Mrs (round the bend) Ramirez!

Mrs (round the bend) Ramirez!

Not many people liked Mrs Ramirez. There were a lot of reasons why, and one of them was that she tended to over-react to situations a bit. Well, to tell you the truth, that’s an understatement. Who was Mrs Ramirez?  She was my neighbour in San Diego, USA. She was also an extremely eccentric lady. It was a practice of hers to invite at least one person over for tea to her house every week. Each time I saw the invitee go up I’d feel sympathetic, because Mrs Ramirez was an oddball as far as interior deco goes. She was, in her own words, a “bird person”, which meant that she loved birds. So, her walls had green feather wallpaper to “represent my love for the native South American Oleaginous Hemispingus”. And she collected bird statuettes. More importantly, she was a terrifyingly terrible cook.

Anyway, one day the dreaded time came when I was the invitee. As expected, I tried everything: faking a cough, faking a cold, faking fever and faking studying for a ‘biology test’ the next day. But, of course, there was one pair of see-through glasses that saw through every (fake) plan of mine: Mom. She made me go. Well, I should have avoided the fake biology test scheme. The next day was Sunday!

So up I went at 3.30 pm (Mrs Ramirez was in bed by 5.00 pm), bracing myself for cardboard cookies, waxy cakes and what she considered to be tea.
“Ah, Natasha, you’re here!”
“Hi, Mrs Ramirez!”
“Do you notice anything… different?”
“Uh… Your potted plants look yellower? Those flowers are new? You bought new shoes?”
“No, no and no! My feather wallpaper isn’t parrot green anymore, it’s sap green! Didn’t you notice? Now, why don’t you make yourself comfortable and watch some TV while I get our tea ready?”
So I settled down to watch TV. Mrs R had inserted a DVD (some documentary on birds), and with the volume turned up so high I think we were heard on the other side of town! I turned down the volume just as she walked in carrying a tray piled high.
“Oh, just press the ‘Source’ button, sweetie. That’ll change it to regular TV. I know you won’t be interested in my documentaries!”
That’s just what I did. As we sat there, eating, she suddenly said, “Can you hear at all? Turn up the volume, dearie.”
“But Mrs Ramirez, I can hear everything perfectly!”
She panicked.

“Can you? Seriously, can you? Oh no, oh no, oh no! I’ve dreaded this day since… what do they call it? Kinder garden? I’m going deaf! Aaaaah!!” she said, and stood up suddenly.
I think the only person in that room who was going deaf was me. What with her ranting and raving about how she shouldn’t be the one going deaf, and the sound of the china breaking on the floor, my poor ears hurt.
“We’ve got to go to the doctor!”
“Okay, Mrs R. First of all, you’re not going deaf!”
“Yes, I am. Yesterday, I didn’t hear the announcer at the station and missed my train. I didn’t hear the bell ring, and so didn’t get the milk in time. That spoilt too! Then I didn’t hear the sound of my glasses falling down. They broke! Then...”
“I still think you’re not deaf...”
 “Not yet, but I’m going deaf! Now can we leave? I’m seriously panicking!”
“Uh, okay, if you’re sure, let’s go…”
As we went down Mom saw us.
“Mrs Ramirez!” she said. “How’s the tea coming along?”
“Sorry, I can’t hear you!” screamed a completely freaked out Mrs Ramirez. I grinned at my mom.

When we reached the doctor’s place, we found a seat and sat down.
Wait, I should back up a bit. We stopped on the way because I wanted some chips, and Mrs R caused a scene because she “couldn’t hear the cashier!! Aaaaah!”
The same happened at every stop: the fishmonger (“I didn’t hear the shopkeeper’s gossip update!”) and in the car (“I can’t hear the radio!”). I tried telling her that the radio wasn’t even on, but of course, she was too busy being hysterical about her supposed deafness.

Back to the clinic. She started to explain the situation to the doctor. I could tell that the doctor knew there was no way she was going deaf so suddenly. But he had a good sense of humour and decided to break the news to her lightly.
“Mrs Ramirez, can you hear me?” he asked.

“Why, yes, of course! I’m not deaf yet, you know,” she said indignantly.
He took a step back and repeated his question. This continued until he was practically leaning on his pale blue wall (much nicer than Mrs R’s). Each time, there came the same offended reply.

“I can hear you very clearly, doctor. I don’t need to be tested in such a mocking way.”
“Mrs Ramirez, if you can hear me so well, then there’s absolutely no way you’re deaf, is there?”

As we drove back to my house, Mrs R said, “Inexperienced doctors are bound to give such answers.”

We reached home, and she went up saying that it was her bedtime. Hours later, after I narrated the incident to a very puzzled Mom and Dad, we all got into bed laughing.
And we didn’t hear any more claims from our dear neighbour for a very long time after that.

Aditi Ramakrishnan, Class VII ‘G’, Delhi Public School, Bangalore North.

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