Transplanted Life
Friday, September 10, 2004
My mom sent me a letter today. Well, it's actually postmarked from earlier in the week, having just arrived today. I'd been a little worried, as some of the phone calls I'd made last weekend got a "number out of service" and even after phone service had been restored, I got her answering machine. She apologizes for that, but she has trouble with my voice, that she can't quite associate it with her son when she hears it. It's not as bad as having a pretty young lady (she says) stand in front of her and say "I'm your son", but it's not easy, either.

That's fair. There's a fair amount of talk about how Nat and I visiting shook her, but I won't quote from the letter, because I think people have a greater expectation of privacy when they send an actual piece of paper in an envelope than an email. It was an interesting read. A lot of it is information on what she and her friends in her "park" (it's not really a trailer park, but it is quite a few homes without basements that's connected to the road at just two or three points). Some of it is information on relatives who, even if I had a body that was related to them, wouldn't be that closely related to them. I didn't recognize a lot of names.

Some of it's just "mom stuff". She spends a good deal of time saying how she understands that this body doesn't have a college degree associated with it, but how my-late-father-god-bless-his-soul would be somewhat disappointed that a college degree was being put to use waiting tables. I want to jump in and say that I'm working on that, and that it looks like I may have a better job soon, but, of course, it's a letter and she can't hear me.

The document itself is curious. I can tell, while reading it, that she was of two minds writing it. Some passages are very formal, as though she's writing to a stranger or a passing acquaintence, while others have an air of familial familiarity. The handwriting is very neat, perfectly parallel on the unlined stationery, with no words scratched out to correct errors. Mom mentions her arthritis in the letter, but either it's not that bad or she concentrated hard, probably copying it over from an earlier draft, since even the individual letters are well-formed. The one concession is that she prints instead of using longhand now.

I'll probably type my response on the computer before printing it out, since the last year has shown me that being a girl doesn't magically give you good handwriting. I'll probably tell her about Wei's wedding, hopefully a new job, scandalize her with my dating female roommates. I hope that soon, we'll be able to communicate more directly, but I'm also glad she was able to get this far.

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