Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Flight of Fancy

I love visiting my mom and my brother, and not just because they're family. I love visiting them because there's almost always something interesting going on at mom's house. Whether it's a good political discussion, a sporting event, or the latest news about a friend, we always weather both good times and bad and we always come out better for having done so. That's a good lead-in for what transpired on Sunday. Mom, I suspect, feels alienated by the gender count at these get-togethers. What I mean is that one of my mom's closest friends, my brother, and I, represent the male gender of the species while mom single-handedly carries the banner for women. I sensed that her morale was awfully high the other evening, however. Two of the guests were women, and suddenly we had a level playing field.

Game on.

The conversation was both complex and varied as Marvin and Greg talked over the necessity of changing furnace filters while Mom, Yola, and Alex reveled in the fact that there were now three estrogen-blessed people in the room and I eschewed feminine conversation while daintily knifing through a simply fabulous ham steak.


Mom makes the best meals this side of Chez Four-Star. That fact helped raise my morale, which was flagging while I had sat in my apartment in my "me" shorts (complete with mustard stains and too-loose elastic leg bands) perhaps an hour earlier. I had deliberately gone without eating the entire day in order to make room for the cuisine fantastique in my near future. Rolls, mac and cheese, and peas were passed around the table with abandon as the conversation, equally with abandon, focused rapidly on basketball, football trades, that guy who appears in movies but who no one has really heard of, and...


Bats? Funny thing happened: during the dessert course (lemon meringue pie), Mom got a phone call from a neighbor. None of us were concerned by the long pause following "Hello?" We were, however, suddenly feeling dread while certain of our sensory neurons began morse-coding to specific motor neurons to commence activation of adrenaline glands.

Mom gasped. The sky grew dark. Suddenly, a crow cawed. Yeah, it was that kind of a moment.

"You are kidding!", Mom exclaimed, her voice clad in depths of horror best left to H.P. Lovecraft. "When did that happen?" was the next step spoken as we three guys began thinking to ourselves how best to defend the homeland against whatever was surely about to commit a full frontal assault on the neighborhood. Precisely as she ended the call, Mom spoke in a dire tone I haven't heard from her in decades that "there's a bat on our apartment door."  Her next sentence,  "Don't anyone open the door!" was followed, naturally, by one of we guys sneaking through the living room to the door and opening it. Hey, we're guys. If there's a bat, we want to see it.

While mom did her heroic best to stifle a scream, and while the ladies looked like the three of them might run seven directions simultaneously, Marvin was at work, closely examining the door for the winged wonder. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, MARVIN? I DON'T WANT THAT THING LOOSE IN HERE!", demanded my mom, giving a whole new meaning to emphasis. Mom continued hammering away at Marvin about her intensely adamant feelings about flying animals circling her coffee table while my brother and I began an in-depth analysis on why bats tend to fly side-to-side (So they can better engage in radar lock-on when pursuing gnats and the like, mused my brother).

Amidst panic, curiosity, and feeling good from endorphins following an even better meal, Marvin finally discovered that the "bat" was, in fact, a small section of a plastic trash bag Ala bat-shaped which had been caught by the door earlier. Mom's neighbor, undoubtedly, had been unsettled herself when she made the call. "Is this your bat?" asked a laughing Marvin while Mom simply told him that it wasn't funny -from between lips which she seemed to be attempting to forbid from engaging in a smile.

In psychology they teach that one of the most powerful experiences we feel is that of perception. The other night was certainly no exception.

That one really took flight.


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