Spot Remover

Once again I find myself in a swoon over someone else’s inappropriate behavior.

This time it involves an article of clothing…a sweet, little gray down jacket I gave to a friend. Well, she’s since been demoted to a demented dowager dingbat who lives ten blocks from me, but that’s getting ahead of my story.

I use the term dowager strictly for the alliteration, because who can resist one (right Kate?) and even though she acts as if she has a title…so, so entitled, she does not.

She’s a woman in her early seventies I work with occasionally. A real elderly beauty…former ballet dancer with that built-in grace that even now, tainted with bits of rheumatism, can be seen as she glides across a crowded room. Bones of course help too. Even if things appear to be falling they seem to catch you and your face, like a fly ball.

We shall go back a year.

We were working on a Citibank commercial early one morning mid fall. We had to get what was needed before Manhattan got under way. There was a company move to New Jersey…I was not chosen to go, but Thumbalina, I’ll call her, was. She was very anxious about the weather feeling she hadn’t dressed warmly enough. It would be surely colder across the Hudson, she tells me, so I of course gallop to the warm-clothes rescue.

I pull my brand new Brooks Brothers jacket from my bottomless tote and offer it to her. I say, take it…I’ll pick it up from you when the day’s over.

Cut to later that afternoon.


Joan of Arc there’s a phone call for you.

“Oh hi…just wanted to thank you so much for lending me the jacket. I am so in love with it. It’s warm, it’s chic. It looks so great on me Susannah. I so wish it were mine.”

“Oh, I’m so glad it all worked out. Really my pleasure. It warms me so to help, and you know what THUMB, I want you to have it since you love it so much. I mean, it would please me to no end to give it to you.”

See, this is where someone needed to come throw a bucket of water on me…to quell my insane tendency to go overboard giving wise. I had already helped her…kept her from freezing..lowered her anxiety level. Why could that not be enough?

All moot…but you get the idea.

Now it’s one year later. I haven’t seen her since. We meet once again on, guess what? Another bank commercial. She sees me and starts waving… swooning over like an old swan. “Susannah, “she says curtly, “That jacket you left with me really needs to be picked up (now it’s left with her like an abandoned shopping bag). Do you think you can come get it?”

“But I gave it to you,” I said, when I came to, “you said you loved it.”

“Oh, impossible. It’s much too small on me, especially across the bust line (now I thought she said bus line, because she has no bust line…she’s built like a twig). I’d really appreciate it if you would pick it up.”

I was a little taken aback by this, but said nothing. I’ve learned not to pick up the rope, as they suggest in 12 Step, especially before 7 am.

A couple weeks go by and I think, you know that jacket is very warm. I’m just going to go get it. So I email her to say, I’ll drop by receiving this grond response...”Eo, I’m aut this mor-ning but bock ot twooo if you’d lak tu drop by the-nnn.

Suddenly Lady Astor has invaded my email connections. I love the manufactured grandiosity…it’s so lifelike.

“By the way,” I nicely say, “since you’ve had it a year…could you check to see if it needs cleaning (hint hint)? and if so, drop it off someplace convenient and I’ll get it there.”

She shoots back. “Never worn..therefore no cleaning required.”

This is when Connecticut reared her appalled head. You’ve had this jacket for a whole year. And I know you’ve worn it at least the day of that shoot and at least one day after, BECAUSE I SAW YOU IN IT…you mean to tell me, you addled, cheap, crazy, crumbling ballerina that you’re returning it not dry-cleaned?

That’s when my mother flew in the window with a shotgun in her hand.

Of course Connecticut also kept me from saying any of this, but I was fit to be tied as they say at Polo in their chaps and all of your saddle needs department.

I email my friend Ed foaming at the mouth regaling the story with fresh fury and tremors who writes back…”You know what Clemenza said in The Godfather, right? Take the jacket, leave the cannoli.”

So I bolster myself, disarm my mother and walk the ten blocks to her house. She answers like Loretta Young in a moth eaten caftan. She expects me to stay for a visit. “I’ve made teah.” I, on the other hand, who was so afraid I’d slap her, left so fast I made wind.

Epilogue…I deleted her from my contacts and tore her name from my address book.

Too much?

I then took my sweet little jacket, so happy to see me, and marched it over to Mayfair Cleaners for a nice wash and set.

It’s now hanging in my closet all fresh and fluffed without one cannoli in its midst.

The next time I encounter someone who’s bones are hanging by a nippy thread, I will just smile and say…”Nice weather we’re having for this time of year.”




About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in animals, Beauty, Gratitude, humor, modeling, money, New York City, Uncategorized, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Spot Remover

  1. micklively says:

    I have a little sister like Thumb somewhere. I understand your exasperation.
    Good piece Susannah: I do so like the way you write.


    • Thanks Mick…that makes me feel good on a chilly Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. I’m already annoyed over something that it made me feel less so. My writing is always a buoy in the water. Enjoy your weekend and thanks again.


  2. That was different! lol 🙂


  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    Is it possible that she’s gone a little nutty? Or was she always like this?
    You are just too generous, Susannah. Of course, that’s always better than not enough. I might have lent my jacket, but when a borrower hints that they want to keep it, that’s when I dig my heels in. I’m generous at giving (at least I think I am), but I’ve never liked being asked for an item.


    • I’ve gotten better because nothing is worse than feeling like an idiot afterwards. I think she’s just a little grand and it’s getting out of hand as she gets older. Just the other day I was wearing that little jacket standing on a chilly street corner thinking, I am so glad I got this back…it’s warm as hell.


  4. katecrimmins says:

    Let’s put it down to old age dotty although I would have smacked her for insinuating you are more flat chested than her voluptuous flat-chested self. What would be more irking is that she didn’t thank you for coming to her rescue. Perhaps letting her freeze her ass off would be more appropriate.


    • katecrimmins says:

      Oh yes, I do love alliterations. Dowager is the ultimate slur here. I envision a really old woman grossly overweight with thin hair pulled back in a bun with a bouffant skirt on. She would be appalled (or maybe aaappaulled!) There is also diva or dork!


    • Believe me, next time she could be the Little Match Girl, for all I care. The little old Match Girl. The only reason I didn’t verbally let her have it is because I work with her occasionally and it would be uncomfortable for me more than her. She’s in her own personal orbit…i on the other hand let everything bother me. I’d ultimately feel bad for yelling at her. I have a conscience the size of Oklahoma.


  5. Alva Chinn says:

    Oh Susannah, thank you for a delicious giggle to start my day!!!


  6. I love that you took the advice from a Godfather movie…lol…they really knew how to handle problems. Glad you got your jacket back…poor thing will probably need therapy after that ordeal.


  7. I love your Connecticut side! This was a great post. Thanks for the smile.


  8. Elle Knowles says:

    Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be nice does it? tut…tut…tut!


  9. No good deed goes unpunished, right? I can’t fathom how some people’s minds work. Great alliteration, by the way. We should use the word dowager more.


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