Monday, August 8, 2011

Let Me Tell You About My Mother

I had a yo yo once. It was green. It was the best yo yo in the whole world. I could walk the dog, do around the world, and even (once) a rock the baby. I had paid for it with my own money, gained from doing more chores than Hercules himself, and I never wanted it to leave my sight.
Unfortunately, I did. I left it on the coffee table once. Just once. That was all she needed.
I was out of the room for perhaps three minutes. Tops. But mothers have this sense about things, and she needed some chores done.
My yo-yo got yo-knapped.
“Mother? Have you seen my yo-yo?”
“Yes dear, but you’ll never see it again unless you clean your room.”
I was angry. I was very angry. I pulled the “But it’s MINE!” card. She countered with “it’s mine, now, until your room is done.” I tried a “But my room IS clean. Except for the clothes. And the toys. And the dirt. And I guess the bed isn’t made. But it’s not THAT BAD!” This one was kind of weak, but if “Mine!” didn’t work, nothing would, and I was basically just investing against further incursions upon my property by making things difficult this time around.
So we went back and forth for a few minutes, and then I went and cleaned my room. It didn’t take long, but by the time I had finished, she had time to draw up a whole LIST of horrible things, including vacuuming.
I can’t stand vacuuming. I can’t even stay in the house while somebody ELSE is vacuuming. The sound, the smell, and the banality of it repulse me.
But it was a green yo yo, and I wanted to try another rock the cradle. So I vacuumed. And did the dishes. And wiped down the table. And picked up the dog poop. And cleaned the bathroom. And did every single chore on that list. It took me HOURS. Do you know how long hours are in kid minutes? It’s like YEARS! DECADES! MILLENIA!
But I finally finished them all, and to my mother’s satisfaction. Finally she’d have to relinquish the yo yo, and it would never leave my sight again. I would figure out a way to fit it underneath my eyelids so I could sleep without fear of getting it snatched away in the night.
But my mother had another trick up her sleeve. “Go and make me a coffee.”
“That wasn’t on the list.”
“I don’t care. Go and make me a coffee.”
“But… I did… you said I could have the yo-yo back when I finished.”
“Are you talking? Because it’s hard to talk to me when you’re in the kitchen making coffee, and I know that’s what you’re doing because if you aren’t then the yo-yo’s going into the blender.”
She was the most evil person on the planet right then. Sauron couldn’t lift a ring bearing finger to her. Stalin himself would have shaved off his beard if she had asked him to at that moment. But I was mad. She had never asked me to make coffee before, and I was determined not to if I didn’t have to, and if I did have to it would be absolutely horrible coffee. I would make the opposite of good coffee. I would make coffee so bad that Columbian bean growers would stand up in the middle of the field and go “Somebody is making extraordinarily bad coffee right now.”
It would be so bad, that they would say it in English, even if they didn’t know English. 
Or I could just use some of the cold, stale coffee still in the pot from that morning. That would work too, and get me my yo-yo faster.
I brought my mother her coffee. I hadn’t even bothered to heat it up. When I handed her the mug, the look on her face was nothing short of astonishment. “You actually made me coffee?” she asked.
“It’s what you asked for, mother.” I replied sweetly. “Can I have my yo-yo now?”
“Hold it.” she said, and dipped her finger in what was supposed to be scalding hot bean water.
“Nope.” she said. “Go. Make. Me. Coffee. I didn’t say bring me coffee. MAKE IT.”
I protested more. I threw a fit. I started to cry. I cried harder. I howled. I was inconsolable. Finally, my mother had to roll her eyes and say “I hid your yo-yo in the pot where we keep the coffee beans.”
It was such a sweet reunion. I tossed it twice, managed to sleep it once, and then accidentally gave it too much slack and it shattered against the tile floor.
I guess that’s what you get with a yo-yo from the dollar store.

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