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Friday, May 3, 2013

Rafael’s Laura: a woman of mystery

By Annandale humorist Robert Schwaninger

I recently attended a local, political event where people gather to talk politics but wound up talking about nearly anything else. When you are in a room full of folks who are politically adroit and generally in agreement, then every utterance seems redundant or simply obvious. So, thankfully, there are people there who skillfully avoid politics and just try to have a good time.

These functions do make it possible to catch up on people’s personal lives. For example, I discovered that my friend, Rafael, has a new girlfriend. Given that this girlfriend does not require a foot pump, I was quite impressed by this information. His otherwise lone wolf status is being challenged and we who wish him well are pleased.

But more important, his new semi-attached status made us curious about what lucky woman had caught his eye. Although he may secretly be a modern-day Cesar Romero, his reputation does not lend itself to comparisons to Don Juan. Dom Deluise, maybe.

Although he gave general facts readily, when pressed he did not provide much other data about the lady in his life. For example, he did not wish to provide the lady’s age. This, of course, led to the conclusion that he had either met her at Chuck E. Cheese’s or the Lincolnia Senior Center. We couldn’t decide if he was spending evenings playing with “My Little Pony” or engaging in rousing games of “Hide the Teeth.”

We also never discovered what the lady does for a living. Again, we were left with pure speculation and rumor. I personally started the rumor that she was a door-to-door ferret saleswoman. This is because I like rumors that involve things that squeak and claw, like Michelle Bachmann. 

Now Rafael was a bit forthcoming. We learned that the lady’s name is Laura. Since I have a sister name Laura, I made a quick call to confirm that it wasn’t her and that she and her partner are still gay. I like Rafael, but a little miscommunication could have had embarrassing results.

We also found out that Laura plays the oboe. I don’t know where you stand on this particular instrument that, as I recall, was essential to the classic “Peter and the Wolf.”  But it is in that category of instruments where nobody knows any famous player. Try to name the top three oboist of the last century. You can’t. The same goes for the bassoon, French horn, tuba, and the B-flat flugelhorn. 

So, Laura has chosen an instrument that guarantees that she will remain somewhat anonymous.  She is in life’s orchestra, but hiding behind an undersized didgeridoo where she can enjoy privacy while still in full view.  And so she was this past week.

As you may have guessed, Laura did not attend this week’s event. Although the buzz surrounded words of her existence, she continued to be an enigma left to the imagination of Rafael’s friends.  Yet, her mention created enough stimulating speculation that we forgot about politics for a time and concentrated solely on unsuccessfully pumping Rafael for information.

Laura, if you do indeed exist and are not simply a chimera of Rafael’s desperate imagination, I wish to thank you publicly. You were the life of the party. And though we can only guess about you, it was more fun than discussing politics. Which is like saying it was more fun than debating drywall versus sheet rock. 

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