Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
When I was a kid in Skokie, my mother had the same phone problem. She was always easy to find. I'd walk in the house, look at our wall phone, see that it was missing its handset, and then follow the cord through the house to find my mother. Our original cord had been stretched and stretched till it had lost all of its loops and was miles long due to the need of this one phone to handle the whole household's calls in privacy. So I'd follow the phone cord across the kitchen, across the foyer, down the steps to the basement, and into our laundry room, where my mother would be hooked up to the phone like it was her ventilator, sewing.
Things change when your parent's older. Back then I would stand by her side, waiting for her to take a breath from her conversation, shifting from one foot to the other and watching my life pass by, just to ask her a simple question. Now she has to do the same with me, but she can't wait. She can't find my phone cord. I'm never sitting in one place sewing. So she hedges her bets, getting increasingly hysterical with each subsequent message left.
Of course, I call her back, mainly to put a stop to the harassment. I say, "Ma! Okay already! Whatever you want, the answer's yes!" And then she's happy. We chat awhile but I can tell her attention's not on me. The TV's blasting in the background with an old Gunsmoke episode. My mom tells me she can't miss this episode, she hasn't seen it since 1962. She has to go.