Story Value

random musings and episodes from the life of a 40 something comidienne/corporate refugee/mom - since whatever doesn't kill you provides excellent story value.

Monday, June 18, 2007

In which they are still just wet cucumbers

Calling my parents is remarkably like eating a Lil’ Debbie snack cake. It seems like a good idea at the time. “Hey, I think, maybe they’ve improved with time.” “I’m sure they’ve changed the recipe by now … and that picture on the box looks pretty alluring.” Afterwards, I just feel vaguely nauseated, my teeth hurt, and I could kick myself for STILL not lowering my expectations sufficiently.

87% of adults have complicated, ambivalent relationships with their parents. 98% of statistics are made up … but this one I’ll buy. My parents aren’t (to my knowledge) serial killers, alcoholic abusers, pedophiles or anything remotely interesting. They are just utterly apathetic.

“Oh,” friends will say. “My parents are apathetic too – they’re workaholics, more interested in their hobbies, friends or volunteer work than me.” “That’s just it,” I say. “My parents don’t have any hobbies, they don’t socialize, work or volunteer. They literally find dust mites more interesting than their own children.

Our phone calls go something like this. “Hi Mom, NASA just picked me to be the first civilian captain of the International Space Station. I’m going to be launching on …” At this point, I’ll be interrupted with: “I saw the most fascinating show about the evolution of the teapot last night. It was a four-part special … (insert roughly 45 minutes of excruciating detail about pre-Columbian teapots.)” I can literally put the phone down, mix and consume a pitcher of margaritas and my mother will still be holding forth on the optimal curvature for bamboo teapot handles.

When I say “apathetic” – I mean at the Olympic Gold Medal champion level. My parents possess the the kind of mythic apathy that produced one of the best answering machine messages of all time:
“Oops, guess we missed your birthday. I was looking at some expired lunch meat the other day and I noticed the date was your birthday, so I guess this is late.”

Mmmm yes, my bologna has a first name -- it’s Hallmark.

Today, my parents surprised me by hijacking the conversation to announce that they bought land in rural South Carolina. They plan to move to Aiken, South Carolina so they can “get away from it all.”
They live in a leafy suburb 25 minutes away from any urban center. No one has visited them in, no kidding, five years. But, somehow they have miraculously conquered their fear of the gypsies that live in the greater Aiken area (which is another post) and are planning to head south.

When my father came reluctantly to the phone, he was clearly irritated that my mother had divulged their plans. “We didn’t tell your sister when she called because we decided not to tell anyone. Your mother must have forgotten that.”

“So you were planning a secret move without telling your kids?” I asked.
“Your mother made home made pickles yesterday,” he replied. “If you had one today, you wouldn’t know they were pickles yet, they’d just be wet cucumbers.”

Yep, they are still just wet cucumbers. And wet cucumbers they will stay. I am just hoping Lil’ Debbie doesn’t introduce wet cucumber cakes anytime soon.


Blogger Amy said...

I can so identify. I love checking in on your blog to delight in a light chuckle from your so relatable and humorous posts!
Rock on!!!

5:42 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Okay, I am cracking up about the wet cucumbers. Did they really say that??? And is the move true???

Aside from those two details, it's like we have the same parents, which doesn't seem possible, since mine are Jewish and yours are not. ;)

And for the record, my favorite pickles are the ones that are still cucumber pupa. Ewwww! :)

4:57 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Just have to add...every time I read one your posts I MISS YOU! :)

4:58 PM  
Anonymous spark and foam said...

I can just imagine the conversation you parents had after you hung up.Wet pickles, indeed. XO Violet

6:30 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hey, what happened to my comments? :) They were not enabled! :) Did you get them?

5:37 PM  

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