Mark goes to our synagogue. He's an opthamologist in his fifties. He's also a rabbi with firm views on language - man pronounces his ayins when he leyns. (Ayin is normally treated as a silent letter - it's basically a glottal stop. Leyn is to read the torah.) And he's unmarried - he talks about dating all the time, but as he's a kohein, the marriage market for women of an appropriate age is very limited - he's not permitted to marry a divorcee.
His mother passed away a year ago, leaving him her co-op. He's been running both households and dealing with the financial and legal aspects of her death since then, which has left him very distracted and worried.
Last night at about 8:30, he called wondering if Jonathan or I could help him out - he's getting his mother's kitchen redone and he had the possible contractor over to make a bid,and he decided he wanted another person there as a witness. I tried, and failed, to say "no." ("It's late. I don't have a car. I can't reach Jonathan, who's in a class right now and will get extremely upset and worried if he comes home at 10PM to find the house empty.") Mark is a friend, though, and he never asks favors like that, so I couldn't turn him down. He picked me up and we got to his mother's co-op as the contractors did, a little after 9PM.
I mostly hung back and knitted or read my palm pilot, but I did pour some water (one guy asked for something cold. Mark pulled out a jug of water and some glasses and put it out of the guy's reach. I played mother.) The kitchen is a very, very narrow and dark galley kitchen with an avocado fridge and stove and a single, enamel sink. It's painted dark pink. It absolutely needs to be redone before selling the place. They discussed stoves and two sinks (with a divider between them), and granite counters and floors and oak cabinets, and a microwave stove hood and one guy drew lovely precise pictures.
And not one number was mentioned. No estimate, no bid. The same for the bathroom. They left around 10PM, by which point I managed to reach Jonathan's cellphone before he came home, so that problem was averted. And then - then Mark had to sort through other things and go through ten days worth of mail (I helped with that) and talk and talk and I listened. And answered questions except that sometimes he said my answers were distracting or something. With this and that and other things - I got home at 11:45.
I'm still not sure why I was there in the first place.