My sister Polly calls me and urgently says, “I was just over at Mom’s. There’s two vacuum cleaner salespeople there; a young man and a woman. They want to shampoo Mother’s rugs for free and I told them ‘Mother can not buy anything without my sister Barbara’s approval. Mom can not afford a vacuum cleaner!’ They said, ‘we’re just going to shampoo her carpets.'”

You’re kidding!” I say. “Mom lives in such a dump there is no way anyone would want to shampoo her ratty carpets for free! It’s full of cat vomit and old gopher gut stains from the creatures the animals drag in. You need to go back over there and stop those people. They’re just trying to strong arm her into buying a big, expensive vacuum cleaner.”

Polly says she can’t go back as she is heading down the mountain and can I go over? I say I’m busy doing phone sessions with people. I suggest we call Mom now, on three way.

“Mom!” I shout when she answers the phone. “These people just want to sell you a vacuum cleaner and you can’t afford one and you don’t need one. You have a vacuum cleaner. Tell them to leave.”

I hear a man in the background laughing and joking with my mother. I think she has Polly and me on speaker phone!

Mom doesn’t say much, she’s kind of hemming and hawing and giggling along with this young guy. Polly and I hang up in disgust.

Polly calls me back and tells me she has called and is sending Sharon over to dispatch the salespeople.
Sharon is one of Mom’s tenants and knows how to tell people to get a move on.

It is 12:45PM.

An hour later, between my calls, I call Mom to see if she has gotten free of these people. She has not. They are still there and I am still on speaker phone.

I am saying, “Mother you can not afford that vacuum cleaner! If you buy it you won’t be able to buy that deck awning that you have been talking about wanting for months now.”

Mother is easily weaseled. She is easily weaseled into buying things from unscrupulous people. Last year she bought a pair of $4,000 hearing aides from a man who stopped at her door. The hearing aides didn’t work and we kids had a heck of a time getting her out of that deal. It was especially upsetting because she already had a pair of expensive hearing aides that didn’t work.

“Mother,” I’m saying, “how did these people find you?”

“Well,” Mom says, “the girl called me last night and said she used to live here and could she come over.”

“That’s nuts!” I yell. “You’re on some kind of old folk’s list!”

Over the speaker phone I can hear lively chatter and more laughing and some banging around.

“What’s banging?” I want to know.

“Oh, they’re taking my old vacuum apart and showing me how bad it is.”

“Mother, send them home!”

I have to go as I have phone clients waiting.

Apparently Sharon wasn’t able to convince them to leave and my raging over the speaker phone has had no effect.

Several hours later, between calls, Polly calls and says, “I just went by Mother’s house and the white van is gone so it looks like they left.”

After we hang up, I call Mom to make sure she didn’t get weaseled.

My golly, what do I hear? The young man, laughing merrily in the background and making fun comments.

“What!? Mom, he’s still there?! Why?”

“Oh,” my Mother says, “the girl went off and left him here. He’s vacuuming up lots of dirt and putting it on paper plates so I can look at it. He’s got them all over my dining room table and my kitchen counters.”

She sounds tired.

I call Polly.
“The guy is still there!”

Polly says, “I’ll send Sharon over, again, to toss him out.”

An hour later Mom calls me.

“Honey, the man wants to know if he can come over and shampoo your carpets?”

“Are you both insane?” I shout over her speaker phone. “I don’t have carpets anymore and I have a vacuum cleaner and I can’t believe that guy is still there!”

“Well,” mom says, “he says he wants to come over anyway.”

“NO!” is my reaction and I hang up.

I wait a bit and call Mom again. It is now 4:45PM.

Mom sounds exhausted.

“He’s gone,” she says. “He went too far. He exhausted me. I didn’t even get lunch. I’m just eating it now. I finally said to him, ‘When are you going home? When are you going to leave?’ But, he just went too far. He left all those piles of dirt on my tables and counters and he didn’t even clean them up!”

“Did you buy the vacuum cleaner, Mom?”

“No,” she says, “I didn’t. Because he just went too far. He did ask me for referrals.”

“My god, Mom, did you give him any?”

“Well…I gave him your brother’s number.”

After I hang up, I too feel exhausted.

I decide to have some white wine, a new kind I haven’t tried before. It is delicious!

I am out in the garden and I am thinking about how I still need to go to ‘Cheers’ and look for that hunky man I have talked about previously in my blog. You remember ‘Cheers?’ The place that is always surrounded by big trucks and lots of men with lots of testosterone and I have decided I have to go there someday at lunch and get one of their famous hamburgers and put myself in the company of men? To, you know, break the spell of this datelessness I’m having. Remember?

Well, I’m drinking this lovely wine and thinking of all these men in the trades, these bruisers, these great big guys and suddenly I burst into song! I’m signing as loud as I can, “I went to the Animal Fair, the birds and the beasts were there! The big baboon by the light of the moon, was combing his auburn hair!”

I pause and think, ‘Why am I singing this when I have just been thinking about ‘Cheers’ and these big guys?’ It occurs to me, even in my alcohol clouded mind, that there might be a connection.

I have another sip of the wine that makes me sing and I roll again into the same shouted song. Over and over and over. I’m still sober enough to wonder what my neighbors might be thinking so I go in the house where I continue to trill and warble the same words over and over.

My ex-boyfriend Bill opens the door from his attached studio and looks at me. I tell him that for some odd reason this new white wine is making me sing like this, when singing is very unusual for me.

I have an idea. I think I will go sit and sing on my beautiful new white cloth chair. The one with all the design work on it.

Eeegh gads! What’s this?! The cat has thrown up all over the top of it! It’s a disgusting, slavering pile of undigested cat food and grass chunks.

But…Oh well, it’s been a good day. Mother outlasted the vacuum cleaner salesman, I’m feeling pretty darn fine about that and I’m in a marvelous white wine mood, singing with abandon and loving life, so how bad is a stinking pile of drooly cat vomit on my new cloth chair?

It’s obviously all in how you look at things.


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