the simple minded suburbanite


My Mother is a Psychic, Dervish, Savant
November 28, 2009, 2:07 am
Filed under: suburbanite, volntary simplicity | Tags: ,

A dervish, if I have the definition correct, is a swirling windstorm blowing across a desert, stirring clouds of dust.  Picking up branches and debris and flinging them across the dunes.  Only my mother slings stuff.  Junk.  Crap.

I can’t remember the last time she brought me something I needed or wanted.  I know that sounds bratty.  I know she does things out of the goodness of her heart and it’s not that I don’t like the things she brings, it’s just that I wouldn’t neccessarily chose them for myself, yet feel obliged to find a place for them.

Homemade plum brandy!  A basketful of Bingo prizes from the dollar store!  A scented candle called “Santa’s Pajamas”!  Santa’s pajamas?  Santa’s pj’s obviously smell a hell of alot better than mine.

She walks in the door, followed by my dad with arm loads of bags and boxes, kisses me on the cheek and the giving begins.  She dumps the stuff on my dining room table and pulls it from her purse, pocket, ears.  I have to wrestle her out of her coat and the boys cower out of her path.  A wine bottle converted to a buffet lamp!  A scarf that resembles a dead Chesire Cat!

And when I am in the middle of mashing the potatoes or carving the turkey or rescuing the damn biscuits from hell…Oh!  She forgot!  She wants to show you the jewlry she’s making out of tarnished spoons and discarded toilet paper holders!

She’s endearing, in that way, and generous, and gets excited like a child , but the crap!  The crap she totes all of 14 hours from Chicago to my house.  Crap from garage sales, and dollar stores, and Walmart clearance racks, and church craft shows!  My God!  It’s dizzying.

Sometimes she even buys big ticket stuff  like the Christmas she bought us a VERY expensive camera with several lenses and filters and buttons and dials and, My God! (again) with a toddler on my leg, a baby in my arms and my milk soaking through my breast pads, it was all I could do to push a button, just one button!  And the mega juicer she bought.  I mean, the thing weighted 50pounds and its motor was strong enough to power a boat trafficing cocaine into Miami from Cuba! 

And my mom is a psychic.  The day I thought about listing the juicer on Craig’s List, I thought twice.  She’ll ask about it, I thought.  She never forgets a thing she buys, she’s a shit savant, and loves to play “Where’s that crap?”  She quizes me about the crap and if I don’t correctly recall it, name where I have it stored, and produce the crap before the buzzer sounds…I lose, which is marked by a pout and endless guilt inducing statements like, “If you ever have another garage sale, call me first.”

And I was right.  She asked about the juicer on her next visit.  Aha!  She hadn’t got me!  It’s here!  It’s here!  I moved it when I cleaned out my pantry, but to where?  The basement?  The garage?  Shit!  Where was it!  I couldn’t find it!  Where did I put it?   “Well, that was expensive.  If you come across it, I’d like to borrow it.  Dad and I start our diet today.”

I put the freakin’ thing BACK IN THE PANTRY!  Too late.  Two days later.

But what’s a daughter to do? I can’t break her heart.  I wear the Cheshire Cat scarf to dinner with them the next night.  I burn the Santa’s Pajamas candle while we sip coffee and eat pumpkin pie.  And I think of my grandmother and great-grandmother who, though kept meticulous house, had knic-knacks up to their knickers and canned veggies and jellies lining shelf upon shelf in their basements.  And I vow, though somewhat unconvincingly, to myself, “Not me.  That won’t be me.”

No more aqua glass collecting.  No more hand mirrors to hang along my powder room walls.  No more ink wells.  I’m using the library from now on.  At least, I won’t torture anyone else with stuff. 

Tomorrow I’m clearing off the kitchen desk, while I sip homemade plum brandy.

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