A few years ago, while living in a city 7000 feet above sea level, I complained to a Nurse Practitioner at our family doctor’s office of pain in my ribcage. Perhaps, I said, it’s that I’ve got some ribs out of place? Maybe it’s that it’s expanded because of the altitude? I was born and raised, basically, at sea level. With a kind smile (benevolent and wise woman that she was,) she suggested a trip to the lingerie store (???) and being properly fitted for a brassiere. Doubting Thomasina that I am, I thought she was kidding but I followed her advice.
Lo and behold, the next evening I found myself standing in the middle of a Victoria’s Secret store, surrounded by pink frothy underwear that made me (the woman in the jeans, sweatshirt and Converse sneakers) want to run out in horror. My husband and J were fascinated by their surroundings and we had to tell J this was a “look but don’t touch” store. In all honesty, I think J was so close to nirvana at that moment that he wouldn’t have touched anything if we’d paid him to do so. At the end of half an hour I walked out of the store with a clear understanding of the dimensions of my body and owning two very expensive and inordinately large bras that, to this day, I cannot believe are mine when I put them in my underwear drawer.
I’ve mentioned before that, on one particularly harrowing night during J’s behavioral crisis, I taught him how to fold underwear. He is the kind of guy who will gladly work his way through a basket of clean underwear and knows where to store it…except for the ONE bra. Much like Achilles and his heel, J has a weak spot and it’s something that came from Victoria’s Secret. This bra doesn’t pose a problem because of its provocative nature; quite the contrary: this bra is as discreet and motherly as they come, especially considering that it was bought in a store that supposedly caters to the young, lithe, limber, nubile females of this world. The problem posed by this bra is that the material is not very responsive to folding attempts.
J considers himself the organizer in the household. Something goes where he approves it to go, whether for permanent placement or storage. That J is very familiar with the one drawer in the bathroom cabinet where I keep my make-up, facial cleaners, nail polish, combs, etc. is no surprise. Whenever we move, he follows me around to memorize what each room’s function is and its layout. It is my habit to keep my make-up in a cosmetics bag in the bathroom drawer and to leave the bottles of oddly-colored nail polish to roam free as I open and close said drawer. Inevitably, I will find the nail polish bottles crammed into the bag with the rest of the make-up. I’d give you three guesses as to who does this when I’m not looking, but that would be an unnecessary courtesy on my part.
Last night I was getting ready to curl up with my book and I brought said book and a new bottle of nail polish upstairs. I could hear my husband and The Great Gonzo laughing at a cheesy B-movie in the basement, and J was in his room happily engaged in listening to music. Before heading to my room, I placed my book and nail polish on the banister upstairs and popped in to ask J if there was anything he needed from me; he asked for his cookies and water so we moved down to the kitchen to get his snack. After satisfying his request, I finished wiping the kitchen counter and J headed upstairs to his room. Five minutes later I walked past his door, grabbed my book and realized he was in my room, putting away all my nail polish. Oh, thanks, J, I told him, and he tinkered around the bathroom for a few seconds while I started taking all the toss pillows off our bed. Suddenly, I turned around and he was directly behind me, a confused look on his face. What’s up? J grabbed my right hand and put a wad of something in it. When I looked down I recognized The Troublesome Bra, that feat of Army Corps of Engineers skill and execution, was being tightly pressed into the palm of my hand. J was holding it down with his hand as he reached out to grab MY left hand.
J looked as if he was handling the mother of all hot potatoes. The urgency of his movements was quite funny, and it seemed to me that I could hear him say quick, quick…it’s going to get LOOSE if we don’t contain it properly!!!!!! This bra is made of some sort of rubber-like material that is firmly shaped, well, like a BRA. Its size is not small or medium. This is a large thing with quite a structure to it, and -whenever I put it on- I feel like I’m attempting to part the Red Sea with my chest. J is not fooled by the embroidered flowers on this thing, he knows it has a mind of its own because he’s tried to fold it, unsuccessfully, in the past. Last night, as I held the bra, he held my hands together quite insistently and, this is the kicker, with his FOOT he opened my underwear drawer. Indiana Jones would have attempted something similar, I suppose, if he’d been in a similar situation. I tried to explain to J that it’s just…well…BOUNCY material, but that it doesn’t bounce spontaneously, that it’s not inhabited by some spirit that would require us to wrestle it into the drawer as he was making us do.
In the end, the bra was ensconced in the drawer, neatly tucked in after a strap broke loose (J looked at it like it was a tentacle from Leviathan itself,) and J sat at the foot of the bed with a look that signified “whew!!! THAT was close!” A few seconds later, after a glance at my room and taking over hanging some blouses and pants I’d left on the back of my rocking chair, picking up my earrings and putting them in the small basket I keep in the bathroom and bringing my Muppet slippers to my side of the bed, J felt like his work was done. He was heading out the door as I decided to get a pair of socks out of the drawer and, hearing the distinct clink of the handle on wood, he ran and stopped my hand. You don’t want to release it again, do you?, his eyes seemed to say. Then he went around my side of the bed and turned on the electric blanket…You don’t need socks tonight, lady. Leave that drawer be!
I climbed into bed and said good night. With a quick glance over his shoulder, J left the room with a huge smile on his face. He had fought The Troublesome Bra and been victorious. Time to call it a night…
At around midnight I decided I needed those socks and I got up to grab them from my drawer. BOINNNNNNGGGG! The Bra bounced out. A little shaken, I grabbed it and crammed it into the drawer and went back to sleep. Best not tell J that the thing IS alive…I’ll never hear the end of it.