My mother called me recently. I love her dearly but within the first 8 seconds of a conversation, she starts sounding like the adults on a Charlie Brown cartoon and I wander. Occasionally she does refocus my attention with a carefully placed word. Chocolate, coffee, money and the phrase “I am sending you all to Disneyworld” will usually assure that I’m listening. Virtually nothing else does.
While she was talking I went back to perusing the bills. I sat at my kitchen table with an oversized garbage pail to my left that offset my checkbook with the teeny tiny bank balance on my right. I had already decided it was a “3 for 1” month. For every bill paid, I would throw out three. I knew from experience that I would just get another. I rationalize. I’m doing a community service. Someone has to keep postal workers employed with everyone sending emails these days. I believe in doing my share.
Then she caught my attention. “…..Nose piercing”
“Uhhh Ma, back up a sec….did you say ‘nose piercing’? Who got their nose pierced?”
“Well, no one, yet. I want to get my nose pierced. I thought we could do it together, have a mother-daughter bonding day.”
The last time we “bonded”, she sat with me while I was in labor eating Krispy Kreme donuts and telling me to stop whining because she couldn’t hear the TV. I wasn’t sure I was up to this.
Additionally, my mom is pushing seventy. She looks fabulous and no one ever guesses her age though, so I started thinking, why the heck not, right? It sounded like a fun thing to do.
We listened to our respective husbands carefully and with interest as they warned us against a whole host of ills associated with nose piercings. We would not be able to blow our noses they said, we would suffer public humiliation as the piercing would be mistaken for a booger, and then we would go blind (I thought that was reserved for other transgressions, but heck, live and learn!) So, like I said, we listened as all good wives do, and then promptly headed to the tattoo parlor to pierce our noses.
We picked little tiny fake diamond studs. We stayed away from the fake emerald stud, which we figured could be mistaken for a booger, just in case. See, the boys had done us some good after all.
The “piercing artist” motioned towards a chair and it looked like he expected one of us to actually get in it.
Mom said “You go first.”
“No. Age and wisdom before beauty.”
She laughed and said “Good try, you go first.”
“But maaaaaaaa!” It never ceases to amaze me how the adolescent whine creeps right back into my vocabulary in a flash after 30 years of being mostly dormant. Worse than that though, I realized I had made a mistake the moment it escaped my lips. With the whine, came the opportunity for my mother to unleash the dreaded “Sicilian Guilt Trip”.
“I am just amazed that you will not go first” she said. “I gave birth to you- four days of labor and a pair of forceps-THEN you finally decided to be born. Just this once, I am asking you to do something for me and you won’t. What if the pain killed me? Can you just imagine all of the aunts and uncles huddled around at my funeral talking how you killed your poor old mother by not checking this out? And, might I add, who would do Christmas Eve dinner if I were dead?”
Ahhh there it was….I could almost be ok with killing her, but Christmas Eve dinner was the clincher. Tradition and all that.
I got in the chair.
It wasn’t painful. I indicated to her that she’d be safe. I was feeling a bit as if I had tasted suspect food for the queen. My mom slid in the chair after me and we both left sporting little glints in our nostrils.
We would be forever different, a little trendier, as if we had taken a walk on the wild side. My inner animal was tamed…I was done.
My mother on the other hand had other ideas…..
“So….I was thinking, we should go parachuting!”
ACK!!!!! What is she crazy???? I don’t care about Christmas Eve dinner! NO WAY am I gonna go first!!