Yeah, Mother’s Day. Okay. No big deal in our little house of horrors. We had kids once, but the cats were allergic, so we had to get rid of them.
I gave Guido flowers. Morning wood, my favorite. I grow it myself. Then I made breakfast for us both, thumbing my nose at cholesterol concerns.
There are some very old people in my family, well into their 90s. I made some calls, including my mother up north. I won’t say how old she is, but in dog years, she’s dead.
“There’s nothing new here, dear,” she tells me (as usual). “Do you remember Eleanor Fenstermacher? Her husband Robespierre worked with your father.”
Just the name, Mom. Never met them.
“Well, she’s been in declining health for a while now. They live on the 18th floor. She sent him out to pick up something from the store this week, and as soon as he left the building, she opened the window and jumped.”
Shit. Not again.
“Yes, it’s the second one this year. They had the street blocked off for hours. Can you imagine how he must have felt when he got back? Or the poor people coming in to work that day? There was quite a mess.”
Mother of creeping Jesus. Talk about “declining health.” And “Fenstermacher” in German means “window maker.” Way beyond irony.
This is what it’s like getting old and decrepit. My mother, who has spent her entire life in Philadelphia, has outlived all her friends from school, the neighborhood she raised her family, her husband, their second neighborhood when they moved, one older sister and one younger brother, and a good number of the people she’s met over the last decade living in a senior facility.
“I come down for breakfast and find out somebody else snuffed it overnight,” she says, matter-of-factly. “It just doesn’t pay to get too close to anybody. They croak on the drop of a hat.”
Why don’t you come down to Florida, mom? At least you can watch nature grow like blazes all year round. Life at its most intense.
“I don’t think so, dear. I hate the south, and your house is ‘way too hot. I couldn’t live there if you gave me. I wouldn’t live there if you made me.”
Mom–that’s the Talking Heads.
“Taking what, dear?”
Never mind, Mom. Mum’s the word.