Thursday, November 30, 2006
Gertie is going to freak when she sees the phone bill
It comes in my name - that's what being the "senior" roommate gets you - but bills are communal property, so that we can make sure that the other isn't trying to rip the other off in terms of paying half the utilities. Not that either of us has ever tried that, but who hasn't had a roommate that would try and pull sneaky crap like that? So, as soon as they come, the suckers go up on the refrigerator and don't come down until Gertie has put a check in their place.
I wound up spending most of Thanksgiving on the telephone. The plan had been to spend it in a movie theater, doing a little catch-up, and maybe a little flirting. As much as being single is fun, I do occasionally like having my drinks and meals paid for, along with, you know, getting laid. I figure anyone going to an afternoon movie on Thanksgiving is pretty darn available. But, I slept in late, and by the time I showered, dressed, filled the void in my stomach, and figured in how long it would take to walk to a theater, I would have arrived at one of those times when the next block of shows I wanted to see wouldn't start for another hour and a half. So, figuring it's the thing to do, I called my mom.
The woman whom I remember raising me, that is. Even if she wasn't tied up with memories of how I met Korpin - and there's multiple reasons to be uncomfortable there, isn't there? - she's sort of the kind of person that, in my snobbier moments, I like to think I wouldn't know otherwise. We've all got those people - folks with whom we know by relation or random chance, and avoid when we can. It's petty, I know, but there's no harm in behing honest here.
I don't call her very often. It's uncomfortable for her. Even after two and a half years, my voice isn't familiar on the phone. That's a vicious circle, of course - I would be more familiar if I called or visited more often, but I don't because I can sense how much she doesn't like it. This, of course, was part of our initial conversation - I say hello, she says hello back, with just a bit of "who are you, anyway?" in her inflection, I say it's Marti, she says she hasn't heard form me in a while, I say I'm sorry. Then there's a pause, and I mention that at this point, she used to tell me I should come and visit.
Well, she says, that would be a little difficult to explain to the neighbors. I agree, but say maybe not so much as she thinks; I get by pretty well. She makes a comment about how expensive it is, but I tell her I'm making decent enough money now, and I've got most of my credit card and other debt paid down or at least at manageable levels. It kind of dawns on me that I'm kind of pushing for this, which I haven't done, in either identity, for almost five years. Part of it's sitting around in an empty apartment at noon with no smell of turkey; I'm really feeling alone.
I decide to change the subject, because as stilted as the conversation is, I don't want to hang up. I ask if she received the latest pictures of little Marty, and she says she has, and he's adorable - really starting to look like his father. "His father" comes out after she's half-said "Martin", and I wince a little, which she thankfully can't see. She has a little complaint about how expensive color ink cartridges for the printer, because she prints off all the photos Nat e-mails her to hang up. I agree, half the time it's cheaper to buy a new printer. Then something hits me.
"Mom, do you have any pictures of me in your place?"
"Oh, certainly - your college graduation, that one with you and your father--"
"No, not of... I mean, you know, of me, like I am now."
"Oh." She's quiet for a second. "I don't think I do. You don't send them to me."
I start to mention that she's never asked, but I realize that that's really sort of irrelevent. "No, I don't suppose I have. Would you want them? I mean, would you put them up, even if it means your neighbors ask who I am?"
She's quiet for a few moments. "This is important to you."
"Yeah," I say, "I guess it is."
"Well, then I guess I can find a way to deal with the neighbors."
Hearing her say that was such a huge relief. I may have even let a tear or two out. "Thanks, mom. I just... I just feel alone right now."
And then... We talked. We talked about my last breakup, Carter and Kate, Amy, trying to deal with the FBI... Just let it all out. I briefly feel a little pathetic, someone with over thirty years of life-experience laying all this on her elderly mother. She's nearly seventy, and shouldn't have to be dumped on like this. But, she's my mom, and that's apparently what moms do.
Gads, I don't know if I could do it. I can't imagine being in that position forty years from now.