You Gotta Love Mom
The Scene: My cubicle.
The Time: 1:15 p.m. Friday. Just back from lunch
Phone: Ring! Ring!
ME: Good afternoon, XYZ. How may I direct your call?
VOICE: Hi honey, it's me!
MOM: We're in the truck.
ME: Where are you?
MOM: We're -- um, Stewart... Elliott.
ME: You're in SEATTLE?
MOM: We're just down the street from you!
ME: What are you doing here?
MOM: Oh, I had a few days of vacation left, and I just decided to go somewhere!
ME: And you came here?
MOM: I thought I'd surprise you!
ME: Well, you sure did!
MOM: I can see your building!
ME: Okay, pull into the first driveway. I'll be right down.
(I hang up the phone, get up from my desk and head for the reception lobby. On the way I pass a co-worker).
ME: My mother is here.
CW: Gee, that's nice!
Now, for most people this might not seem like such a bizarre scenario. After all, parents probably visit their children at work -- if not frequently, then certainly with some degree of regularity, assuming they live in fairly close proximity to each other. That's where this starts to get a little strange for me. My mother lives 200 miles away, and in the -- let's see, 18 years I've lived in Seattle, she has come up here exactly -- um, once before. And that was to see a show. And that was nine years ago.
Suddenly, she's decided to just "pop in" to my office on a total whim. So, I can't help but ask myself as I'm walking down the stairs, "Did she just wake up this morning and decide, 'Oh, I'll go visit Chris today!'?" She's never done this before in nearly 20 years, so I hope you'll excuse me for thinking this is a little wierd.
Anyway, we have a nice innocuous chit-chat over nothing of consequence for about half an hour standing around my desk, because there's only one chair and she'd just spent 3 1/2 hours in a pickup truck, so was more eager to stretch her legs than anything. Everything was pleasant, but, all the while I am just struck with this sense of surrealness; this is just so NOT like my mother -- or maybe it IS so like her, and that's what really puzzles me.
Mom is big into denial. She's denied most of the major traumatic experiences of her life pretty much since the day she found out she was pregnant with me, I figure, so she's had a lot of practice at it. Now, I don't mean to infer that this was in any way a traumatic situation -- it actually was a rather pleasant surprise once the initial shock wore off -- but, at the same time I can't help but think she just assumed it would be no problem, that I would naturally have time to see her, and that it was not big deal that she was coming to visit me (as opposed to me visiting her) for the first time in nearly a decade. It's not like it's a regular occurance, and frankly it just has me flummoxed. I mean, she didn't even think to call to see if I was there, or if I was out sick or on vacation, or with enough notice that I could have taken a late lunch and we could have gone somewhere, no it didn't occur to her to phone until 5 minutes before she arrived!
So, I keep asking myself, "Is this normal behavior?"
And the problem is -- I just don't know.
on 6:06 PM