Shopping With My Mother

I recently spent a few days hanging out with my mom. We watched an asston of movies on the ‘W’ Network, ate a disturbing amount of salt and vinegar chips and did a lot of shopping. Technically I did the shopping, but my mom loves joining me on these adventures. She knows my taste pretty well and is great with tricky zippers. She rarely balks when I drop $400 in 10 minutes and is great at acting surprised when I present her with the secret little presents I’ve bought for her during these outings. See, I hate shopping and I hate malls so when I do psych myself up for shopping it turns into something of an event that typically requires a nap after. My mother also lives near three massive outlet malls, which is a bonus. I can usually stock up for a season in under three hours.

It was during these shopping excursions (which also extended to a fun few hours in a Target, a Halloween decoration mission through Dollarama – of which her town has about 20 of) that I picked up a few interesting tidbits about my dear mother. Before I returned home I commented to her that although she seems very sweet she is, in fact, kind of a monster. My mother did not disagree; rather, she pretended to be embarrassed for about 30 seconds and then I added that I probably got my nasty side from her and she laughed and said “Oh probably. You’re kind of a cow.” But she said it in French so it sounded rather charming. Guys I’m not even making this up.

Here are some highlights:

1) My mother carries a full-sized brush in her purse. I know this because on three separate occasions she dug into her purse while casting concerned glances towards the general direction of my head and suggested I “might want to” brush my hair. She also did this in the middle of seeing a movie. I had to gently remind her that in the town she lives in wearing pajamas to the mall is considered appropriate, so I think the fine people at Target could handle my ‘I just tried on four sweaters’ hair. Then I snuck off to comb my hair in the electronics section, while squatting behind the rack of $5 DVDs so she wouldn’t see me. I carry a comb in my purse because that’s less crazy I think. Right? Moving on.

2) My mother is convinced that every single person in every single store we go in is trying to steal my purse. Just mine. When I head to a fitting room, she clutches my purse to her chest like it’s her job. I can’t even bring it into the room with me because inevitably I will wander out of that room to get her opinion on something I’m trying on and that is when everyone in the world ever will swoop in to steal my purse. And then she will be justified for her militant purse protecting skills.

3) While trying on dresses, my mom commented (in what I’m sure she believed was a nonchalant fashion): “You wear a lot of dresses to work. But you live ALONE. And you haven’t had a boyfriend in YEARS. Who helps you with your zippers?” My response? “The first person I run into when I leave my apartment, be it a homeless man, a barista or a stranger on the subway.” She did not find this amusing. I’ve actually done this twice. Mostly I just throw on a cardigan or jacket and wait until I get to work so my office mate can finish the job. Thanks H! Power to the single gals out there.

Other things I learned during our time together:

1) My mother likes to discuss the plots of various episodes of her favourite show ‘The Big Bang Theory’. She speaks as if these are people who exist in her life and comments on their decisions and multitude of personality quirks. I made the mistake of correcting her on a plot point of a particular episode I had just seen (because there’s always a Big Bang Theory marathon on, apparently) and she got so mad she half-yelled and a bit of her spit landed on my cheek.

2) Holy shit does she ever hate the guy from the Trivago commercials. As keen/borderline desperate as my mom is for me to pop out a kid, she has made it very clear that it cannot be with that guy. But she did mention that it “wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world” if I had a one night stand that led to a pregnancy. This from the same woman who sings in church every Sunday and gives me cut eye when I use the lord’s name in vain.

3) My mother currently has four half-empty (or half-full, if it pleases you) bottles of ketchup in her fridge. All are expired.

4) My mother has no idea what I do for a living. She mentioned this one night and I reminded her that she’s never actually asked. I said: “You could try asking me.” She replied: “I could.” And then she never asked me. But she’s determined to find out what floor of my office tower I work on because she is particularly worried that my untimely demise will be the result of a work-related incident in which my only chance at survival would’ve been to have an office no higher than the 3rd floor. I pepper our weekly phone calls with sentences like: “Yup, work is good. No complaints on the 93rd floor.” I can actually hear her heart stop during these conversations.

5) My mother has absolutely no problem telling all of her neighbours, church friends and random people who sell her lottery tickets  very personal details of my life, not limited to the name of the company I work for, my home address and my relationship status. I would not be surprised if her favourite teller at her local bank knows my social insurance number and full medical history. Interestingly, my mother will never, ever, throw out a piece of paper with her address on it (choosing to shred it or rip it into teeny tiny pieces) because she is convinced that as a 67 year old retired customer service representative she is an ideal target for identity thieves. I promise you she is not.

I find her fascinating. And she makes amazing crepes. So basically my mom is my favourite person.





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