Sunday, May 04, 2008

Thumbs Up

The phone rang. It was Ma. Usually she’ll give me a jingle if Dad is out, and she’s lonely or if she wants something.

“My glasses are in.”

“Ok,” I said looking at my calendar. “I can take you on Wednesday.”

I could hear her frown because it was Sunday, and she wanted me to take her that day not a day or three later. I found myself making excuses. I think that’s a woman thing. We always have to explain ourselves. A man would make no excuses he’d just say “no”, “not today” or “oh, wow.”

“I have a dentist appointment tomorrow.”

Dead air. I’d needed to throw someone under the bus.

“The Young One has a school function on Tuesday….”


“The Young One is getting her class ring. There’s a Mass and a reception afterwards. I can take you to get your glasses on Wednesday.” I didn’t elaborate the ring ceremony Mass and reception were in the evening.

“Oh, that’s nice.”

She tried a different tack. “I fell?”

“You fell?”

“Yes, twice!”

The Guilt Fairy flapped her wings and hovered in my face.

“Are you alright?”

“Oh yes, I managed to drag myself across the floor and to pick myself up.”

Well, obviously if Ma could drag herself across the kitchen floor uphill both ways, she was fine. I backhanded the Guilt Fairy and sent her into a tailspin.

The conversation turned to Ma’s favorite subject Dad, how he doesn’t do anything for her, doesn’t take her anywhere. The same old soft shoe.

“Now you know that’s not true. As much as you think he’s an SOB, you’d be in a world of hurt without him. He does lots for you. He cooks your meals and washes the clothes.” He walks to the supermarket uphill both ways to get milk.

Ma grudgingly conceded the point.

A few hours later, caller ID flashed the Weebles phone number. This time Dad. Ah, the double team play.

“Your mother’s glasses came in.”

“Yes, I know. I told her I’d come on Wednesday.”


Obviously, she neglected to tell him that part.

“Did she tell you she fell?”



“Yup, I said swatting at the Guilt Fairy.”

“I walked to Mahket Basket?”

“You what?!”

“I walked to Mahket Basket?”

Not only was the fairy laughing in my face, but I could feel the migraine aura flicker.

“Do you realize you walked half a marathon!”

“I did? It didn’t seem that far. How far is it?”

I consulted Mapquest. “It’s close to 7 miles one way.”

“It didn’t seem that long.”

“You walked through Natick, Framingham, and Ashland! You walked the [Boston] Marathon route. A few more miles and you would have been at the starting line in Hopkinton! What the hell did you so desperately need that you had to walk to Mahket Basket?” I knew the answer was peace and quiet, a chance to get away from Ma.

“I picked up a few things.”

“If you couldn’t wait for me to take you, why didn’t you take the little bus? Every time we’re there I see the little bus making several trips. For a couple of bucks, you could have gotten a ride.”

“Oh, yeah, I didn’t think of that.”


“But I got a ride home.”

“Who gave you a ride home?”

“Some woman.”

The migraine aura pulsed. “Some woman? Some woman! You took a ride from a stranger?”

“She was very nice. She said she was a minister’s wife.”

And if she was Lizzie Borden would you still have thought she was very nice? I got the aspirin bottle and swallowed two white gems in quick succession.

“You know the Do Not Talk to Strangers or Take Rides from Stangers Rules apply to you too!” Now I’ll have to listen to the news wondering if I’ll hear a story about an elderly man found on the railroad tracks at Dennison Crossing with a knife in his ribs and Mahket Basket bags filled with 10 loaves of bread because they were a good price.

On the other hand, with the cost of gas rising, hitching would be an alternative and green form of transportation. Can you just hear Vanity Fair singing….

A thumb goes up, a car goes by…

C’mon, Ma! Show a little leg!


Nutterone said...

Argh... I am late in getting all this weeble action! Your afterlife is cooling down you lucky woman!

Erica Vetsch said...

Shaking my head...walking to Mahket Bahsket...what was he thinking?