That's Not Me, Mom
**This essay is the next in a series that deals with the topic of caring for an aging loved one, namely my mother. Be advised that these are intended to deal with a very serious issue, in a lighthearted and humorous way. Feel free to peruse those linked stories for more background or information.**
On a Monday morning in the fall of last year, I took my mother to her neighborhood cannabis dispensary of choice. I forget which combination of discounts it is that makes edibles so affordable on Mondays, but whatever it is, that’s her time to strike. I made a purchase myself this particular morning and just as we were leaving the store she mentioned that she had left something behind or forgot to get her receipt or some such. Whatever it was, I proceeded to the car while she went back into the shop.
It was a chilly autumn day, so I turned on the car to get the heat going again and proceeded to scroll through the emails on my phone. After a minute or so I looked up just in time to shout, “No ma - that’s not me!!!” at the windshield as my mother opened the passenger door of a car parked directly in front of the dispensary, about 50 feet from where I was observing the action.
Mouth agape, I watched as my mother stood, also mouth agape, gazing into an empty but running late-model Subaru that, from her perspective, appeared to have consumed her son and somehow replaced him with blaring heavy metal music. I posit that my inaction during this sequence of events was caused by a sort of shock-induced paralysis. As it’s at least as plausible as the notion that perhaps I just wanted to see how the whole thing would play out. A baseless accusation leveled after the fact. I digress.
Thankfully, it only took a few seconds for her to run through the mental flowchart of realistic probabilities and end at “This is not the vehicle I arrived in.” With the clean senses produced by a mini-adrenaline burst now steering her ship, she slammed the door shut and looked directly over at me as if she had known where I was the whole time.
Our countenances of shock and concern swiftly morphed into relief and amusement. She plodded over to the passenger side of the correct car, and we both began laughing as she opened the door and got in. Then, as is typically the case, I watched the brown puffball on top of her hat bob in precise, rhythmic circles inches from my face while her body lurched to and fro attempting to force the latch of her seatbelt into the buckle. Now handicapped by laughter as well as a pre-existing lack of tab-a-into-slot-b coordination, it would require half a dozen or more tries before she ultimately attained the satisfying click of success. Then with both human and THC-laced cargo finally secured I drove us back to her apartment. Where we both had an edible.