Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Roman NASCAR


Mahket Day. I didn’t want to go. Hate to go, but I took some Rapid Release Tylenol and put a smile on my face.

I told Himself about my gladiator blog entry. He laughed. “You’ll have a good time at Roman NASCAR.”

When I got to the Weebles, Ma met me at the door. I was surprised because usually we have a last minute runaround getting shoes on, hunting for the check book and finding the pockabook. She turned from me after her greeting. With Auntie Rose smiling down at her, Ma shuffled to her table where she keeps her “business.” She began shuffling paper from one pile to another.

While she was occupied, I decided I had time to see if I could run the antivirus program from my thumb drive on Dad’s computer. I took the stairs two at a time with Dad close on my heels.

I booted up the computer and looked at the back to see if there was an available port.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for a USB por…a plug so I can plug this in to run a program,” I said showing him my thumb drive.

He nodded knowingly.

As I got the program up and running, there was grumbling from downstairs.

“What’s her problem?” I said.

“Mother just said when you come to do things for her, you should stay with her. She’s just jealous.” Dad chuckled gleefully.

With the antivirus program running a scan, we went downstairs. I put my jacket on. Ma placed some papers in her hand in a pile on her right. Dad had his hat and coat on. Ma picked up paper she had just put down, stared at it, and put it in a pile on her left. I sat down. Dad sat down. And we waited, and we waited.

“Well, what are you two waiting for, Ma snapped.

Dad made his grrrr face and was about to say something. I smiled at him and shook my head. No use getting everyone’s dander up.

“Take these.”

Ma shoved a thick stack of envelopes from her “business” at Dad. There were at least two dozen envelopes in the pile held securely by an elastic band. Hand to God!
“What should I do with these?” he asked looking at me.

I shrugged. “Put them in the mailbox.”

Dad put the stack in the mailbox. I went down the front steps so I could take Ma’s walker and get it in position so she could get to the car.

As Ma started down the stairs, she caught sight of the envelopes sticking out of the mailbox like a white tongue. She grabbed the stack.

“Take these so we can drop them off at the post office,” snarled Ma at Dad.

“No, I’m not going to the post office….”

“You’re not going in! He is!”

“No, we’re not going to the post office.” I tried to keep my voice level.

“I have to get these to the post office,” Ma shouted.

The shouting match went on for several minutes until it escalated to a screaming match.

The Weeble’s neighborhood is as quiet as a tomb during the week. Everyone is away at school and work. Good thing too because I could hear the echo of my tongues

“KING…ING..ing…FIS…ISS…iss.” With my soundwaves broadcast to outerspace, I knew I was teaching the aliens that observe our planet the nuances of speech.

Ma was livid.

Dad was rooted to the top step. The expression on his face was a mixture of shock and delight. He rarely talks back to Ma. He looked at me and I could see a “you go, Girl” look in his eyes. His gaze shifted from me back to Ma. All he needed was a bag of popcorn as he watched the sparring match.

I had an outer body experience and almost laughed at the scene. Three of us players in theater of the absurd.

“Well, if you’re not going to do things for me, don’t bother coming!” Ma shouted.

My first instinct was to shout FINE, jump into the driver seat and burn rubber out of the driveway.

“We are not going by a post office,” I explained calmly. “We are not going anywhere near a post office. I’m not driving out of my way for your foolishness.” End of match.

Dad put her stack back in the mailbox.

We all got settled in the car.

“Where’s my pockabook?” Ma screamed at Dad. “Get me my pockabook.”

Dad grumbled, but got out of the car.

“Why didn’t you get my pockabook?” she screamed before he slammed the door.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighbor would…

“Why does he have to get your pocketbook. Why didn’t you get it yourself?”

“What the hell do I have a husband for?” screamed Ma.

“Not to be your personal servant.”

Dad made an appearance at the front door. Sans pockabook.

“It’s behind the door in my bedroom!” shouted Ma through the closed car windows.

Dad cupped his hand behind his ear in an imitation of President Reagan’s “I can’t hear you.”

I rolled the window down and relayed the orders. From the Captain to the XO to the COB. Unfortunately for the Chief, there was no crew to assign to this detail. He put his grrrr face back on and mumbled something. It didn’t look like Aye, aye, sir. A few moments passed, and he came back with the pockabook in hand.

“Did you get my checkbook? On the table. Somewhere.”

There was more grumbling.

“Never mind! I don’t need it. I’m not paying!”

Finally everyone settled, we pulled out of the driveway. Chug, chug, toot, toot.

From the back seat, I distinctly heard the word ‘ungrateful’ before the voice settled into a low mumble of tongues.

In a perverse sort of way, I was amused. All those years growing up as the youngest in the family being bossed around, controlled. You can’t do this. You can’t do that. The midnight curfew when I was in college. Now, in my peri-weeble way, I was in control. You can’t go to the post office. You can’t go to every blessed store along the way for one item. You have to be finished with shopping or appointments so I can leave by 1pm. I’m in the driver’s seat. It took great effort not to laugh.

Ma usually nods off to sleep before the back wheels have cleared the driveway. Not this day. She sat in her seat, her back stiff and her mouth set in a taut, rigid line.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

Ma wasn’t happy with me. She had called Friday last hinting she wanted to go shopping over the weekend. I wasn’t feeling well, and told her I would never take her shopping on a weekend. The Mahket is crazy and crowded enough during the week. The weekend crowds are horrendous. She hinted for a trip on Monday. Monday was the third of the month. The day all the social security checks come due. The day every weeble across the lower 48 comes to the Mahket to do their shopping. No effin way.

I pulled into the parking lot and there was a handicap spot right in front. Perfect. Inside all the shopping scooters were gone. Not good.

Ma pushed her walker up the aisle grumbling about Dad not getting a carriage.

I spotted an abandoned scooter near the last register and I sent Dad to get the vehicle. Good. He brought the vehicle up behind Ma and for a split second I wondered if he would just mow over her and not even feel the bump.

With Ma settled in the scooter, the expedition began. I trotted back to the car with her walker and retrieved two bags of soda cans. Dad was hot on my heels so I gave the cans to him to take to the redemption area. I went in search of Ma.

Before we left for the store, Dad had given me a shopping list. Ma and I would take the outer ring of the store, as we had been doing for the past year and a half. Dad thought his idea was brilliant. I almost laughed when I read the list. Deli, fish, meat, vegetables. As if we wouldn’t know what to buy.

I found Ma at the cans of store brand soda. She was sitting on her scooter, three feet from the items, leaning across trying to grab a 12 pack of root beer. Help me, Lord!

“Don’t take that. Let him get the big items. Your basket isn’t big enough to hold stuff like that. Let’s go to the meat.”

She didn’t say anything as she hit the accelerator on the scooter. She came to an abrupt stop near a come on display of canned good. She grabbed two cans of mandarin oranges. I have never seen mandarin oranges in their house. I could read the look on her face.

“I’ll be damned if you’re going to tell me what I can buy.”

And I wouldn’t. After all, she’s not paying for any of it. He is.
She took a hard left and thumbed the engine to produce. This meant we were going against the flow of traffic. Salmon swimming upstream.

She stopped at a frozen food case for a special on frozen vegetables. Five packages for $5. I was ordered to grab Italian green beans, cauliflower, broccoli. Too bad they would probably thaw before we finished shopping, but far be it from me to suggest we do the frozen foods after we got the rest of the items.

We made our way to produce. Some green beans were lying on the floor like pick up sticks, but we didn’t murder them.

She saw a display of peppers and frowned at the price. Obviously, they were too expensive. We completed the first pass through the department.

“Let me go back and look at the peppers. I suppose I’ll have to buy them even though they’re expensive because I can’t shop the way I want.”

Yup, sux for you.

So we start another lap around produce and I’m struck with Himself’s idea we’re at Roman NASCAR, otherwise known as the chariot scene from Ben Hur. The camera pans to the top of the circus as a brass fish is pulled down indicating the end of the first lap.

Ma hugged the inside track tight and took the curve on one wheel. She slammed into another weeble’s carriage. Mamacellus’ chariot wheels with the saw blade hubs ground into the carriage as Mamacellus roared by. I started to laugh.

The weeble woman gave me a dirty look.

Hey, be thankful you’re not the poor bastard that gets flipped over the chariot tongue and trampled by his own team, chariot, and the chariot coming up from behind.

Another fish down.

We make our way into the meat department. We bless the poultry, the meat, and because it’s Lent, the fish.

Dad caught up with us, and I offloaded some of the items from Ma’s overflowing basket into his carriage.

“We need coffee,” Ma said.

“I saw coffee on Dad’s cart.”

“We need macaroni.”

“He had some. Don’t know what kind, but I saw boxes of macaroni.”

As we were discussing the items in Dad’s carriage, a weeble gentleman on a scooter coming from the opposite direction pulled up along side.

“Did you have to wait long for that cart?” he asked. “I had to wait for over an hour!”

My first instinct was to say ‘Do I look like I have I care stamped on my forehead?’ But then I decided he must be like Dad, has to stop and talk to strangers to get validation and a little happiness. I clucked my tongue sympathetically. It seemed to be the right reaction. He waved and toodled off.

Having exhausted the outer ring twice, Ma scooted up the cleaning products aisle. Dad was wheeling his carriage from the opposite end.

The two of them blocked traffic as they discussed cleaning items they were looking for.

Another weeble woman smiled at me knowingly. “You need to have lots of patience,” she said.

“Tell me about it.”

“We need tea,” Ma said.

I looked at Dad. “Did you get tea?”

“No.”

“He didn’t get tea. Want me to go get it?”

“Only if it’s a good price,” she called after me.

As if I would know whether it was a good price or no.

There was a dolly filled with can goods chocked in front of the brand of tea Ma prefers. I couldn’t see a price label. That’s another thing I hate about this store. Prices are not visible. As I was frowning at the box of tea, Dad came up the aisle.

“I don’t know how much this is.”

“Oh, I usually go up to the register to ask them to scan it.”

To the register for a price check and back to where I last saw Ma.

“The big box is $2.99”

“That’s too much!”

I went back to the tea aisle and another fish went down.

No sight of Ma when I got back, but I found Dad in the bread aisle.

“Think I should buy some bread?” he asked.

“If you want to buy it, buy it.” The Little Princess philosophy.

“I have some,” Dad mumbled to himself, “But maybe I should get another loaf.” He began squeezing the loaves. All he needed was a white manager’s coat, and he’d look like Mr. Whipple squeezing the bathroom tissue.

“Is that it?”

“I just have to get some ice cream.” We separated.

As I came out of the bread aisle, Ma spotted me.

“Is that everything?”

“Dad went to get some ice cream.”

“No! Stop and Shop.”

Eerily I knew Ma meant the ice cream here was too expensive and she wanted Dad to go to the Stop and Shop to buy the ice cream.

I sprinted after Dad.

“She says she wants you to get the ice cream from Stop and Shop.”

Dad turned the cart to the registers sans ice cream.

“Y’know, you’re too good to her.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean if it was me, I’d grab two half gallons of Heavenly Hash because I know she hates that flavor. After all, you’re paying for it.”

He chuckled and went to stand in the check out line behind Ma.

I went out to the car to wait. Another fish went down.

Back at the house, Dad and I unloaded the groceries. Since the expedition had gotten off to a late start, it was nearly time for me to leave.

“Time for me to make tracks.”

“Fine. See you in a month.” She raised the back of her hand to her forehead.

Ma usually offers to make me lunch, but she was not happy with me. She turned her back to me and shoved the produce into the fridge.

Okay. I didn’t bother to tell her that Dad had piled a bunch of heavy stuff on top of the egg cartons. Not my monkey.

I certainly had a Roman holiday. It started out with fireworks and Roman candles in the driveway. We didn’t make 9 circuits around the Circus Maximus like Ben Hur did, but we completed a respectable 6 laps. I was heading home to a well deserved bottle of whine. I deserved it.

2 comments:

Erica Vetsch said...

I know it stinks for you, but I love Mahket Bahsket day. :)

Nutterone said...

You know I'm laughing... (holding myself to keep the pain at bay...) AND THEN IT SUDDENLY HITS ME... I'm GOING TO BE MA when I'm a weeble! My pa is already and I'm like him!!!! ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!