“For God’s Sake, Mrs. Robinson!” — Benjamin in The Graduate
When it comes to reinventing herself, Jill could write a how-to book. Among other things, she is into metaphysics, so she sees her frequent metamorphoses as normal. She calls it continuing education; I call it neurotic cramming.
“Jill, your learning tree has more branches than the Bank of America.”
“That’s what makes me an intriguing woman,” she retorted. Pushing one side of her wayward blonde hair behind an ear, she gave me a “mind your own business” stare.
The fact that she buys into every career ad presented on late night television doesn’t bother her. She could have bought a small country with what she’s spent learning to be a dental hygienist, doctor’s receptionist, building contractor, interior designer, court reporter, and more.
Jill is a job junkie.
The most recent career hunt began after meeting her new neighbor, a good-looking Cosmo hunk light years younger than Jill whose name was not Jack. He was single with hair, Harvard MBA graduate with bucks, the man of her dreams.
She watched him water his pansies one day, which should have been a red flag, but Jill is even blonder than blonde. Undaunted, she bolted over to his soggy lawn to get acquainted.
“Hi neighbor!” She morphed into Miss Mary Sunshine, all perky and cute. “I’m Jill from next door and I don’t believe we’ve met.”
He gave her a look before turning back to the pansies. “You’re right. We haven’t.”
I would have turned on my heels and headed straight for the nearest martini bar, but that’s me; I don’t take rejection well. Hunky Harvard’s total lack of interest flew right past Jolly Jill.
“I’m having people over for drinks tonight,” she chirped. “Love for you to join us.”
The hunk shrugged his shoulders without taking his eyes away from the pansies. “Sure,” he mumbled.
At the appointed hour, he rang her bell. (No pun intended.)
The only other living souls in her house that night belonged to Kramer, the appropriately named cat, and Crisco, the overweight Poodle with a penchant for peeing on trousers.
She was about to tell him a bald-face lie, so she lowered her voice. “I hope you don’t mind, but the others canceled. Covid. It gives us a chance to get to know each other. What can I get you to drink?”
Looking grim, he said, “Sapphire martini. Dry. Up. Shaken, not stirred of course. Poured into a chilled, 10-ounce martini glass. Two queen olives.”
Jill deflated faster than a hot air balloon up close and personal with a Stealth Bomber. Sapphire? Chilled martini glass? For Jill, finding two ordinary olives in good condition inside her fridge constituted a major challenge.
“Tell you what, dude,” she said sweetly, batting her baby blues. “Let me pour you a nice glass of chilled wine. It’s from here in Western North Carolina and the produce manager at Ingles said it was tasty.”
The Harvard Hunk bolted out the door as if he had a surface-to-air missile strapped to his rear.
That night, Jill dialed an 800 number and signed up for a course in bartending.
“Never again,” she said, “will I be caught with my pants down,” which in my opinion was poor phraseology since the pants down part was her intent from the get-go.
She finished the bartending course, but was never paid a nickel for tending bar, for good reason. She could mix any drink and even pour it into the proper glass, chilled on request. But she was so slow that a kid celebrating his Bar Mitzvah would graduate from college before Jill finished mixing his mommy’s Cosmopolitan.
After that she announced, “I’m going to be a private detective.”
“I signed up for an exciting course I saw on Channel 67. It’s called, “Everything You Need to Know to be a Snoop.”
“Too bad the government doesn’t know about it. Think of the money they could save by closing down the FBI. They should beat it over to Channel 67 and save taxpayers some big bucks.”
“And guess what else? I’ll be meeting a bunch of hunks. Young ones.”
I roll my eyes, stifle a giggle and try not to think of pansies. “Good luck with that, Jill. Better not serve them any North Carolina wine.”
She cocked her head. “Your sarcasm says you’re just jealous of my exciting life once I’m a full-fledge detective with a license and everything.”
“You won’t be carrying a gun, will you?”
She sniffed. “Well, not at first, but I’m sure that can be arranged, in time.”
Maybe there is a bartending refresher course she should consider taking. We’ll all be better off getting hammered as opposed to dealing with a Jill packing heat.