My mother and sister have the same winter coats, the exact same. Land’s End, navy blue down with a fur lined hood. They bought them AFTER I sent them a link to a navy blue down coat with a fur lined hood that I bought, Ralph Lauren, on sale. Somehow we have become a same-coat-wearing family. Over Thanksgiving weekend we were altogether walking around Boston in matching coats, looking like there might be a story behind us. “Were they once in an outdoor band?” people speculated.
On Thanksgiving Day, my sister went to work and my mother and I were heading to my aunt’s house. Approaching the car my mother said “I think Kristen is wearing my coat and I’m wearing hers” she laughed. These are the type of things that happen when you wear the same clothes as other family members. It’s a price you have to pay. Two steps later the laughter turned to panic. “The car keys are in my coat. She has the keys. We can’t go anywhere. Jesus Christ! We need those keys”
I was already in solution mode. I called Kristen, left a voicemail “You have the keys, we are coming to the restaurant to get the keys”
I called a taxi “We need a round trip, we are just picking up keys and coming back”
No response. The taxi guy was gone.
I called back. No answer. I called back again. No answer. I tell my mother what is going on.
She tells me to look for another taxi. She can’t friggin believe this shit is happening.
There are no quotes in that last sentence but that is a quote.
My phone starts ringing, its Kristen!
“Hi! I’m sorry; we are trying to get a taxi…” I say
She interrupts “I don’t have Mum’s coat on. I wore another coat. Her coat is in the closet. The keys are in the closet in the coat”
“Ok thanks” I say and hang up.
“Your coat is in the closet, ma”
“How the hell and I am supposed to know where my coat is?” she said, for the first time.
There was no major problem. The keys weren’t missing. We weren’t going to miss Thanksgiving dinner. My mother had simply put on the wrong coat. We laughed about it for a good ten minutes then we were on our way.
As the story was retold, my mother would reiterate “How the hell am I supposed to know where my coat is?” this only prolonged the laughter. I share this story for two reasons; one, to publicly explain why you may spot me, my sister, and mother dressed alike this winter and two, to illustrate how imaginary catastrophes are catchy. Families who dress alike, panic alike. My mother said there was a major problem, I believed her, no questions asked. We didn’t look for the keys. We didn’t look for her coat. We didn’t even brainstorm for a second. We immediately began sharing our panic with others. It’s a bad habit but also a fun one. It heightens the stakes.
It reminds me of the time I gave my number to two different guys. Neither one of them called me. I complained to my mother and she said “What if they got murdered? Now you got two dead guys with your number in their pockets? Now you’re part of a double murder investigation, I mean you don’t know who these people are or what they are up to! You gotta be careful!”
Kendra Cunningham: avoiding relationships and murder accusations one day at a time
Kendra is a stand-up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.