So Monday was class number two of pilates.
Class attendance: 6
We actually did pilates – lots of breathing and stretching and silly poses. When I left the class my muscles were a little sore, and I felt totally relaxed.
Then I called my mother.
As soon as she answered the phone, all of the tranquility drained from my body.
(To fully understand my anxiety, we have to jump in my time machine and travel back to Friday night.)
In an effort to spend some QT with my parents (read: score a free meal) I joined them for dinner.
On my way to their house I stopped at Homegoods. Upon telling my mother I was going, she asked me to look for something to hang in her newly painted bathroom.
Mom: “You remember the picture I had hanging in the bathroom?”
Me: “Not really.”
Mom: “Yes you do. The one with the little girl?”
Me: “No, Mom, I don’t remember it. I don’t even remember what’s hanging in my bathroom.”
Mom: “Ugh. Well, anyway, I’m not sure if it will go with my new paint. Can you look for something new for me to hang in there?”
Me: “What size? 16x20? 18x24?”
Mom: “Yes, that sounds about right.”
Now, I definitely don’t remember the old picture, and I can barely remember the new bathroom color (some sort of lightish greenish color) but I tell Mom that I’m on the case.
As luck would have it, I find a really nice black and white (with the slightest hint of a green tint) picture that would go perfectly (I think).
I’m so proud of myself that I don’t walk into my parents’ house, I strut in – carrying the bag like a captured prey.
Me: “I found you the perfect picture!” I hold up the bag. I can’t wait to unveil it and see the excitement and sheer gratitude in her eyes.
My mother stares at the bag.
Mom: “It’s too big.”
Me (in a feeble attempt to hide my utter disappointment): “What do you mean it’s too big? You haven’t even seen it yet. And I asked you what size on the phone.”
Mom: “Oh, well I didn’t actually measure anything.”
I take the picture out of the bag and hold it up to the wall.
Mom (sheer joy): “Oooh! I LOVE it! How much do I owe you?”
(I'm not even going to get into my mother trying to calculate how much the tax was so she could give it to me. I mean, seriously, Mother – the tax?)
This conversation was followed by a VERY rough dinner; my mother was in rare form. She didn’t stop talking for a second, jumping from topic to topic, driving me and my father crazy. I couldn’t get back in my car fast enough at the end of the night.
(Back in the time machine. Fast forward to present day.)
My mother always sounds slightly out of breath when she answers the phone, like she’s either just run a mile or is auditioning for a pornographic B movie.
Me: “Hi Mom.”
Mom: “Oh, hi. Are you in the car?”
Me: “I’m on my way home from pilates.”
Mom: “Oh. I would like to take a class like that. What do you do? Stretching? Is it very aerobic? What muscles do you work? Does it make you tired? Are there a lot of people in the class? I heard you dropped curtains off for your grandmother to shorten. I also heard their door wasn’t locked, and they weren’t even home.”
Yikes. I haven’t spoken to my mother since Friday night dinner because I needed a break. I think I came back too soon.
Mom: “Why don’t they lock their door? They have keys. Your grandmother has a key on this nice lanyard that I got her that she could wear around her neck. I mean, they could come back from Bingo one night to find out that they’ve been robbed. Or worse, someone can be waiting for them in the apartment to assault them.”
Assault them? Who? The guy down the hall in the wheelchair? That nice lady with the oxygen tank? The woman with the walker?
Mom (who hasn’t taken a breath, btw): “What do they think? That they still live in California?”
Me: "What does that have to do with anything?”
Mom: “Well, that was California. It’s different here.”
Yes, here they live on the 4th floor of a secure apartment complex in a small town in which you need a key or to be buzzed in to enter. There, they lived in a condo in an open complex, facing a busy city street, across from a high school and college filled with hoodlums. Yes, MUCH safer on West Coast, Mother. Whatever.
Mom: “They’ll never learn their lesson. You know what needs to happen? They either need to be robbed or be assaulted in their own apartment. THEN maybe they’ll start locking their door.”
Is my mother really wishing larceny or a violent attack upon my grandparents? Really? I mean, really?
Mom: “So, did you call for a reason?”
To be reminded that I take after my father.