the smell of my desperation has become a stench

An ode to Linda

So my mom calls yesterday, and immediately I set a timer to see if maybe this time we can set a record. Because my mother does not like to talk on the phone, and on average has said goodbye within twenty seconds. That is not an exaggeration. Twenty seconds. A phone call with my mother sounds like the guy who is auctioning off a cow, except that guy is coherent and my mother? A bit more like someone is beating a cat with a banjo.

I say that with all the love in my heart, Mom. You know how much I love banjos.

Like, I’ll talk to my brother Ranger, and he’ll mention that he had a phone call with my mom, and when I ask him how long he’ll go, A MINUTE FORTY-FIVE, BITCHES!

Jon doesn’t understand why my mom cannot stay on the phone, thinks that she has some sort of emotional aversion to the whole situation, and many times will say that conversations with her on the phone sound exactly like this: if I don’t hang up now someone might die, goodbye.

Remember that movie about the bus that had to keep moving or it would explode? Twist that around and turn it on its head and there you have my mom’s relationship to the telephone. The longer she talks, the more likely the world will end. I think I just armchair diagnosed her with something and saved her a ten dollar copay. THAT’S BETTER THAN A COUPON FOR CONDENSED MILK, MOM.

I tease her because I love her, she knows that, although I do expect a phone call in about ten minutes, one that lasts about fourteen seconds wherein I am labeled a turd.

Anyway, she calls to tell me that she has a story she thinks I will totally identify with, because she and I are the same person, and oops, I forgot to tell you. I have the exact same relationship with the phone. Sort of. I mean, I can have long conversations, but usually I’m all about WHAT? WHAT DO YOU WANT? SERIOUSLY? GET TO THE POINT, I HAVE MUCH PAJAMA-WEARING IN-THE-BED BLOGGING TO DO.

So it turns out that she and my stepfather are participating in a program at church where they are reading ten pages a day out of The Book of Mormon, and since my mother is The Most Competitive Person On The Planet, she is making sure that she is ahead of my stepfather. Meaning, she secretly snuck into his copy of the book to see how far along he was, and when she saw that he was within two pages of where she was, she ran right to her copy and read thirty more pages. And she was all, HA! THIRTY PAGES AHEAD! See if you can catch up to that, SLOW READER.

Now, there are too many layers of ridiculousness to this that I can’t even count that high, starting with Mom, there is no prize at the end of this contest. You know that, right? And here you are cheating which is totally against the Word of Wisdom, or isn’t it one of the ten commandments? WHATEVER. It’s a sin no matter how you look at it MINUS A HUNDRED POINTS FOR YOU.

Except — and this is the reason the word except was invented — I totally wanted to high five her right there, right as we passed the one minute fifty-two second mark of our conversation. SUCK IT, RANGER.

Because sometimes when Jon and I are working out on treadmills next to each other at the gym and I look over and see that he is burning more calories than I am? I will increase the incline by ten and up the speed to HEART ATTACK just so that when we’re done my calorie count is at least one point higher than his. Otherwise I can’t go on living.

So you see? These neuroses. NOT MY FAULT.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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