Okay, I didn't really spend Friday in the park with Mom. I picked her up at the park. Don't be hatin' because I didn't go all the way to her house. She wanted to meet. That's because she only had a quarter-tank of gas, and planned to get more. Never mind that her gas station of choice is a mile from her house, and the park is five. I deferred to her wishes.
Hick and the boys had their own thing going on, and I had promised Mom that she could ride with me to a neighboring town to pay my house payment. No, I don't trade eggs and goats. It's a check. But if I mail it, I don't get a receipt, and I don't get cancelled checks. Besides, we had plans for lunch. You never turn Mom down when she suggests lunch, because SHE PAYS.
We decided on Arby's, because that's where I wanted to go. Those commercials for the chicken salad sandwich drive me crazy. I don't think we've been there since last summer. So Mom was all for it. Of course, lunch with Mom is never just lunch. As I turned off T-Hoe in the parking lot, Mom's phone rang.
Mom is barely one step ahead of Seinfeld in the dated phone department. She does not have a giant shoe-box size cordless, but she does have a tiny one-piece cellular. It looks like something that came out of a plastic-bubble-filled quarter toy machine at the entrance of a supermarket. It's not even a flip phone. Just a minute lozenge with numbers that virtually need a GameBoy stylus to dial. Progress is not Mom's friend.
Anybody care to guess Mom's ring tone? That's right. It's the sound of a harvest-gold, kitchen-wall-mounted, land-line, rotary-dial phone. No need to fix what ain't broke. Besides, a phone is supposed to ring like that. That's how you know it's a phone, not some kind of alarm going off in your purse that you can ignore. As you might have guessed, being pretty smart cookies and shrewd blogreaders...Mom has phone issues.
To begin with, that ring must have been set to the same decibels as a jet engine upon takeoff. Mom is not hard of hearing. But we both may be now. It rang and rang and rang while Mom fumbled around in her purse. Seriously. How many places are there to look for a phone in your purse? "Oh! I'm sure it's your sister. She's going to get onto me for not answering. I put it right here. I can't find it! See? She's letting it ring a long time. She knows I'm looking for it. Now where is that phone?"
I should have just started up T-Hoe again to combat the upper 80s, but I was certain we'd be out of there and into the restaurant within seconds. Not so. Mom eventually snagged that charm-bracelet-sized phone and had a conversation with Sis, then handed the phone to me so Sis could ask why Mom was not home, because she said she'd be home in the afternoon, and it was AFTER NOON and she wasn't there. It was 12:30. I got rid of Sis, then asked Mom how she could lose that phone in her purse EVERY SINGLE TIME she put it RIGHT WHERE SHE KNEW to get it. "You've had the same purse and the same phone for ten years. How can you not know where you put the phone? She really did not have a satisfactory answer, but since we were both dehydrating and starting to blister like overcooked hot dogs on a charcoal grill, I let it slide.
Inside, Mom needed help ordering. Not because she can't read the menu, but because she's indecisive, and likes to make small talk with the workers. As she debated the merits of curly fries or waffle fries, I pushed her to the waffles. "The curly fries are spicy, Mom." That's what Genius says, anyway. Of course the counter girl had to add her two cents. "I don't think they're spicy." Yeah. She doesn't have the palate of a septuagenarian. Then she asked for a name. Mom looked at me. Hey, she was the one paying. I twisted her arm until she identified herself. Okay. I wouldn't do that. Septuagenarians have brittle bones. But I refused to give my name. I'm weird that way.
I'll warn you right now that Mom filled her soda cup with Mountain Dew. She's been off soda for about a month, because my sister suggested it. Took away Mom's daily Diet Coke pleasure, though she made her own at home in a Bubba cup rather than scamming free ones at Voice of the Village. Mom even whispered it to me over the table. "I have Mountain Dew in my cup!" Yes, she of the blood like pure Rocky Mountain spring water, same as The Pony, who gets all jacked up on that elixir.
I offered Mom some onion rings, because they were SO good, and not something she would have at home. She insisted that I try some waffle fries, which made me feel bad because they were TERRIBLE, all mushy and not tasty, and I had recommended them to her. She didn't seem to mind. Just ate my onion rings and informed me that she was used to watching TV while she ate. Huh! That Mountain Dew sure did loosen her tongue.
"Well, now you have me instead of TV, and I only have four channels: Hick, Genius, The Pony, and Big Brother." That, or the Mountain Dew, gave her the giggles. She carried on like a giddy school girl all through lunch. She especially liked the Hick channel, with the episode where Hick was a quarter short for the public toilet. As we left, Mom filled her cup with more Mountain Dew. It's a wonder I did not get a call to bail her out of the county jail after we parted ways.
Later in the afternoon, I tried to call and check in with her at home. Sis was going out to pick up Chex Mix that she strongarms Mom into making for her. But Mom didn't answer. I was a little concerned that she had not made it home. She was low on gas, you know. So I made a mental note to keep checking. About 45 minutes later, Mom called me back. "I took that Check Mix over to your sister's house. She said she was busy, and that would be easier for her. I saw on my answering machine that you called."
"Yes. I was getting worried. But I sure didn't want to call you on your cell phone."
"Oh! I had it on!" Mom started with the giggles again.
"That's what I was afraid of. I couldn't stand the though of you digging and digging for it, muttering, 'She's going to know I'm looking for it in this purse.'"
We're going to the movies tomorrow. Maybe I'll offer to keep her phone for her.