Featured Story

Joanne Sherman’s column: Over and above

I am over. Totally over.

Some people are under, and most people are a combination of under/over. Not me, I’m full on over. Non-stop, 110% of the time. I over think, over analyze, over argue, over react, over stay, over bedazzle, over step, over explain and, as you’re already noticed, over write.

One particular area where my Overability shines is when I leave the Island. I always over pack. It doesn’t matter if I’m heading to Greenport or Paris, France, I will bring along enough of everything to take care of my needs and half the population of a third-world country or a small state like New Hampshire, or Vermont.

Or a bigger state, but one with a low population. OMG! See what I mean? I’m doing it again! (By the way, it was an Over who invented OMG! Trust me, I’m married to an Under. They hardly ever get that worked up.)

Once, when I had jury duty in Riverhead I loaded my purse as usual. The case involved an uncle suing his nephew for stealing his stereo. Down and dirty, right?  Un-huh, that’s what we, the jury, thought. We figured we’d be sprung before lunch, but we got lunch, dinner and a bed, because one of us couldn’t agree. (Not me, I swear!) So, the judge, in his wisdom, sequestered us. Over a stinkin’ stereo. And it wasn’t even a Bose!

Judge Judy would have dope-slapped a verdict out of us.

We were herded into a van and driven by armed guards to what the other 11 west-end jurors thought was the end of the world – and there were several flat-earthers in the group. But we stopped right before the edge, at the Soundview Motel in Southold and were locked into our rooms. There was plenty of anger at the Soundview that evening, because no one was prepared for an overnighter.

Except me.

Among other things, my purse contained underwear, a toothbrush, deodorant, tweezers, WD40, raisinets and that month’s Reader’s Digest. What else does one need when held at gun point in a seaside resort? (Side note: We remained hung; the judge declared a mistrial and 11 grungy jurors left the courthouse wearing dirty underwear, some sprouting chin hairs. Again, except me.)

The reason I’m focused on over packing at this moment is because we have just returned from a two-week trip and it’s going to take me a month to fully unpack. As usual, I went a little overboard. But an over packer is often a day saver. I’ve pulled out band aids for boo boos, Tums for heartburn, extra Aldis quarters, and one time, at a concert some man yelled out, does anyone have a vegetable peeler? And I said, I do, and he said, not a flat one, I need a pointy one, and I said, take your pick, I have both.

I don’t know why he needed it; however, it was a Neil Diamond concert, so I’m guessing it didn’t involve anything illegal. Maybe red, red wine. (See what I did there?) Whatever, once again, an Over saved the day.

But there was that time I may have saved our lives when I over packed for our first motor-home camping trip. I wasn’t sure what to bring so I brought all of it, for a three-week vacation, but I was prepared to stay longer, a year, maybe two.

Because I’d packed everything except a campground guidebook, we ended up in a crusty, run down, swampy, alligator-infested pit in the Everglades. While on the phone with my son, I heard my southern daughter-in-law (an Over) say, “Oh dear! God bless their hearts, we’ll never see them again.” According to her, the Everglades is where killers go to kill, and non-killers go to be killed.

Well, sure enough, in the middle of the dark and stormy night someone pounded on our door. Armed with a fly swatter and wasp spray, we faced a heavily-tattooed Hell’s Angel motorcyclist who had traveled miles in the rain with his wife. He’d reserved a cabin but it had only a bed. No linens, blankets, pillows, nothing.

He did not kill me for my RV, though, which I fully expected him to do.

“Ma’am,” this hairy, scary guy said, “My wife is over there crying and she’s cold. Would you have an extra blanket? Or even a towel? Please.”

“Honey,” I said, to Mr. Angel, “This is your lucky day.”

They roared away early the next morning, leaving behind my granny-square afghan, pillows, towels, a heating pad, the fly swatter, five crumbled singles, and the sweetest thank-you note.

“See?” I said to my Under, “It’s a good thing I brought that extra stuff. I probably saved that man’s marriage and/or our lives.”

Unfortunately, Unders never give Overs the credit we deserve.

It’s O.K. I’ll get over it.