My mom rarely calls me -- usually, I'm not worth the AT&T minutes she'd spend -- so it was unusual to see her number ringing through tonight. "Call me back on the big-phone," she said. "I have the whole house to myself and we can chat" (my blackberry Unlimited Minutes just being another example of my outrageously extravagant life in the lap of luxury).
I called her back just as she was finishing up Antiques Roadshow, topping off an entire evening doing what she wanted to do (my stepdad being off on his annual camping trip with the boys) which consisted mostly of eating edamame, ordering pizza, and talking on the phone (again, something we rarely do --partly because my stepdad's ever-increasing deafness makes it hard to hear a private phone conversation, as he frequently chimes in, "WHAT'd SHE SAY?? WHAT? JESUS CHRIST, I COULD HEAR FINE IF YOU TWO WOULD STOP MUMBLING!"
His deafness poses not the slightest imposition to him (nor does my Dad's to him; he has also lost almost all his hearing), because they are both monologuists, and were never listening in the first place.
Midway through tonight's conversation, I gasped, and when she asked what was wrong (because the gasp was apparently the sort you might hear if, say, an axe had just come crashing through the front door), I said, as calmly as possible (not wanting to alarm her), "Mom... There is a spider on my bedroom ceiling. I have to call you back." (I'd also unintentionally lowered my voice, probably to avoid alerting him to my plan.)
"Well, what are you going to do about it?" she asked in an almost accusatory fashion -- correctly doubting my ability to handle the situation.
I had no choice. There are boys that could be summoned at 10 o'clock on a school night, but they might get the wrong idea -- though certainly a lucky halftime ritual would be included for any spider-slayers.
I wasn't up for company, but I also wasn't up for moving... which was the other alternative -- and a nice fat Tina Fey-Esquire got the job done.
I called Mom back to exclaim, "MAN, that is TWO spider episodes this week. What are the odds?" To which, she sighed, "welllllll, I guess you'll just have to learn to keep things clean enough that they won't want to build their webs there."
I asked for clarification, "Exactly how clean would a house have to be for a spider to refuse to build a web in it?... Because this place is spotless." I just moved in.
"Oh I don't know," she backpedaled a little, but not much, "I'm sure there are just some homes that are more hospitable than others."
Then she asked, "why don't you have that nice marxist come over and kill all the spiders? Is he kind of a sissy?"
"No Mom. He's not a sissy. He's extravagantly manly, and in fact, is almost circus-like strong." It's not unsual to find him sauntering up and down my stairs with a dresser on his back. (I thought this might impress her, given the physical frailties of some who'd come before him.)
"Well," she sighed, and took a deep, pressimistic breath, "I just hope... he ... doesn't hit you" (like this is the sort of thing that just routinely comes up -- the way she said it, so matter-of-fact, you'd think I'm constantly calling for makeup tips on how to hide bruises or something). How on earth does she think I spend my time?
Are you serious?! Whatever my issues might be with the opposite sex, there has never been a man within a million miles of even thinking about hitting me (fantasized? possibly; but not contemplated) - and if there were, they'd never live to tell that tale. Yes, yes, I realize violence crosses all socioeconomic and educational barriers and so on and so forth, but it hasn't crossed this one.
"Mom," I explained patiently, "the first, last, and only person to ever hit me was.... come to think of it... YOU."
(Oh relax. She didn't beat me or anything. But I sure did get the occasional smacked mouth growing up. Go figure.)
I'm sure she remembers it slightly differently.