Bait and Switch

My mom worries a lot.  Like alotta lot.  It’s kinda her thing.  So much so, we siblings like to take turns being the one she’s worrying about.  Sometimes it works out without much work.  For example, I kept most of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 on lock down with that whole cancer bag.  Drew kept her busy for most of May, then Thom took over for June with his trip to Bonnaroo.  I’m pretty sure she’s fretting about Mike right at this exact moment as he’s in the middle of a road trip.

Now don’t go judging…it’s important that we give her things to worry about.  If we don’t manufacture plausible worry targets, she’ll make ’em up out of the middle of nowhere.  The poor woman will spend hours agonizing that she left the mayonnaise out to long on the kitchen counter and we’re all going to die of salmonella poisoning.  If there’s no one to cook for, she’ll rehash a biting remark she made thirty years ago and fret that she forever scarred that individual.  She just is so full of love and concern she absolutely MUST find an outlet for worry.

A couple of evenings ago, I attended a benefit for a cancer organization down in SoHo.  After the shindig, I decided to stroll through Tribeca and down into the Financial District to catch the World Trade Center Path Train.  While strolling, I checked my messages – just Mom.  I called Mom back to get the details on Michael’s death (last I had heard he was only in the hospital).  While we discussed how sad and tragic the whole thing was, I accidentally said out loud, “Well I have no idea where the hell I am now.”

“It’s 10:30 at night!  How do you not know where you are?  Are you lost?  Are there people around?  Can you find a cop to ask directions?  Oh lord, get in a cab!  Do they have cabs in that god forsaken city?”

I waited for her to pause and catch her breath.

“Mom, it’s only 10.  I’m perfectly safe.  There’s people everywhere.  It’s really well lit.  You don’t need to worry.  Promise.”

I heard her intake of air as she pulled the phone away from her face.  “BOB!  She’s lost downtown.  Get in here!”

“Mom, I’m fine.”

“Please take a cab.  You’re killing me.”

Oh no, not my turn to be the center of attention again already.  C’mon Chemosabe, think quick.

“Say, did I tell you Thom said he was going to try heroin tonight?