Humor Magazine

Wherein I Place a Phone Call

By Pearl
I have to call someone I know will appreciate this.
“Herrow,” she says.
I am hurrying from work, heading toward the bus stop, heels clicking on the marble, yoga bag bouncing.   I have stuffed my lunch bag into my purse, and I adjust it as it slips off my shoulder.  “I just witnessed something that, if I could reach it right now, would leave me scratching my head.”
“Oooooh,” Mary says mildly.  “Tell me.”
I push through the front doors, merge into the foot traffic on the sidewalk.  The concrete is wet, the skies a dark, murky soup.  “Well,” I say, “you know the little conversation areas set up in the lobby of the City Center?”
“I am,” Mary says, “going to have to take your word for it.”
“Do,” I say.  “I will never lie to you.”
“Good to know,” she says.
I am at the lights, waiting to cross the street.  A woman with bright purple hair smiles at me, and I smile back.
“I’m leaving the elevator bank, passing this leather couch over there, and there’s this guy sitting there, right?  Good-looking guy, bright blue tee-shirt, and he’s got his cell phone out, and you know what he’s doing?”
“Oh, Holy Hannah,” Mary intones.
I cross the street.  Just ahead, my bus is third in line.
I move the phone from one ear to the other.  “He’s taking a picture of his armpit.”
Mary chokes, then laughs, the sound of drunken elves ransacking an unlocked car.  “He’s what?”
“The guy is taking a picture of his armpit!”  Standing in line for the bus now, the woman in front of me turns around, narrows her eyes at me.  Did I just say what she thought I said?
“That’s right,” I say.  “He’s got his arm up, the sleeve pulled aside, and he’s taking a picture of his armpit, right there in the lobby.  He sees me see him, gets this super weird look on his face.  I don’t know what to say, what kind of expression to have on my face, nothing.”
I wave my bus pass in front of the doohickey and move to the back. 
“So what did you do?”
“What could I do?  I looked away.”
“Very Minnesotan,” Mary nods.
“Mmm,” I say.  I sit down, adjust my purse and bag on my lap.  “So is it?”
“What,” Mary says, “a thing?  Are you asking me if taking a selfie of your armpit is a thing now?”
“Right,” I say.  “That’s my question to you.”
“Well,” Mary says, chuckling, “since Madonna took a picture of her armpit at the end of March, I believe it’s trending.”  And with that, Mary starts to laugh. A woman known to go weak in the knees and fall over in the throes of enjoyment, I listen for what is sure to come next, and I am not disappointed.
There is the sound of her falling off her chair.
“Oh, God,” she says, between breaths.  I picture her laying on her back in the center of her kitchen floor.   “Oh, God.  It’s trending, Pearl.  I’m pretty sure this armpit thing is” – there is a muffled sound, possibly of Mary wiping the tears from her eyes – “this whole thing is trending.”
I start to laugh as well.  Mary and I, raised in a time where recalcitrant cassette tapes were rewound with the eraser-ends of pencils and in a world were potpourri was pronounced "pot purry", do enjoy these modern times.
I look around suddenly, realizing that I'm the woman on the bus talking about someone else having taken a picture of their armpit.
“You know -- and say -- the weirdest things,” I say.  “I gotta go.  I’ll talk to you later.”
“Hey,” Mary says, grinning.  “Hey.”
“Don’t send me any pictures tonight.” 

“I won’t.”

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