Friday, September 6, 2013

Get Your Val Shares Here!

Yes. I am shamelessly traipsing up and down the stadium steps, a metal tray of shares in Val stock at the ready, hawking my certificates like there's no tomorrow. My value is descending faster than those Guinness Record Book motorcycle-riding fattest twins bungeeing off the Azusa Bridge to Nowhere.

The Pony needs a new laptop charger, what with his old one smoking like 1980s-era teachers in the lounge during lunchtime. We headed off to a nearby town after school in search of the elusive Samsung power cord. I had my personal Pony assistant call my mom, who was going to meet us by the park to pick up my last week's tabloids. Drug deals occur there less frequently that dry goods exchanges between Mom and me. "Oh, and tell her she can ride along with us to the computer store."

"Grandma says she's just wearing her old clothes. Is that all right?"

"Sure. She won't have to get out anywhere."

"Okay. She's going."

We picked her up and embarked on our quest for the elusive computer store. "I can't remember the name. It starts with a Z or a D. And it's two words. It's between the Auto Zone and Commerce Bank." Well. I drove by in rush hour traffic, and there was no building between Auto Zone and a different bank chain. We were meandering all round the back of town. "Well, I don't know where it is. We've come all this way and can't find it."

"Do you have a phone number?"

"No. I thought you said you didn't want a universal charger. So I didn't write it down."

The Pony shouted out the name. Seems he had Googled the town and "computer store" on his old laptop, and discovered that instead of being on West Backroads Boulevard, the shop was on East Backroads Boulevard. We found it between a NAPA Auto Parts and a Commerce Bank. Yeah. Amundsen and Scott, seekers of the South Pole, had nothing on us. Though I'm sure The Pony breathed a sigh of relief that we did not run short of food.

But that's not the crux of this story. It's merely the set-up. After buying a power cord, we headed to Arby's. I asked Mom to go in with me to help carry. The Pony chose to wait in the car. I ordered a round of the five for $5.00 junior sandwiches. Two rounds, in fact. Ten sandwiches. And that clerk had the nerve to ask, "For here or to go." Yeah. Suicide by faux roast beef.

But that's not the crux of this story. I parked across two parking spaces. They're small. And one was against the side curb where the drive-thru vehicles exit. Mom was a bit reluctant to go inside. "Oh, I'm wearing these old pants with the hole in the knee. I guess I can let my purse dangle down in front of it." Let the record show that she had on some kind of dark heather gray stretchy kind of pants with a small snag less than the size of a quarter at one knee. Not at all noticeable. And her egg-yolk-yellow t-shirt had nothing wrong with it.

Of course while we were waiting by the soda machine after getting The Pony a root beer, a work colleague of my sister approached Mom to chat. You remember my sister, right? The wife of the ex-mayor? She just retired. She took Mom out for ice cream yesterday, though Mom asserted that SHE was the one who paid, like that canceled out the good-deededness of the outing.

And now, we're getting closer to the crux of this story. Mom was beside herself that she ran into somebody who knew her. Never mind that everyplace Mom goes, she runs into somebody who knows her. She's the Norm of the Backroads community. So what does Mom do, when talking to this friend of my sister? "Oh! I'm so embarrassed. I didn't plan to get out of the car. Or see anyone I knew. I usually don't look like this. This is terrible. Look! I've even got a hole in my pants!" She moved the purse. Bent her knee at a hole-flattering angle. The friend assured her that it was fine. That she didn't even notice. She had only wanted to say hello.

We grabbed our provisions and left, stepping out into the sunlight and judgmental gazes on our way to the two parking spaces. When we got back to the car, Mom started laughing. "That always happens to me! I should never have come with you like this."

"You know, it might not have been as noticeable if you hadn't followed her to the counter, yelling, 'Look at this hole in my pants! I've got a big hole in my pants. I'm so embarrassed by this hole in my pants.' All while swinging that purse around and sticking your knee up like a drum majorette."

"Oh! Stop! We always do this! Now you've got me tickled."

I headed back to our rendezvous point. "Do you want anything, Mom? A soda to go with your sandwiches? There's Sonic. A Diet Cherry Coke?"

"No. I don't need anything."

"Well, I'm going to pull in there anyway. And make you get out, and parade up and down in front of both sides of cars, shouting, 'Hole in my pants! Hole in my pants! Looky here! I've got a hole in my pants!' Next time I'm going to call you early in the morning. Hey, Mom. Come ride with me. No need to change out of your pajamas. And I might accidentally catch my finger in the steering wheel, and need to stop by the ER for x-rays, and you'll need to go in with me, of course...

Here comes the crux of this story. Inside Arby's, Mom had waved a ten-dollar bill and asked me if I had a five. No. She said, "I was going to give you some money, but all I have is a ten. Do you have a five in the car?" No. Next thing I knew, Mom went out to ask The Pony what kind of soda he wanted, and when she came back, she had TWO DOLLARS folded up in her hand, and she shoved them in my shirt pocket. And even though there was mention of me possibly getting change after my purchase, after all that pants-hole camaraderie, MOM DID NOT GIVE ME ONE MORE RED CENT!

That, my friends, is the crux of this story. I AM NOW THE TWO-DOLLAR DAUGHTER!!!


  1. Wow, Val. You are at an all-time low. You'd better do something special for your mother--and soon--so your stock will improve a little.

    Do you have any idea of what you can do?

  2. She's gambling on line and Genius turned her on to it. Or Hick has borrowed money from her in order to buy more crap.

  3. Your mother at least stuffs it; my mom used to throw money at us. You are quite a writer and never fail to make me laugh out loud.

  4. Hanging on like Scott's South Pole dogs to learn the crux of the story.

    Although you provided all that good advice about pants-hole protocol, a fine tour east side, west side and all around the town, an opportunity to show off those stylin' trousers and you got two dollars. At least she didn't mention all the stuff about two years of diapers, sleepless nights and holding your hair when you barfed. Moms are good about forgetting the bad stuff. If not, we would only get pregnant once.

  5. Sioux,
    But I give her my old tabloids every week! And Monday she got a BBQ pork steak and poor man's potato salad! Plus my spoilers for Big Brother, and phone calls morning and evening. That's way more than driving her for ice cream one time after I've been retired for three months.

    Hick does odd jobs for her, and is well-compensated in both cast-off junk and monetary means. Mom's idea of gambling was to split a $20 bill at the casino one time in her life. But she DOES send five dollars to Genius every other week. He's the five-dollar grandson.

    Let's hope I'm not arrested for dispensing laughter, the best medicine, without a license. Mom is very generous with her assets. Sometimes it's like an Easter egg hunt, the way she distributes her currency. In a Walmart bag, in my car cup-holder, in the side of my purse, in a returned Hot & Sour soup container, in the pages of a catalog she wants me to order from...

    Mom wouldn't dare mention the bad stuff. That's because I keep her laughing so she can't get it out. Just this morning, she said, "Oh, I'm tired out from laughing so much yesterday." She was going to drop The Pony off for his bowling league. I told her to be sure to wear her gray pants. She cackled like one of Hick's yard chickens.