Mama Knows Best

If you all didn’t know by now, I’m the world’s biggest hypochondriac going. Anything that seems alarming to me—I’m at the doc’s office for a checkup. In the past year, I’ve been rushed to the emergency room more than twice, and rushed to the doctor’s more than a dozen times. Symptoms range from chest pains, which ended up to be an anxiety attack—or a muscle strain from lifting weights, and major headaches; which I seriously though I was having an aneurism or stroke.

The scary part is, anytime I have a pain or scream for help—I’m not taken seriously anymore. Madelene always takes me seriously, but she goes by protocol---she knows the drill: try to comfort her…if that doesn’t work, throw her in a bathroom full of steam…if that doesn’t work, off to the emergency room we go. A lot of my chest pains stems from my chronic bronchitis that turns into a full-fledged asthma attack. And at other times, it could just be anxiety. I can’t determine which is which. Thoughts in my head scream, “I’m dying! I’m dying!” Then I remember—I’m not breathing. How can someone forget to breathe? Isn’t that an involuntary action?

“Ya want a beer Debs?” Mom says, as I stand there holding my chest tight one evening. She knows that it’s most likely anxiety—so she offers me a beer.
“Sure ma…” I say, thinking maybe she’s right. It can’t hurt to find out.
“It’s probably gas!” She says, as she grabs me a beer. Lovely. I’m standing there thinking I’m dying and she’s blaming it on gas. She’s said that in front of people before too. It’s the most embarrassing statement ever!
“Burp it out.” She suggests.
“Ma! Come on! What do I look like?” I said—as a gulped down the beer like a hillbilly.

I’ll never forget the time when Madelene and I were separated for a couple of years. I had a date one night. I was getting ready to meet this girl at a restaurant nearby. I was really nervous, because it was one of my very first dates after my break up. I met the girl from a personal ad on the internet. We exchanged emails constantly, and then graduated to the phone. This woman had a personality like no other. We laughed all the time when we spoke. We decided it was time we finally met.

I remember hopping in my car, driving to Hallmark to pick up a “glad I met you card” (blank inside—had to write in my own words) and a box of chocolate truffles. I planned on keeping them in the car until the date was over; just in case I didn’t like her very much, I can always use a few chocolate pick me ups.

Immediately upon arrival at the restaurant, I park my car on the side of the road. I call my friend Lisa who was single back then as well. We were both in the dating pool trying to weed em’ out and select the lucky winner. Yeh.

“Lisa, I’m here already, she said she was driving a blue Camry….I am not sure if I dressed right or if she’ll like me.” I would tell Lisa all my worries and fears before my date, and she would always calm me down with words I needed to hear--even if it was bullshit. We did this for one another like two lunatics who just got out of an insane asylum.
“There she is! I gotta go! I hope I don’t trip on the way out of my car! These heels suck!—Call you later, I’ll tell you everything tonight.”

There she was, gorgeous, feminine, and dressed to the nines. Wow. Now that I know about her bubbly personality and great sense of humor, this is going to be good--unless she doesn’t dig me. Hmm. I approached her at the front of the restaurant. She hugs me…tight. Smiles from ear-to-ear on both of us, we talked for a few minutes, and then proceeded to enter the restaurant.

“So, did you have trouble getting here? Did you find it okay?” I asked just to start the conversation.

Why do people always say that once arriving somewhere that they are not familiar with? Of course they found it okay or they wouldn’t be sitting smack-dab in front of you nimrod! Sad but true, we say it as a conversation starter. Admit it--you do it too. Surprisingly, the conversation was quite boring. Where’s this waitress? I want a drink! Please loosen this girl up! It was as plain as day that this woman was extremely nervous, because her personality took a long vacation. Maybe it was me…who knows! I tried to talk, she tried, but nothing came out. Just blank stares across the table with a ‘teethy’ smile. Lord help me.

The waitress comes to my rescue. I try to be all impressive, and took it upon myself to order one of the best red wines they had. What a freak—I should have just ordered an Amstel Light and a shot of vodka like I normally do. No, I had to be an idiot and take the ‘hoity-toity’ road.

“I’ll just have a cup of coffee please.” My date says in a low toned voice.

Did I just hear this correctly? It’s me, a bottle of wine, and her drinking coffee? You got to be kidding!

“Am I keeping you up?” I chuckled to make light of things.
“Oh, no, I’m sorry, I just got back from an AA meeting. I have a problem with alcohol.”

I felt so bad. If I would have known this girl had a drinking problem, I would have never, ever ordered something that would tease her temptation. I was Satan himself! It was way too late, because the waitress already popped the cork.
“Oh, please, I don’t mind if you have wine, in fact, it would make me uneasy if you didn’t drink it.” She said to me very convincingly.

I didn’t believe it, but what could I do now? I had to think of strategic moves in order to sip my wine. I even went as far as hiding the wine glass behind the bread basket. This was torture. I finally began to grasp the realization that I was not going to even drink this glass of wine, no less the whole entire bottle. The conversation was starting to liven up a bit, and she told me about her career as a massage therapist. Why are so many lesbians in this business? Please don’t answer that. Anyway, after dinner, I asked her if she would like to come over my house for some cappuccino. I make the best cappuccinos and delicious coffees, she had to give in. It was a cold winter evening, so I made a huge fire and the cappuccinos, as promised. She asked if it was okay if she smoked. I had no problem with it, although I am a reformed smoker—this was quite ironic. Reformed smoker dates reformed alcoholic. Lovely.

“Do you have lotion?” She asks as she sips her coffee and lights her cigarette for the tenth time.
“Excuse me? Lotion? Umm, sure. Be right back.” I get the lotion thinking that this chick is going to be aggressively forward. I was nervous. Why am I retrieving this lotion for her? Why did I agree? I could have simply said no, and that was that. I come back into the living room with a bottle of lotion in hand. She ducks out her cigarette and sits next to me on the couch.

“Do you know that massaging arms are very relaxing and stress relieving?” She said as she starts pumping the lotion into her hands.
“Hmm, I guess I’m fine with any part of my body being massaged.” I chuckled due to this awkward moment. She takes me left arm, and starts massaging this lotion on my forearm.
“I think forearms are very sexy.” She says as she rubs down my skin. Embarrassed over the fact that I shave and/or wax my arms, and usually don’t admit to it, I was glad it was freshly waxed that day, or she would have had stubble burn on her hands.

“You know, drinking is so awful for you. It really does a lot of damage to your liver. Drinking even can cause major health problems other than that.” This woman is lecturing me on drinking while she just puffed away half a pack of cigarettes in front of me while drinking her fourth cup of coffee that evening. Might as well just get it over with and smoke some crack! She was shaking like a leaf due to all the caffeine & nicotine intake. The nerve to lecture me you hypocrite! I brushed that comment off and said, “Ah well, we all have our evils.”

The night was coming to an end, and so was this arm massage. I decided that nothing else shaved or unshaved is going to get massaged. I walked her to the door and gave her the card and chocolates. I thanked her for a lovely evening. She reached over and kissed my lips very softly.

“Goodnight, thank you so much Deb.”
“Goodnight...” I closed the door and walked up to my bedroom so I can go to sleep. I should have aired the smoke out, but I was way too tired. As I was putting on my T.V. and getting into bed, my phone rings. It’s her.

“Deb, I just wanted to say I had such a great time with you. I got a 'ping' with you--major chemistry. Do you want to go out for dinner tomorrow again?”
“Oh, yeah, great.” I replied--too tired to dabble deeper into that comment.

Why did I say yes? Why did I just accept another date with this woman? Am I insane? I can’t even drink comfortably around her. That evening, I had a drink before meeting her. I went downstairs to where my mother lives, and I had a glass of wine. I told my mother about the dilemma I was having about my ‘date’.

“Ma, she’s got a problem with alcohol and goes to AA, so I feel like I can’t have a drink around her. I don’t want to tempt her.” I said, hoping my mother could give me some encouraging words.
“Oh Debbie! You can’t date her! Come on now! If you ever brought her to one of our family’s function---she’ll be knocked off that little wagon so fast—she won’t know what hit her! Are you kidding? You can’t date her! Why are you going?”

Words of wisdom from my mother. “Never date a person trying to recover from alcohol.” I thought it was comical actually. You would think my mother would encourage this date—since I hit the bottle a little more than usual. Naw, she wanted her daughter that took part in cocktail hours and martini-induced games of scrabble. My mother would be so disappointed if I gave up alcohol. So now, I don’t have my mother’s blessing—which means everything to me.

Now I had to venture off to see my date, who I knew wasn’t going to be ‘the one’, due to my mother forbidding this union. I’m not sure I was crazy about it either, but I had to go through with it. I couldn’t cancel at the last hour. My date and I met at a different restaurant. I was still kind of ‘tweeked’ over the fact that she lectured me about drinking wine. It’s not like I walk around the streets with a wine bottle in a brown bag. Come on! It’s wine with dinner. It’s normal. Get over it.

We sat down at a table and she looks around to notice that this place was very upscale and pricey, but it’s definitely not going to break the bank.
“Are you rich or something?” She asks me as she giggles. Who asks that? Even if I were super rich—who does that? What a rude question, even if done in jest.
“I hold my own, thank you.” I said anxiously waiting for the waiter to make his way over, because now I am ready to retaliate big time.The waiter finally comes and greets us.

“Hi my name is Larry and I will be more than happy to serve you tonight. May I start you off with a cocktail?”
“I think I’ll have something clear…I’ll have a 7UP with lemon please.” My date says as if she had just ordered the finest scotch in the house.
“And you? What would you like this evening?” The waiter addresses to me.
“Hmm…I think I’ll have something clear too… I’ll have a Grey Goose martini straight up-- extra olives please.”

“You know, I told my sponsor at AA about our date. She asked if I tasted the wine on your lips, and if that tempted me at all.” She says, almost indicating to me that she didn't want me to drink that evening.
"Well I'm drinking a vodka martini tonight--it shouldn't be so bad." I said, almost laughing hysterically in my mind.

I looked over at my date’s face to see her reaction, but she was too busy sipping her water. I believe it was a nervous reaction. During the whole course of that “last” date, I sipped my martini often, and I sipped my martini proud. I savored each vodka-soaked olive as if it were the most delicious thing in the world. That night, it was.