Sunday, June 01, 2008
Mighty Joe Young
Wednesday, shoe day was supposed to be a happy day. Like a lot of women Ma tingled with excitement at the thought of getting new shoes. Not this day and not Ma. She was still bristling from Dad's outing to the Senior Center annual Spring Chorus. She was screaming at Dad when I arrived.
"Get my jacket. Where's my pockabook?" Each command rising in pitch and not a please among the phrases.
Ma's pocketbook had gone missing. She blamed Dad. We scurried like ants looking for the pocketbook.
"I found it," I shouted. "It's in the kitchen. Buried under a pile of your papers" [the scammer contests].
"Never you mind about my papers."
"Why did YOU [ Dad] touch my pockabook?"
"I'm sure he didn't touch your pocketbook since it's buried under all your foolish papers."
"Stop taking his side!"
I left her pocketbook on the kitchen table and went to sit down in the livingroom to wait out the storm.
"Where's my pockabook?"
"On the kitchen table."
"Why didn't YOU get it for me?"
"Why does he have to get it for you?"
"Because he's my husband."
"I don't expect my husband to wait on me hand and foot when I can do things for myself."
"You're not crippled like I am."
Another pity party.
"Honey, if you can't do things for yourself then maybe you should think about checking into a..." and I said the dreaded H word. My bad.
And then she got me in her sights again.
"Why didn't you bring me my pocketbook."
"Because there's all sorts of sh..papers all over the place. I'm not going to get yelled at because I moved papers or didn't pack what you want."
Course I was getting yelled at anyway. That's the logic of OPD. At moments like this there is the temptation to just up and leave. I'm reminded of a line from the musical Pippin. Pippin is talking to his father, Charlemagne. Charlemagne is whining about his wife, and Pippin's step-mother, Fastrada. Charlegmagne tells his son, "Sometimes I wonder if the fornicating I'm getting is worth the fornicating I'm getting." The line makes me laugh.
So we finally get the wagon train lined up. "Head 'em on up. Move 'em out!" Then another argument breaks out. The handicap placard was missing. The Weebles looked high and low to the tune of "The You're Stupid" song.
The handicap placard allows whoever hauls Ma's butt hither and yon to park in a handicap parking spot. It's a nicety, but not a necessisty as far as I'm concerned. More often than not as the hauler, I've found most of the places we go to are packed weebles and the handicap spots are filled. I end up offloading the Weebles at the front door, and then parking in Nebraska. Even if there are handicap spots available, I usually offload the Weebles at the front door and then troll for a handicap spot. Not a big deal. To hear Ma tell it, she has to walk up hill both ways hip deep in snow.
By the time the last chorus of the song had been sung, we arrived at the medical building. The medical building must have been having a sale as even if we had the handicap placard, all the handicap spots were filled. All the regular parking spaces around the medical building were filled too, even some spaces I'm sure are not legal. I offloaded the Weebles at the front door and headed to the last parking spot in Nebraska. God was smiling at me.
The walk from the parking lot to the medical building was so peaceful that I almost hesitated going up to the foot doctor's office. Curiousity got the better of me and I went to see if Ma was giving the entire office a concert. I pushed open the door to the sounds of silence. I could hear Ma in the examination room being fitted with her shoes. She loved them, they fit, she was delighted.
When the fitting was done, the Weebles safely back home, I stayed to have a cup of tea with them.
Ma was still fuming about Dad going AWOL to the Senior Center Spring concert. She was huffing and puffing about the ladies in the group. I could see Ma's eyes turning green. Dad's ladies. His harem. The women out number the men at the Senior Center, and most of the women are widows.
"What a waste for him to sing," Ma said over tea and talking as if Dad wasn't sitting at the table with us. "They don't even throw pennies at him."
I had to laugh. To Ma, nothing is worth doing unless you get paid for it. I wonder if the fornicating Dad's getting is worth the fornicating he's getting.