Monday, May 9, 2011
Stay The Fuck Away From Me, World
As my wife and I walked hand-in-hand up the path to the front door of my parents’ house, we spied an unfamiliar sticker affixed to the screen door.
If my mother could be summed up in a sticker, it would be this one.
Fearful, paranoid, constantly warding off the evil eye or evil bacteria or evildoers in general, she is a 5’2” hundred-odd-pound bundle of anxiety with stylish short hair and librarian glasses.
And, we love her. And not just because yesterday was Mother’s Day either.
Being greeted as we were by this new sticker last night made me smile, because nothing says “my mother” quite like a “stay the fuck away from me, world” sticker on the front door that’s approximately a full foot tall. If she could enclose the property in razor-wire without it looking institutional, she would do it. Because, really—why take a chance?
We do not take chances in my family. In fact, when my wife texted me while I was at work Saturday to let me know that she had an idea percolating about something special to do next weekend to celebrate my birthday, this was my reply:
“As long as it doesn’t involve me performing and/or socializing too much, or potentially risking my life or our lives outside of the normal risks, you should be okay. I love you.”
Ah, good old genetics. Thanks for those hand-me-down worry-warts, Mom.
Not only are my parents proudly displaying this boldly-hued burglar warning on their screen-door, they had two more of them, they had two more of them, in case my sister and I wanted one for either or both of our houses.
I politely declined. The previous owners of our house, also apparently scared straight by the wicked world, had already placed an older version of this sticker on our front door years ago. My sister declined because she’s an asshole.
The previous owners of our house also have metal grates on the basement windows, three locks on the basement door, and auxiliary locks on all the windows in the house, operated by small keys. I think we must be distantly related.
I love my mom and her paranoia and her fears, many of which I have inherited. While I don’t wake up covered in sweat after having nightmares about thousands of half-naked Koreans storming the beach like she does, I am, basically, afraid of everything. Seeing that sticker on the front door of their house reminded me of the day when I was in fifth grade and I stayed home from school sick. And I called the police because some scruffy-looking guy was crawling through our bushes in front of our house. Three radio cars with emergency lights ablaze responded in under three minutes. When he didn’t comply with their directions fast enough, he was taken down.
It was the guy from the water company trying to read our meter.
I was worried that, when my mother got home from work and found out what I'd done, that I'd gotten a menial public servant thrown to the ground because I was a tightly-wound, neurotic child who watched far too much "Rescue, 911" for his own good, that I would get in trouble, that she would be disappointed in me, ashamed of me, mad at me, bewildered and confused by me. But she wasn't any of those things. She held me close and said,
"I'm very proud of you-- I'd have done exactly the same thing."
Of course she would have.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love your crazy, I love your sticker, and I love you.