My Anal Mother
For those of you who don't know Suzanne, you should really get to know her. She's quite a fabulous woman, even if she does like to rock flea-market-bought pink Kangol hats when she shovels snow. She also enjoys baking Betty Crocker cakes, lighting her Glade candles in the afternoon and reading in bed with the air purifier on its highest and loudest setting. But for those of you that don't happen to share a home with Suzanne, these characteristics will seem purely comical.
I, on the other hand, have graduated college and failed to realize that having a low-income job renders me unable to escape Bogota for a few months. Thus, I’ve gotten to know Suzanne on a whole new level. Oh yes. We live together, we work together; hell we even get to share a kitchen! Now, I know that by this point you’re probably saying to yourself, “Bill, you’re complaining like a little bitch and I’m sick of it.” If that’s true, then stop reading. But you haven’t gotten acquainted with Suzanne yet.
At 6:00 AM, I am awakened by the sound of metal scratching against metal. Not exactly birds chirping, I know. This glorious symphony is composed by my mother, who decides that, at 6am, it’s probably time to change the pillowcases in every bedroom, no matter who is still using their pillowcase. That little metallic scratching sound is my mother outside my door with a tiny metal pick, probing her way into my door handle to unlock my bedroom door. That’s right. My mother is an expert lock-picker. Because she’s done this for about the last 8 years of her life, ever since I discovered that masturbation and the lock on my bedroom door have a very direct and important relationship. But this means nothing to Suzanne.
So while I’m still dreaming of Krispy Kreme orgies, my mother is picking my lock, entering my room, opening my closet and rifling through bed linens. The icing on the cake, though, is when she reaches all the way over my bed to open my blinds and lift up the window; all this while I’m still actually in the bed. Because, you know, it’s probably time for my window to be opened for the day’s airing anyway.
It’s 8:30 AM and I, after managing to sleep after the Nazi invasion, awake to my own alarm and get myself up for work. My door has been re-locked as if to fool me into thinking that my mother would never betray my wish to have my door locked while I slumber. I am no fool. The metal pick has been returned to its normal hiding spot, above the picture frame in the hallway. I may not have my contacts in, but I am not blind. I sit down on the toilet to relieve myself of the previous evening’s midnight buffet and as I reach for a square or two of toilet paper, a roll falls to the floor. How could a toilet paper roll fall to the floor if it’s secured in place by that little retractable spring-loaded plastic thing? Well, my friends, let me explain.
My mother, in her infinite wisdom, will never again let anyone in the house experience the comical pain of tearing the last sheet of toilet paper from the roll in exasperation. It’s just not possible to do. As soon as either roll of toilet paper in our two bathrooms contains less than 25% of paper left on its roll, my mother will remove that roll, replace it with a fresh one and subsequently place that last 25% roll meticulously balanced upon the new roll. How is this even possible, you ask? You don’t know my mother. She paid her way through business school by balancing spinning plates on meter sticks on street corners so she knows a thing or two about toilet paper rolls.
Right above the toilet paper holder in both of our bathrooms is a towel railing that protrudes from the tiled wall. It’s meant to hold one’s towel to dry during the day between one’s showers. It is not used for that in my house. It is used instead to display six color-coordinated, velvety towels, which are never to be used. These towels are displayed in an alternating fashion, which is based upon the towel’s color and size. You see, all of the six towel colors are derived from the bathroom’s color scheme and their sizes are bath towel, stand-on after shower towel and face cloth. This would be fantastic if they were ever used. But they’re not. Instead, we have to place every single towel that we actually do use on one plastic hook on the back of the door so that only the top towel dries and the majority of the family must re-use their moldy, still moist towel. Why did I go on this towel tangent? To explain to you her balancing technique.
These six, strategically placed towels hang directly above the toilet paper holder and hang just low enough that if one were to place an additional toilet paper roll above the existing one, the largest towel would gently hold it in place with just a thread. A coincidence, you say? There are no coincidences in my house. Everything is placed exactly where it has been planned to be placed.
But now it gets extreme. You’re not even ready for this. I don’t even know if I should write this down. But I’m hoping that someone out there, one day, will understand and empathize with me. The following unplanned edition to this short story is completely true and not an exaggeration just to make my story even more sensational than it already is.
Just as I was typing the part about the Krispy Kreme orgies, Suzanne walked in the room. Some background information: I normally work on my laptop in the designated computer room (a whole ‘nother can of worms to be opened at a later point) but the small table in the computer room on which I’m supposed to work is cramped with so much kitch that it’s impossible for anyone to work upon it. So, I just move my easily portable laptop to the kitchen table where there’s plenty of light, access to the fridge for drinks and lots of space for my paperwork. Not a chance. It’s Sunday, which means the table is set for dinner by at least 1pm after church. Moving an already set dinner plate is absolutely out of the question. It must sit there until the estimated 4:00 PM dinner time and gather cat hair until it is used for food. So the kitchen is out of the question.
Why not go to your room, Bill? Because there is no room in my room to do anything other than watch television upon my bed and I am not a vegetable, not yet at least. My room is twelve feet by eight feet but I’m lucky enough to have a two-foot wide walking passage between my bookshelf and my bed. Being the handyman I am, I installed a pre-measured wooden shelf in the wall space between the foot of my bed and my closet/entertainment unit. This is where I can place my laptop to charge it and sometimes open it up and check the weather or e-mail very quickly. I mean quickly. There’s no room for a chair or stool in that room so I am standing or leaving. Thankfully, my brother is in college and does not use his 14’x20’ room with a walk-in closet. (I know how unfair this is. Let’s not get started on that.) So when I need space to just think, work and concentrate, I bring my laptop in his room, place it upon his desk, yeah he has a fucking desk, and I work there. That’s exactly where I was when Suzanne found me.
My brother’s desk is a bit high and the chair he has in his room is a bit low so I need to compensate for that height discrepancy in order to work comfortably. That’s simple enough. I just place a pillow under my butt and all is well. Not if Suzanne can help it. In she comes, momentarily circling the room, wiping dust from certain edges and rearranging pressed denim in my brother’s closet. Only after feigning a scheduled room inspection does she reveal her actual mission. Tapping me on the shoulder, she tells me to remove the pillow under my butt in order for her to exchange it with the one she has brought in from the basement. Why in the world does that matter to you, I ask her. She tells me that she’s seen me sitting on this specific pillow a lot recently and so I should probably switch up my butt cushion rotation in order for my current cushion to maintain its maximum possible fluff level. She’s not kidding. I tell her to put the new pillow on the floor and I’ll switch it with the old one as soon as I’m done with this train of thought. Nope. That’s not gonna happen. She needs to see that I’ll actually make the switch so it’s either now or never. So, I save my work and remove the pillow from underneath my butt and throw it on the bed. I grab the new pillow and put it under my butt and believe it or not, it’s even flatter than the one I was using. This makes perfect sense. Thanks, Suzanne. But she’s not done yet. Before she leaves the room, she walks to the bed, picks up the pillow, fluffs it, and places it in a diagonal fashion in front of the three other pillows already on the bed.
That is it for now. But I’m sure there will be another installment soon. After all, I’m planning on watching some television later and that involves placing my elbows upon the two layers of doilies on each arm of each couch. So that should definitely make for some fun. Until then.