I screen phone calls from my mom. Is that bad? I haven't been doing it as much lately. Since Jess has been sick Mom has been calling me twice weekly with updates - and the conversations tend to be concise. Normally I talk to her for about an hour twice a month. When I say "talk" what I really mean is that I grunt "uh-huh" over and over again while she repeats the same riveting stories she told me in our last conversation about how she and my dad went out drinking at the club and/or how constipated/irregular/gassy she and/or my dad have been lately. When it becomes my turn to speak she starts talking to my dad in the background (usually about his bowels) and/or I'll eventually hear the toilet flush. I feel so truly loved - oh Mommy, how I treasure these moments.
I talked to her for about 20 mins on Saturday - I screened then called her back an hour later. She gave me the update on Jess but also expressed concern for our safety since she'd seen on the news that tornadoes had touched down around Chicago on Thursday. We don't live anywhere near Chicago, but I guess it's closer than say Cuba, and by the way - it's now Saturday. If there are ever tornadoes 2 hours away that are big enough to be a threat to me and last longer than 3 days I'm probably going to crunch down on the cyanide tablet anyway.
The tornadoes were news to me because A: they occurred 2 and a half hours away and because #2 - MDH was out of town all last week. When MDH is out of town I don't turn on the news, not even NPR. It's pretty much all Super Sweet 16 all the time.
Mom: So you're OK?
Me: Uh huh.
Mom: Did you hear about those kids that drowned in that lake at that place?
Me: Uh huh. I mean what? Where was this?
Mom: I don't remember where it was but it looked like somewhere up north so I thought it might be near you.
Me: I didn't hear about that. I don't really watch the news much when MDH isn't here.
Mom: I thought I raised you better than that! You should always try to keep abreast of current events. In fact that's the first thing I do every morning is read the Daily Sun (the Villages local large-print newspaper - it's the Washington Post of the over 70 set in central Florida) then I turn on CNN Headline News to catch the big stories, I mean that's why it's called Headline News after all, and if anything catches my attention I turn to Fox later on so I can get the real story.
Mom: Are you still there?
Me: Uh huh.
Mom: Well you got awfully quiet... I don't mean to give you a lecture but you should always be aware of what's going on in the world. I thought I always taught you how important is is to watch the news.
Me: Uh huh. I mean - no, you taught me how important it is to read the news and try to get information from different sources. Um... when did you start watching Fox News?
Mom: Oh I don't know, but I trust them more than any other news source. They get down to business and tell the real stories.
Me: Uh huh. They tell stories all right. Anywaaay.... Hey did I tell you that Amy (my best friend) has viral meningitis and spent 2 days in the hospital this week?
Mom: Uh huh.
Me: Yeah, she is probably going to miss her first week of school and... (I keep talking).
Mom: (to my dad in the background while I'm still talking) Baby did you see that I set out your breakfast? Yes. Yes. It's on the counter by the stove. No! On the other side of the stove. It's the big PLATE OF FOOD in front of you. No, it's turkey sausage. Turkey sausage. Because the last time you ate the regular kind it gave you exploding diarrhea. What is your tee time this morning?
Mom to me: Your poor dad got so sick the last time he ate regular sausage.
Me: Uh huh.
Mom: Let me give you a minute by minute replay of how sick he was.
Mom describes for 5 minutes how sick my dad was while I sometimes interject with things like "wow", "that's quite a mess" and "that must have been horrible".
Who are you lady and what have you done with my mommy?
How can this be the same bright woman who worked on the Stevenson campaign and worshiped JFK? Is this the same woman who made me start reading Newsweek as soon as I was old enough to read? Is this the same woman who turned off the TV whenever Ronald Reagan was on it? Fox News? Really? They won you over with their journalistic integrity? You can't get enough of the snappy repartee of Fox and Friends? Really?
I blame The Villages. I really do. She wasn't like this before she and my dad moved there.