Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Driving Miss Crazy

So I've figured out what Mom likes to do: ride in the car.

As long as we're in motion, she's engaged. She reads the road signs, the bumper stickers, signage on shopping malls. Every few minutes she asks, "Where are we going?" and I tell her (lunch, the doctor, Sam's Club for toilet paper and cat food, Mars, Cambodia, it really doesn't seem to matter what I say). "Oh," she responds, "That sounds nice."

And for the duration of the drive she is happy.

So I've taken to going the long way 'round. Extending every drive to its maximum, even inventing destinations so we can drive more.

"Let's drive by the movie theater and see what's playing," I suggest.

"Oh! I've never seen a movie!" Mom beams in anticipation.

Hmm. I know for a fact that Dad and I went to see a Charlie Brown movie (the Great Pumpkin?) while Mom went to "A Clockwork Orange", but I say nothing. I also remember rapturous retellings of "Gone With The Wind" that she went to at the Alabama Theatre. I briefly reflect on the fact that the last movie I saw with my Mom was when she took me and a bunch of my friends to the Alabama Theatre to see the 1976 "King Kong" and Michael Rasberry bought Ju-ju-bees and Mom thought it was strange that the boy didn't buy chocolate and popcorn like a good right-thinking American. Now there's nothing at the suburban gargantu-plex that catches her eye, and there's not even anything I want to see. We were hoping for "A Prairie Home Companion" but it's nowhere near our end of town.

We drive away and do our shopping. Back at the house, Mom is irritable. "The heat! It got to me. I'm going to sit in front of the fan." I unload the TP and paper towels and sundries. I marvel again at the power of the warehouse store: 72 rolls of toilet paper, divided among three people, for only $15.00. That's 4.8 rolls per person, and how long would it take me to go through a whole roll? I was assigned one in jail, guarded it zealously, even slept on it, and still there was plenty left at the end of my thirty-day sentence. Of course, the whole shitting-in-public thing kinda weirded my bowels, but still.... So one roll for one persom for one month. That's a TWO-YEAR supply for our little threesome, for only $15.00!

Of course, I also bought a box of frozen White Castle cheeseburgers, a month's supply of Glucophage and Pravochol, enough paper towels to cover a sizeable portion of Alabama's navigable waterways, and an ant trap.

(I applaud the young woman at the pharmacy who gamefully volunteered to check us out and then demonstrated her competence with one of those cord-free barcode scanners. She was a real time-saver.)

"I have to go home. There's raw chicken in the trunk and it's 100 degrees out here."

"I don't want you to leave," Mom said.

"I know, but I'm getting all my shit packed to move back in with you, and the sooner I get that done, the sooner I'll be here," I say.

Mom smiles.

And that's really all I can ask for.

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