Last night my sister from another mister, Drew, and I went downtown and watched a live screening of the best radio show ever, This American Life. We both have big throbbing crushes on Ira Glass, even though in my fantasy, Ira and I date until he complains that we watch TV too much and that we should do something else. Then I have to explain to him what a Rock of Love Bus marathon is and that means more than one episode in a row.
Before the movie we had dinner and drinks at Gordon Biersch and we talked and laughed until Drew asked what time it was and we had only 15 minutes to get our tickets and find a seat. But the only seats that were saved by crumpled coats and sharp stabbing stares of fellow Public Radio International listeners was in the front row. The very front row. Like two feet from my eyeballs, which was great for my vision because I’m nearsighted and I didn’t need my glasses.
It afforded us a super close view of my favorite radio contributors like Starlee Kine whose interview with Phil Collins on break-ups and break-up songs is what I want my brain to hold onto in the case that I start losing my memory. I’d like that to go toward the end, please.
She spoke about her time at the Hoffman Institute, a self-help retreat she attended to get over her issues with her mother, a woman who had both protected and neglected her. Smothered her with love and yet, signed up for credit cards and gym memberships in Starlee’s name until the bill totaled $70,000.
There were more stories about mothers and as I sat, my body corkscrewed in the seat, I thought of my mother who always insisted being early for everything. We always arrived at the airport two hours early, even before you really had to do that. We sat outside the church at 4:30 AM when the mass began at 5 and we lived a stone’s throw away from the cathedral. She was nervous and neurotic about many things, especially about her youngest daughter’s clothing. She insisted I wear a half-slip under skirts even though that’s just another skirt. She eyed my shorts as I walked and would declare whether or not they were too tight. This assessment was usually made within earshot of people who did not need to know HOW BIG MY CROTCH IS. The only people who need to know those measurements are the producers of TLC’s new show: THE WOMAN WITH THE ENORMOUS CROTCH.
And since my mom has been here for a little over two weeks, all my interactions with her have the same nervous clock-watching behavior which she has transferred to me like a superpower. I could probably join the X-Men if there’s an opening for Passive Aggressive Girl, the woman who looks at you, then her watch, then sighs and repeats.
This past weekend, I drove her to Vancouver, WA to visit her family there. The drive normally takes about three hours, but this one took five because my mother wanted to stop by JC Penney, a short stop that took TWO HOURS and included a forty-minute search (I’m not joking) for elastic waistband pants.
I was getting more flustered about time because the longer we were there, the longer it would take before I was back in Seattle and Nathan decided to use the Women’s Activewear section of JC Penney to demonstrate how a toddler might very well need an exorcism. I had to keep his heavy 4T-fitting body on my hip because he was doing that toddler squirm where if I tried to place him on the ground, he lifted his feet up like he had learned some kind of nonviolent resistance in daycare. Plus, I didn’t bring the umbrella stroller because I thought “short visit” didn’t mean two hour search party for post-menopausal clothing.
That was probably the worst experience I’ve had in public, with the screaming child, the indecisive mother and my sweat glands working overtime. I wanted to crawl and hide in the clothing racks but then I’m sure Nathan would follow me and ask me when he could eat and my mother would eventually find me there, too, and ask me to find this elephant print blouse in a medium.
So what are you up to this weekend?