I always made a point of listening to my mother. I refrained from rolling my eyes, lest they freeze that way. I limited the number of times I stuck my tongue out at my sister, because that was the childhood equivalent of flipping the bird. I did not swear, or even think of saying the words fart or poop inside the family abode. I put on clean underwear every day in case I was in an accident. For a lifetime of this compliant behavior, I expected my mother to reciprocate.
Mom attended Genius's graduation
Friday night. He was only allowed two tickets for seats on the floor of
the gym. Since I had my regular reserved seat as part of the faculty,
Mom and Hick were taking the floor seats. Hick got there extremely early
to lay claim to prime folding-chair real estate. Mom arrived soon after
with The Pony and my sister, the former-mayor's wife. Sis had to sit in
the bleachers. Not a problem in itself. But she was saddled with the
task of saving seats for her daughter and her boyfriend. Not Sis's
boyfriend. That would be just wrong. The former mayor would frown on
that. The boyfriend of my niece was being dropped off with her, by the
former mayor, in fact.
Mom wanted to save Sis some sharp elbowing. and keep her from losing her voice shouting, "Taken. Taken. These seats are TAKEN!"
She planned to sit a while with Sis, and let The Pony take up the floor
chair with Hick until he had to prepare for his Pomp and Circumstancing
with the band.
Mom has been to the Backroads gym many
times. She knows the set-up. I told her that since she would be on the
floor, she needed to take the concrete steps. There are two sets of them
at opposite corners. Catty-corner to each other. Walking down the metal
bleachers is not recommended. They are the fold-up kind. That means
they are not set in stone. Not bolted down. They sway like a Japanese
high-rise on a shake platform. In addition, the handrails pop into the
base. Handrails can't fold up, you know. The handrails are not
continuous. You have to make a grab for the next one while you go down
one or two steps. I did not want Mom anywhere near those
I wandered about
the halls, waiting for my faculty buddies to to arrive so we could swap
various and sundry hard candies to slip down our Master's-sleeved black
robes. I popped into the gym to see where Hick had set up his
Genius-valedictory-speech-recording studio. I spied Sis sliding onto a
bleacher over halfway down from the mezzanine. AND THERE WAS MOM
TRAILING DOWN THE STEPS BEHIND HER!
MOM! Hanging on to
the wobbly handrail on the swaying bleacher steps, descending like an
acrophobic, soon-to-be-eliminated Amazing Race contestant rappelling
face-first down the side of Dubai Tower. With her septuagenarian hips!
didn't know I saw her. I must have told her fifteen times not to go
down those orthopedic-surgeon's-dream steps. To use the sturdy solid
concrete metal railed steps.
Sometimes, I think I'm just wasting my breath.