my dear friend marabeth has a problem. the problem is that she cannot get away with anything. so much so that it has become a catch phrase for us to say “marabeth gets busted. ten times out of ten”.
the thing is, marabeth rarely does anything that would land her in trouble in the first place. after all, i’m the deviant out of the two of us. she is honest to a fault, ultra considerate and very conscientious. while i, on the other hand, am a bit less so on all three counts. (i’m working on this).
one of the first times i realized how vulnerable maz was to getting ‘caught out’ was when we ‘borrowed’ a new van from the baha’i world center in haifa, israel. these vans are strictly meant for use on the baha’i property, or for work related purposes. marabeth had needed the van earlier in the day for a legitimate reason, and we figured while she had it we would take a quick harmless detour to the store.
our trip went smoothly until we went to park the van later on that evening. there was another car parked very closely to the entrance of the parking lot resulting in marabeth entering the gates to the lot at an awkward angle. suddenly she was inches from scraping the side of the brand new van against the brick wall.
i don’t remember how helpful i was in this situation, but i have a feeling i was probably sitting in the front seat and laughing so hard i couldn’t breathe, while she panicked. there was no going forward, or reversing without doing some damage…and we couldn’t just sit there diagonally blocking part of the street and the entrance way…so she had to pull out and we heard the crunch of metal. no good.
of course a report had to be filled explaining the ‘accident’ and i’m sure eyebrows were raised as to why the van was being returned several hours after it was expected. incident one.
incident two that i recall was even worse because marabeth was busted for something that i encouraged (okay, perhaps bullied) her to do.
once again, this took place in haifa. i’m cringing even thinking about it. so we had a pizza party where we bought small individual pizza bases and people chose their toppings etc. we overestimated and there were about 15 pizza bases left over. one day i was tired of them taking up all the room in our freezer. they were well past the use-by date and all frost bitten. time to dispose. israel doesn’t exactly have the most efficient garbage removal system. in fact, i can’t really recall what we did with our trash (the residue NZer in me wants to write ‘rubbish’).
anyway, i decided, genius as i am – that it would be hilarious to frisbee them out of the window of our apartment (we were on the 3rd floor). i figured they were biodegradable and they’d become compost in a matter of days. i frisbeed the first one out of the window into the night sky and collapsed laughing as it spiraled through the air and landed on the road below. there were some poor pedestrians looking up at the sky examining these mini dough ufo’s and i was on a roll. marabeth watched me with concern and i berrated her for being such a ‘grandma’, for not ever ‘letting go’ and having some fun. i teased her about not being spontaneous until i finally coerced her into throwing one of the pizza bases out the window. she gave in. i died laughing.
the rest of the bases i took care of in the same manner and then happily skipped off to a friday night talk.
i came home to a very steely marabeth. she then explained to me how minutes after i had left, our downstairs israeli neighbor had come up to our door in a rage and furiously demanded that marabeth go downstairs and pick up every last soggy pizza base remnant from the road and the garden below. it had started to rain so as you can imagine how much fun it was clambering through mud in the dark fishing out semi-defrosted dough while a rather scary israeli woman watched on. using a tone i’d never heard before, marabeth quietly but firmly informed me that i was going to march downstairs with flowers that she had bought and apologize to the neighbor and inform her that i was the culprit of this prank-gone-wrong. luckily the woman had calmed down a little bit when i got to her door. still, i felt awful.
there was also the time marabeth tried to be ‘helpful’ by cleaning out the fridge of a friend’s apartment that we were staying in while our flat was being painted. once again, there was the dillema of how to dispose of trash…and so going off the advice of another friend she decided to flush foodstuffs down the toilet. it all seemed to be going well until the last flushing and the random green olive that bobbed around in the water.
a few hours later while marabeth and i were in our room – me on the phone and her trimming her hair, we heard the other flatmate in the bathroom making concerned sounds. we then heard her flush the toilet followed by her exclaiming, ‘uh oh!’.
again she flushed. and that’s probably when it hit us that the whole ‘disposal’ idea was not such a good idea. and we hid in our room and pretended to be asleep. long story short, the toilet overflowed and it was marabeth’s fault for trying to be a good houseguest.
there are countless other incidents. but i was reminded of all this again tonight when i checked my work email to see a message sent out by my boss to the entire marketing department with the subject line ‘missing lamp!’.
today marabeth and i had rearranged our workspaces in the office and she had found a lamp that no one was using – or so she thought. she dusted it off, and placed it on her desk. opening up this email i see that our boss had himself placed this lamp in the newly renovated office and was quite concerned about where it had disappeared to. marabeth had to email him and basically admit she had taken it.
it just reinforced to us that even things that no one else would ever get in trouble for, she manages to get busted for.
ten times out of ten.