Oh. Did I mention he DUMPED me?
I got mad all over again thinking about it. My dad, I think, asked me what those alarms were that were going off beside his heart monitor.
"Huh? What? I dunno," I said.
"Why are you crouched like that? Let's open the curtain a little and get some air in here?"
"Sorry, can't," I said with what I hoped sounded like authority. "There could be germs and stuff out there. Besides, I have absolutely NO MAKEUP ON."
"What's that got to do with anything?"
Men. Even in a gown covered with what looks like pawprints, they are way too logical.
For generations, women have hidden behind pyramids of apples when they spy an old beau in the grocery store. We never run into Significant Old Boyfriend (SOB) unless we look like dog doo.
Remember that great, sad Dan Fogelberg song where he runs into his ex lover on the street one day and they proceed to relive old memories and share some wine?
Never happen. Why? She'd see him first, then hit the floor looking for an imaginary lost contact until he got out of the store and she could buy her stool softener in peace.
I'm sure lives were saved all around us that day, including mine when I heard those wonderful words:
"Oh, he's not on today; call somebody else."