I just spent an un-holy amount of time at the Super Longs (open 24 hours!) on Broadway ~ all I needed was allergy medication because, apparently, I am allergic to Christmas, or the holidays, or the holiday spirit, whichever seems most offensive at any given moment. So, I staggered into Super Longs, my throat constricted and sinus passages on fire, as if someone shot bleach up my nose......and I had to undergo a serious background check just to buy the LONG's generic version of Claritin-D. I could have walked out right then and there ~ 15 minutes wasted that I could quickly recover. But. Oh. No. Although there was a straight path leading to the exit, I wandered around, getting sucked in by the "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" of all sorts of generic crap. And the check-out line. Oh gawd ~ the check-out line alone took 20 minutes, long enough for me to seriously consider that Jaggermeister gift set (on sale for $15.99). The checker, on auto pilot, asked the woman in front of me, "Did you find everything OK?" Now, I believe the international answer to that question is a simple YES, especially when there are 10 cranky people behind you. But no. This woman actually took the time to tell the checker about the little stuffed animal she was looking for and could not find, and for whom she wanted to buy it, and why (Birthday gift, not Christmas gift). In the spirit of the holiday, I did not choke the life out of her. But that's not even the "typical" part of the evening.
On the drive home I called my Mom to say Hi. It was about 10:30 pm in Houston and she recounted how she had just taken care of my Dad ~ taking him all sorts of herbal concoctions and remedies so he could sleep better since his back aches and he "tiene stress." So I started the "Christmas Conversation" that we have every year:
Me: Ok, que tiene Ud. en su Wish List de Navidad? [Yup, we still speak to them in Ud. not tú!]
Me: Mami -- POR FAVOR -- algo que puedo comprar on the Internet! y on sale por favor.
Mami: OK......pués, one million......abrazos! (Spanglish giggle dances over the distance between us.)
Me: (dodging traffic) Que escándalo! Who sells that on-line?
And then the call was dropped! No kidding! ~ My mom called me right back, thinking I had hung up on her(!):
Mami: Oh! Pense, "que rude!" que me colgaste ~ "Mari no me quiere comprar nin abrazos!" Ha ha! [We are, clearly, easily entertained.]
Mami: Oh, mija ~ a la noche empieza el festival de la Virgen de Guadalupe! I have to go to Mass at 5 am!
Me: Good God! Pa qué?
Mami: Para verlos cantar! [We like going to church for the shows more than the actual sermonizing.) ~ Préndelo ya en Univision, canal 10, está EN VIVO!
Me: I'm driving!
Mami: Oh. Well hazlo when you get home. Por favor mija ~ disfrútalo!
Her saying that to me reminded me of the story of a friend who visited Mexico and was wandering around a tiny book store. He is over 6 feet tall and pretty flamboyant. He wanted to get through the aisle, past this very cute, much-older couple ~ over whom he towered. As he struggled to remember how to say, "Excuse me," he looked down at them and, with a huge grin and flick of the wrist, he bellowed: "Disfrútame!" ~ The look of terror in the couple's eyes alerted him immediately to the fact that he had said something other than, "excuse me" ~ he figured it out pretty quickly and, in between roaring fits of laughter and giggles, tried to explain to the elderly couple that he meant to say, "Discúlpame," and did not, in fact, mean to sexually harass them.
But back to my Mom.
So then Mami went on to tell me that when I visit she will give me her secret potion to fight off allergies: "Pues mira, yo tengo 60 años y ningún allergy tengo!"
And she begged me to watch "Las Mañanitas a la Virgen," broadcast from the Basilica de Guadalupe en el D.F. She thinks that because it's on her Spanish channel right now, well, the singers in Los Angeles, that it should be on my station, too. Gotta love her; one of these days I have to take her show on the road. ~ So, I had to walk into my apartment, turn on the TV, check out the Guide, and let her know that, no, a telenovela called "Pasión" is on Channel 14 right now and I swore to her I would watch at midnight.
So, I'll cap off The Daily Show and The Colbert Report with Las Mañanitas a la Virgen tonight ~ somehow, that seems perfectly normal.