Tonight was the first pie night of the season. Since Lost is a new addition to my Wednesday night, I was unusually short of time tonight. I had about twenty minutes before it started to throw together the pumpkin pies so that they would be ready for Law and Order, when DP and Brother 2 would come over. I started grabbing all the ingredients from the pantry, only to realize that I had completely forgotten that I was almost out of sugar. I only had a little left in a small tupperware container. The recipe called for 1.5 cups. Of course I went to my neighbors first, but they ignored my knocking at their door, and I thought it best not to persist.
The next obvious choice, of course, was Gregory Hines. He lives only a few houses away from me, even though we've managed to make it into different wards. I could have gone to a ward member's house to ask for sugar---you know---get to know people in my ward a little better. But the last time I tried that, I saw a ward member walking around the house in his underwear, and really, I don't need to know my ward members that well. Gregory Hines works with me (or as he once put it, is my coworkers' coworker) and we sat beside each other every day in July and August. So really, if there's anyone I should feel comfortable borrowing a cup of sugar from, it's him.
When I knocked on his door, his roommate answered. He's quite geeky to be completely honest---rather emaciated, ill-fitting clothes, a mock-turtleneckish shirt. He's the type of guy you suspect has a committed relationship with a calculator.
"Is GH here?" I asked.
The roommate looked around. "No. He's not."
"Oh. Well, I'm here to borrow a cup of sugar. Could I borrow a cup from you?"
His grandiose bow indicated to me that I was welcome to enter and I followed him to the kitchen. The last time I was in that kitchen was over a month ago when GH had just moved into the apartment. It was a Sunday and I really wanted crepes but I didn't have vanilla or baking powder. GH offered me some of his roommate's vanilla, but unfortunately the roommate didn't have baking powder (this led to the previously-alluded-to event of the ward-member-in-underwear sighting). We put a couple teaspoons into a little container that I'd brought with me.
Since one feels a certain pressure to try to make conversation with the person who is giving one sugar, and since I was feeling this pressure, I just said what was on my mind: "I actually borrowed vanilla from you once, too. You weren't here, and I really needed it, so GH gave me a little of yours. Thank you."
The whole demeanor of my helper changed. He looked over his bony shoulder at me, then back into his cupboard.
"That would explain why it's lying on its side," he sneered, as if he'd purposely left it on its side this entire month as a reminder that he would have to get to the bottom of the mystery of the horizontal vanilla.
"Yeah, well, I was making crepes, and it was Sunday, so... And I didn't really know anyone in my ward, and GH was here... And I didn't really have anywhere else to go..."
"This is the real stuff. This isn't artificial vanilla, it's the real stuff."
"Yeah. I use the real stuff, too. You know, if you ever need to borrow anything from me, I just live about three houses down."
By this time, he'd brought his bag of sugar out along with a measuring cup. He looked into my tupperware container that already contained sugar.
"What," he said. "Have you been going house to house getting what sugar you need?"
"No," I replied. "I had this sugar already, but I am making pumpkin pies, and this isn't enough."
"Do you need exactly one cup?" he asked.
"Yeah. I do."
At this, he measured out less than one cup, as if there were some sugar shortage and he was only trying to protect his resources. I dumped the sugar into my ration cup and thanked him and left. He certainly didn't even see me to the door. He probably was taking his time making sure he put his sugar back in the cupboard in its proper vertical position. Had GH given me the sugar, I would have invited him to pie night in return. Heck, had GH given me his roommate's sugar, I would have invited him (GH) to pie night in return. Oh well.
When I got home, I dragged the flour bag out of the pantry and found a full package of sugar in behind it. I guess I can cross SUGAR off the grocery list.
**The events as told in this story may be a gross exaggeration, and GH's roommate, if you ever link to my blog from his and read this, I'm very sorry. In that case, this article is completely fictional and I think you are a very good human being.