Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Yet Another Bowtie Emergency

I have been in love with my friend Claire since she showed up in seventh grade. There have been long periods of time when I did not see her, but over the last decade I've seen her once or twice a year, usually when I'm in San Francisco where she now lives. She won't live there much longer, though, at least not precisely, because next month she is getting married and, along with her teenage daughter, she is moving across the bay to San Leandro to join her new husband's household.

I'm not entirely sure why (although I'm pervasively delighted), but Claire's upcoming wedding has increased the frequency of our contact. This started when Claire called as soon as she became engaged, which wasn't even a save-the-date call since there was no set date yet. This is good, of course, but it's not as if we have an adult history of calling each other like this to announce important things (even her pregnancy and her daughter's birth). Her daughter, though, always seemed to view me with more signifance than a yearly visit might logically imply; when she was about seven she asked her mother very seriously why she didn't just marry me.

It turns out that Claire's impending husband also seems to think of me as holding significance to Claire. I met him when I visited two years ago and I really liked what I saw, by which I mean I saw something in how Claire was around him and how he was around Claire and how all of them were around their children that was, well, a rare thing for me to see at all. He drove me home after a long day, and before I left the car I was so taken with what I had sensed that day that I said something completely out of line like, "This is not my business or my place to say, and I'm just a friend of Claire's who drops by when I'm in town, but I wanted to tell you that it would be nice if I had occasion to see you again, as in if you were still part of Claire's life when I'm next in town." I know that could be seen as very strange or rude, but really, I felt almost compelled to say something about what I had sensed and I was struggling for a way to express it.

Well, I may not be entirely sure of the words I used that night, but Chris remembered them exactly and repeated them to Claire and this apparently became something they talked about a bit because six months later when I was next in town and Chris was indeed still around they made it extremely clear to me how much significance they gave to what I said. Chris, in fact, seemed very touched indeed. To which I honestly say, "Huh?"

Claire called this morning as I was leaving for work. I was running about 45 minutes late, which is unusual, and the ringing phone at that time was also unusual (and it wasn't even 7am for Claire at that point), so the conversation felt surreal to begin with. Claire on the phone was the charmingly scattered self that I remember so vividly from junior high. She said, "You have a collection of bow ties, right?" Well, yes, in a way, as a subset of my vintage tie accumulation. "As in what you'd wear with a tux?" Oh. So I explained that my bow ties (of which I do have many, both clip-on and hand-tie) are from the 40s and 50s and have modernistic and novelty prints. With a tux, I said, you wear formal ties. And you wear formal ties of a size and shape that go along with the tux itself, so while I do have several black bow ties that I can get away with for orchestra concerts I'm not sure they'd go with a modern tux on a groom.

Claire then asked about pastel bow ties and I stopped her right there and said that I would put all of my black bow ties in the mail for her and she could see whether any of them seemed right (one of them actually might, I realized when I checked) and if not we could take it from there, as getting a bow tie is not a difficult thing and I'd be happy to do that. "Could you tie Chris's tie for him if it were a bow tie?" Yes, I assured her, quite happily.

I'll try to get the ties out this weekend, I said, but after I hung up I went searching and found that I had a large padded envelope on hand so I packed up eight black bow ties of various sizes and styles. Since by that point it was after 9am I stopped off at the local post office on the way to work so within fifteen minutes of getting that call a package of bow ties was off in the mail.

Which I thought was just a great way to begin the day.
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