Pilna Designer (prounced Dez ig nir) was named by her Great Aunt Ginnie, who said that she would never be anything but a plain child no matter how her mother showered her with precious gems and designer clothes. Her mother had said “you can’t name a child “Plain”!” So they agreed that her name would be an anagram, symbolic of the child rather than descriptive. Having a last name spelled like designer didn’t make matters much better. As Pilna grew older people realized that ‘plain mixed up’ described Pilna to a tee. Content to sit and wonder what to do about situations rather than attempting to solve them, often left her in circumstances that bordered on bizarre.
One Monday morning Pilna woke to realize her alarm clock had not gone off. While she sat wondering why the almost nearly regular chimes had not sounded, her phone rang.
“Pilna, it’s not like you to miss our morning coffee,” said her girlfriend Sherry from work.
“I can’t talk now, I’ll be late for work!” said Pilna.
She ran into the bathroom and turned on the water in the shower. While she searched through the clothes in her closet, she wondered what she would do now that she didn’t have time to stop for her regular morning coffee. While she stood wondering in the closet, the water in the bathroom began to run over the edge of the tub spilling onto the floor and soaking the bathroom floor before spilling out onto the bedroom carpet.
As she stepped out of the closet, she splashed into the 1 inch deep puddle that was steadily becoming wider. While she stood wondering where the water had come from, her bathroom was becoming a steamy river which now began to flood into other areas of her small two story cottage.
“I don’t know what to do!” she said spinning in circles, “I have to go to work.”
Suddenly aware that the water levels were still rising, Pilna returned to the bathroom to locate the source of the stream. A washrag left from yesterdays cleaning spree had blocked the drain and was not allowing the water to escape. As she reached into the tub to remove the rag from the blocked drain, she wondered how she had forgotten the rag in the tub. So tidy, it was not like Pilna to leave cleaning supplies lying around when she was done. Everything went back to its usual place.
While she sat wondering the phone rang again. Her girlfriend had called back to see if she needed a ride.
“I’m in the middle of a small crisis.” said Pilna.
Her girlfriend knew what that meant. When Pilna was like this, strange things usually happened.
“I’m coming right over,” answered Sherry.
On the way to Pilna’s cottage, her girlfriend noticed a number of blaring sirens. Her heart jumped as if it were attempting to leave her chest. “Why were there so many sirens?” She thought aloud to herself.
When she arrived at Pilna’s, the door which opened into her backyard was open and Pilna stood half naked, half drenched still in her bathrobe wringing water from various items of clothing.
“Why aren’t you dressed, and why are you wet?” asked her friend.
“I was surrounded by all this water and as I sat and wondered how I would get it cleaned up my yummy new terrycloth robe had been soaking up water from the floor.” Next to tears, she sat and she wondered how she would get finished in time to make it to work.
“Never mind about work,” said Sherry as she began to pile wet clothing and linens into a laundry basket.
Pilna suddenly smiled. Her Great Aunt Ginnie always told her no matter how disastrous a thing may seem it always turned out better when you were prepared. As she sat and pondered her Aunt’s words she suddenly remembered an impromptu purchase that she had made several months ago while shopping with her mother.
“What do you need with that?” her mother had asked about the small portable carpet shampoo/vacuum cleaner she had suddenly felt compelled to by, “You hardly have any carpet in your house.”
“It just feels like something I should have” had been Pilna’s answer.
Her mother had learned in the past not to argue when Pilna’s response was similar to this. Somehow the reason for a thing would appear eventually.
As she sat and wondered at her mother’s agreeable nature a loud explosion disrupted her train of thought. It was far away enough not to have been deafening, but loud enough not to have been very far away. Pilna sat and wondered what could have happened.
“Let’s get this water up,” Sherry said interrupting her musing once more,”We’ll have time to investigate the source of that sound when we have resolved our present dilemma.
Pilna liked how Sherry had taken partial ownership of her difficulty and wondered as she knelt and vacuumed warm water from her carpet how she had managed to acquire such a wonderful friend.
When they had put all the wet clothes in the washer and all the wet shoes in the warm laundry room to dry, Pilna emptied the vaccuum and dressed. As she dressed she wondered if it might be prudent to call her employer and let him know she would not be in to day. As she thought of this the phone rang several times.
When she answered her mother responded quickly out of breath, “thank goodness you’re still at home. I thought I had lost you.”
While Pilna sat and pondered what her mother had meant, Sherry watched a television report about an explosion in the building that housed the company in which they worked. The explosion had ruptured water mains, caused electrical and fire damage and injured several people. Debris was floating down the street on a stream created by the broken main.
Pilna burst into uncontrolled laughter. Her mother waited at the other end of the phone, and Sherry too waited.
When she could control her laughter Pilna said,”I have saved us both from injury, and we are no worse for wear but it seems no matter where we planned to go today we were destined to end up afloat.”
Sherry looked at her and they both resumed laughing. Her mother cradled the phone happy to still have her strange wonderful girl, but as she sat and watched the television report she wondered what exactly the girl meant.
Afloat (A Pilna Dezigner story) © DJuna Blackmon 2014, All Rights