Help, I’m Suddenly Single, and I Can’t Get Up, or Down, or Anything!

Operator: “911, what’s your emergency?”
TOS: “Well, um, my wife and kids are gone. I’m not sure what to do.”
Operator: “Gone? How long have they been missing?”
TOS: “Uh, well. They’re not so much missing. They’re just, you know. Gone.”
Operator: “I don’t understand.”
TOS: “You see, my oldest daughter is doing a study abroad semester in New Zealand, and my wife went with her to get her set up over there. They’ve been gone almost a full day now. And my youngest, well, she is away at the University of Arkansas. I’m all alone.”
Operator: “I see. Are you in any danger?”
TOS: “Well. I’m hungry. And I think the microwave is broken. And the washer is making a sound like a wounded coyote. I’m a little scared.”

Operator: “Calm down, sir. I need you to remain calm. How long have you been married?”
TOS: “Uh. Twenty-uh. Twenty-six years. Why? The washer’s growling now. I think it’s angry. Oh, God.”
Operator: “Relax, sir. Just breathe. Breathe deeply through your nose. Slow, steady breaths. Has your wife been away for any extended period of time during your marriage?”
TOS: “Huh? I . . . well, no. I don’t think. Uh, wait, she went to visit her sister once a few years ago, but I stayed with relatives then. Why?”
Operator: “Sir, you’re experiencing OFSW. Do you have a paper bag you can breathe into?”
TOS: “OS – what? I’m starting to see spots.”
Operator: “OFSW. Over-Functioning Spousal Withdrawal. Are you drinking liquids? You need to stay hydrated—and remain calm.”
TOS: “Well, I’ve had some beers. That’s liquid.”
Operator: “No, sir, you need water. Drink a glass of water, with nothing else in it. And find a place to sit down.”

TOS: “OK. OK, I’m sitting on the floor now. I have the dog’s water bowl. Ralph looks scared, too. He doesn’t look so good.”
Operator: “Ralph? Who’s Ralph?”
TOS: “The dog. He’s looking at me with this panicked expression, like he did when we had ringtail cats in the attic. Take it easy, boy.”
Operator: “Are you OK, sir?”
TOS: “I think. We’re sharing the water bowl now. Ralph was really thirsty. This water tastes like kitty litter.”
Operator: “I need you to listen to me, sir. Do you have anything in the fridge to eat? Vegetables, cheese, any frozen dinners?”

TOS: “I’m at the fridge now. There are some Hungry Mans in the freezer. The salisbury steak kind. My favorite. But like I said, the microwave isn’t working.”
Operator: “What about the oven?”
TOS: “The what?”
 
Operator: “Never mind. What seems to be wrong with the microwave? Maybe I can help you diagnose it over the phone.”
TOS: “I don’t know! The button and the thing with the deal, when I push it, nothing happens and then I get this beeping warning thing and the light goes off, and, and … I don’t know!”
Operator: “Sir, breathe into the bag. Slowly. Let’s just forget about the microwave for now. Look in the crisper.”
TOS: “The whatter?”
Operator: “Crisper. The crisper, sir. It’s the drawer in the fridge that has vegetables, you know. Green things like lettuce and broccoli.”
TOS: “Green things? Wait, let me look. Oh. Hey, I’ll be darned. So that’s where the carrots are. I thought maybe she bought them fresh every day or something.”
Operator: “OK, good. Take out a carrot and . . .”
TOS: “[Crunch, crunch.] Not the best thing to eat, but it’s all right, I guess.”
Operator: “Did you wash it?”
TOS: “Wash what? Hey, Ralph likes carrots! How ’bout that? I need meat, though. And the beer’s gone.”
Operator: “Are you starting to feel better, sir? How’s your breathing?”
TOS: “Uh oh. The washer’s starting to walk toward me. You should hear this thing. Sounds like a John Bonham drum solo.”
Operator: “You may have overloaded it. You put in just one load, didn’t you?”
TOS: “Well, everything that was dirty. And my coat. I had to stand on the load to get it all in. Wait, I can see suds now. Oh, man, here it co—.”
Operator: “Just try to stay calm, sir. We have an OFSW officer on the way. Sir? Sir?”
TOS: “Bllbbbblb.”

Roger White is a freelance hermit living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a morbidly obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr Syndrome. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

Burleson Star

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