The Woman Who Raised Me Is Nuts
Last weekend, I met my mother in Vegas for a family reunion so that we could have some quality “mommy and me” time. Mommy and me time for us simply means gossiping, talking shit, and disrupting kind and decent people with hours and hours of unruly laughter in public spaces. Over our four days together, my mother confirmed what I’ve always known.
SHE’S NUTS. She’s certifiably ridiculous.
Below are a few highlights from our trip:
My mom checked a bag for a four-day trip to Vegas. She had to pay an extra fee because the bag was 12 lbs. overweight.
Her checked bag contained a 48 oz. bottle of Pine Sol that only had “a corner”1 of Pine Sol left in it. She used the Pine Sol to disinfect the hotel bathroom. Afterwards, she packed up the bottle, which, at that point, contained less than a corner of Pine Sol, and put it back in her suitcase for her next trip.
She insisted that we eat at the hotel buffet because, as she said when she called me from downstairs where she was scoping out the buffet offerings, “You gotta come check out these meatballs!” She has never been able to resist a mediocre salad bar.
She washed her hands before we went to the buffet. Then she washed her hands after she selected her food but before she sat down to eat. When she returned from washing her hands, she brought a handful of wet, soapy paper towels for me to use to wipe my hands before I ate at her table. She also laid out a spread of paper towels on her chair before she sat down.
Earlier, a gentleman working at the casino tried to flirt with her by giving her a stuffed teddy bear. Yes, it was indeed the ugliest, rattiest, homeliest teddy bear you’ve ever seen. But after a really awkward 20-second stare down, I had to interject and accept the bear on her behalf because I could hear the question, “What the hell does he want me to do with this shit, Kee?” beginning to form on her lips.
She tried to leave the bear behind on the table at the restaurant, but the waitress ran after us when we left and returned the bear to my mom. My mom turned to me and said, “Damn, this bear is so ugly I couldn’t even leave it behind, Kee.” She went on, “I’m saying, Kee. The waitress comes from a country where women have nothing. No freedom. And no rights. Nothing. And she didn’t even want this ugly assed bear.”
After at least 5 hours of catching up on the latest gossip, which can be summed up as, “who cheated on whom …and tried to kidnap the baby,” she concluded, “Men these days just aren’t marriage material…But I know there is someone out there for you.” Awesome. By the way, “Akilah Green presents Who Cheated on Whom and Tried to Kidnap the Baby” will be the name of my first stage play.
After dinner, my mom went up to a black woman working on her computer in the lobby café and complimented her on how smooth her knees were. As she noted, “They aren’t rusty at all!” Then she turned to me and said, “We’re going to have to work on your elbows.” Thanks, Mom.
She asked me about the jeans I was wearing: “What do you call those? Distressed? I mean, I guess I would wear some jeans like that… to the laundromat.” Yet, she swears she is killing the game with that same french roll that she has been rocking since Waiting to Exhale came out. You can exhale now, Mama.
On Saturday morning, I woke up to find her on the floor next to her bed doing circuits of crunches and bicycles on a make-shift yoga mat that she constructed out of hotel towels. I see you, hot stuff. Seriously, you can’t tell her a thing.
For the past several years, her outgoing voicemail on her phone has said, “Hello? Hellooo?? HeyNatecomehelpmewiththisphone! * CLICK *” Apparently, she was unaware that this was the case, and she didn’t believe me so I played it for her on speaker phone. She was mortified. She insisted that it wasn’t her on the outgoing message. With a straight face, she insisted that someone else, perhaps Verizon, recorded that message on her phone. Then she walked out of the hotel room.
She cracked a joke that cracked herself up to the point that she had to stop in the middle of a crowded street, double over, and laugh until she cried SEVEN times. Seven separate times. I totally “get it from my mama.”
I’ve always known my mother was nuts. As a kid, her insistence on opening door knobs using the plastic Walgreens bags that she hoarded and kept in her pocket to use as a glove made me wish I would just get kidnapped by a creepy stranger in the grocery store.
But, now that I’m older, I can’t get enough of her.
A “corner” is a unit of measurement sometimes used by African Americans to describe the “last little bit” of liquid left in a bottle. Used in a sentence: “Save a corner of that orange juice for me!” ↩