My mother no longer has a social filter. Not that she ever had a strong one, but she used to make an attempt. Now, anything goes…without apology or pretense. Recently diagnosed with vascular dementia (not to be confused with Alzheimer’s), the gerontologist explained how in addition to confusion and forgetfulness, her condition might create inappropriate behavior and lack of tact. My brothers and I and our spouses all looked at each other and shrugged, “And your point is?”
Sunday morning at the kitchen table-
Mom: Make me some eggs.
Me: And the magic word would be??
(Now that’s something I never thought I’d be saying to my mother…right up there with, “Where are your underpants and why aren’t you wearing them?”
Mom: Stop mumbling.
Me: How would you like your eggs?
Mom: Not snotty.
Me: No snot. Got it.
I make us each an egg over easy’ish and an English muffin. With a flourish, I set breakfast on the table.
Mom: You hard-boiled it.
Me: Did not! You didn’t want it runny.
Mom: I didn’t want it hard-boiled either.
Me: Use your fork and break it up. It isn’t hard on the inside.
Instead, my mother smears the English muffin across the top of her egg, then sticks the egg-free muffin in my face like a child would, to prove the egg is indeed…hard. She gives me ‘the look’ and smirks.
Me: Would you like me to make you another egg?
Mom (grumbling): Ohhhhhh, I’ll eat this one. Get me a piece of Italian bread.
5 minutes later-
Me: Well, the egg couldn’t have been too bad. You cleaned your plate and didn’t leave anything behind.
Without responding, my mother wipes the table with her napkin and dumps these crumbs onto her plate.
Mom (matter-of-factly): I left behind a lot of crumbs……………………Do you ever think to curl your hair?
Mom: You should.
I have a brief image of my mother as a younger woman. When we were kids, she’d put her hair up each morning in rollers, then wrap her head with a cloth diaper (and yes, I mean a diaper, not a bandana)…and go out in public like that. Yup, I ought to get started on this hair curling thing right away.
Mom: When the wind blows, your hair looks like a Riggety…no, Ruggerty…wait a minute, that’s not right either. Shit! A Raggy May.
Then she nods her head once and gives me the look.
Me: Do you mean Raggedy Anne?
Mom: No one makes words right anymore. It’s hard to keep up.
Me: More coffee?