I was completely shocked this morning when I showed up to my 5:30 a.m. boot camp only to see my neighborhood nemesis holding her exercise mat and stretching out her hamstrings.
“Oh, crap,” I muttered. “Like doing squats at dawn isn’t bad enough, now I have to deal with her?”
My disdain for this particular woman began last year when she sat next to me at a crowded PTA meeting. Trying to be friendly, I turned and said “hi,” and she quickly launched into an impassioned rant about how hard it is to pick the right color leather seats for your Range Rover. “I know it’s a tough decision,” I remember saying, “but maybe you should get tan seats so they won’t show all of the Dom Perignon and blood diamonds you spill when you’re toasting your incredible awesomeness.” (Okay, so maybe I just thought that.)
At any rate, it was then I decided to make her my Brand New Enemy. And mind you, this is not a title I take lightly. After all, one doesn’t earn that distinction by simply telling me that they saw someone on The Biggest Loser wearing the same skirtini as me or by forcing me to work double shifts at the little league snack stand. No, my nemesis has to be someone who I feel is an opponent worthy of my substantial skills.
Ever since junior high, I’ve fantasized about having a sparring partner—the Alexis to my Krystle, if you will. And over the years, I’ve searched long and hard for someone with whom I can trade witty, pointed barbs. For someone who’ll make my blood boil until I smash my scotch glass against the wall of my luxurious alpine chateau. For someone who’ll spend countless hours plotting my downfall only to ultimately realize that my life force is just too strong and therefore her only option is to sell her mink stoles on Craigslist and move to a double-wide in Skokie, Illinois where her dead body will later be found by an unsuspecting Census taker with a sensitive sense of smell.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Unfortunately, the closest I’ve ever come to this type of relationship was with the nemesis I had in college. (Let’s call her “Queen Latifah,” although I sincerely doubt she has any trace of royal blood in those cold, icy veins.) The Queen and I started off as friends until one night she told the bouncer at our favorite bar that my pink Arizona driver’s license that said I was a 32-year-old woman named “Consuelo” was fake. Then it was showtime.
For weeks we made snarky comments behind each others’ backs. We rolled our eyes when the other was talking to a professor. We even strongly considered sabotaging each others cars until we realized how much effort and technical knowledge that takes. Plus we didn’t want to get our Wham! tshirts greasy.
Finally, I realized that she wasn’t quite the nemesis I’d hoped for when we exchanged the following bon mots at a really wild keg party:
Me: So…fancy meeting you here, Queen Latifah.
QL: I live here, dumbass.
Me: Oh, yeah! Can I have a refill, please? But no foam—it makes me gassy. By the way, I love your futon!
Which brings us back to Miss Range Rover.
Ever since our first encounter, I’ve kept my eye on her. I tsk-tsked whenever she left her SUV idling in the school pick-up lane for an hour. I gleefully watched as she explained to the pissed-off soccer team why she forgot their snacks again. I told everyone I know that her claim that her boobs doubled in size due to “Pilates and healthy eating” was a crock of shit. And in my heart of hearts (or in, um, my imagination), I knew that the whole time I was watching her, she’d been busy watching every move I made, too.
So that’s why, when I saw her in the dark parking lot this morning, I was ready to rumble. I knew our verbal barbs might turn ugly. Nasty. R-rated, even. (But I was hoping our 5-pound dumbells wouldn’t get involved since she has much better upper body strength than I do.) Still, I hoisted my duffle bag on my shoulder and sauntered over to her mat with a cold gleam in my eye. “Why, hello there,” I said in a smooth, non-committal voice that I hoped sounded like Greta Garbo if she suffered from post-nasal drip. “Fancy meeting YOU here.”
As I held my breath waiting for her fierce, untethered response, she stood up, looked me right in the eye like she was having trouble remembering who I was, exactly, and then with a big, toothy smile she chirped, “Oh, hi, Mandy! How’s your accounting practice going? Have you been having a great summer with your twins?”
Yes, people. She’s that good.
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