For the past several years, I’ve told myself that my crazy mama might not be as crazy if she weren’t downing pills like they were M and M’s. But, she’s been “clean” for a couple of months now (the true reasons still elude me) and she is still nuttier than squirrel shit.
Let’s have a brief recap before I dive into my latest conversation with her:
Mama has been, since last fall, living with Kenny at the Doy Mobile Home Park. She still has her own home, mind you, which she must keep heated to 82 degrees because her power bills there are still higher than the annual income of most third-world country citizens. That house was “burgled” sometime after Christmas. The deranged thieves made off with untold scads of jewelry, mountains of priceless collectibles, a freezer full of the finest cuts of meat, several thousand dollars mama had hidden under her mattress, and a can of fruit cocktail. (At least this is the list mama has given the insurance adjuster.) In truth, the crowbar they used to open the door was probably the most valuable item that left the house that night. Mama met with her insurance adjuster exactly one month ago today. (Take note, that’s important a little later.)
Kenny is a hardworker. I’m reminded of this almost everytime I talk to mama. This means Kenny has a job that he goes to most days. Mama, as longtime readers will recognize, has a skewed view of what constitutes hard work (not to impune Kenny, who I’m sure is very dedicated to his job as a maintenance man). While Kenny is putting in his hours at work, Mama sits at his house, naps, and socializes with the other unemployed residents of the Doy Park. She complains of boredom and of feeling trapped. Why wouldn’t such a stir crazy person get into their car, you might ask? Well, Mama’s car has had a flat tire for over two months. God forbid she do ANYTHING to remedy that. She’s probably waiting to take advantage of some government program that provides tires to the “needy and disabled.”
Kenny, like many of us these days, does not have a landline phone. Mama does, back at her house. She also had a cell phone which provided 250 free minutes a month to the “needy and disabled” through some hairbrained program. Naturally, she burned through those 250 free minutes rather quickly each month. Much to my horror, Mama has recently decided to get a REAL cell phone plan. (Two years ago, I got a call from Verizon telling me that she was trying to add herself a line to MY plan. I may as well have been speaking Greek when I explained to her that if Verizon, a multi-billion dollar company, didn’t feel she was a good credit risk, that I, as a person of more modest means, certainly didn’t want to take her on.) Her new cell plan provides UNLIMITED minutes. Which means I once again get two or three calls a day from mama telling me about all of her maladies and her ongoing drama with the insurance company, the exhausting nature of the most mundane tasks, etc. etc.
Mama was explaining her new cell plan to me. I told her she may as well get rid of the landline she has back at the house in order to save money.
“Oh I just don’t feel right not havin’ a house phone.”
“It’s a waste of money, you don’t even live there!”
“Well I found out I qualify for a program….”
My blood starts to boil. Somewhere, my tax dollars are being spent to keep a phone line working in a house that some “needy and disabled” woman doesn’t even live in. I’ve always wondered what exactly she is disabled from. She’s never really worked a day in her life, so whatever physical ailment she has invented really isn’t preventing her from doing exactly what she has spent the last half a century doing. I digress…
“I need to get out and get my mail, I guess we’ll get to it this weekend, Kenny don’t have much energy to go out runnin’ around after he gets in from work. He puts in a hard day.”
“Why don’t you go do it yourself during the day then?”
“I ain’t got no way to.”
“You have a car.”
“I gotta get a tire for it.”
“God damn it, I’ve been hearing that for months. Go fix the damn thing!”
“I will, but I ain’t been feeling good.”
“For two months?”
“This thing has knocked me flat on my ass. But I’ll bounce back! I’m a fighter.” (Mama’s conversations are littered with little eg0-boosting comments such as “Im a fighter! I’m tough! I’m a hard worker! I’m a good person!” She must be trying to convince herself of these things, because to any reasonable person she’s a lazy, entitled complainer.)
“But they’s a check from the insurance company supposed to be in the mail.”
“Oh, did you get all that settled?”
“Well, part of it. This check is for the door and the refrigerator. They’s gonna be another one for all the stuff they took.”
“What’s the holdup on that one?”
“Lord, I gotta fill out all this paperwork! I don’t even know where to start! Then I gotta fax it over to him.”
This “paperwork” is a list of all the allegedly stolen items. That’s it. The adjuster asked for it a MONTH AGO. She sits in Kenny’s house day in and day out, unable to leave because her lazy ass can’t get a tire fixed, and somehow has not managed to get this list together in A MONTH?
“Mother, I could make a list of every damn thing in my house in about two hours. There is no reason why it should take you a month to list what was stolen.”
“I’ve got a lot more stuff than you do! And you wouldn’t believe what all they took! You know how much jewelry I had! Plus my CDs and everytime I look I find something else missing. But I met a new friend out here, her name’s Crystal, she’s 25 and has three kids, and her boyfriend went to school with your sister. She’s gonna help me get all this together.”
“Why on Earth do you need help to get this list together? Are you completely incapable of doing ANYTHING on your own anymore?”
“Well I found out I qualify to get a home health aide in four hours a day to do respite care. I’m gonna put that off long as I can though. I’m tough!”
“Respite care for what??”
“Now next time you come up, we gotta find a notary.”
“I need to put it in writing that you get everything when I’m gone.”
“I would anyway, you have no other heirs.”
“Yeah but you gotta sign it and I do to.”
“No I don’t.”
“That’s what they told me.”
“Well whoever ‘they’ are gave you bad advice. You have no other heirs, it would all come to me automatically, and whatever your will says does not require the people you’re leaving it to to sign off.”
“You know Robert died.” (Robert is my grandmother’s long-time hairdresser.)
“I didn’t. How’s Granny taking it?”
“I told her she was more upset at seein’ his obituary in the paper than she was at seein’ your sister’s.” (Mom didn’t even know she was in the world when my sister died, so she would have no idea as to what reaction my grandmother had at her passing.)
“I told her that too, cause it’s how I felt. She said I was crazy.” Imagine that.
“I need to go.” I’d had more than enough for one phone call.
“Alright baby, I’ll call ya back a little later.”