(If I’m lucky, Hanny won’t read this post. But I’m not that lucky.)
In the third week after surgery, it is time for a real outing, but I need a chauffeur. That would be my mom, aka Hanny, who is not old but is a generation older than a daughter with a new hip.
The first stop of the day is the hairdresser. Nothing restores one’s sense of normal like a good cut and color. And a smart-aleck gay shampoo guy from New Zealand who eyes my walker and asks my stylist, “What’s wrong with ‘er? Too much sex?”
Hanny picks me up from the salon. Our next stop is lunch. We haven’t decided where to go, but aim for Towson because our goal for the day is to purchase a Nook for Hanny at Barnes & Noble.
“Let’s go to Razmataz,” she suggests.
“You know. Razmataz. That place across from the mall where we had dinner when Dad was sick.”
I now know exactly which restaurant she means, but “Razmataz” has completely obliterated the real name from my brain. It’s coming…it’s coming….Razorback!
And we’re off. I limit conversation so as not to distract her. Besides, I’m busy gripping the door handle and pressing my foot into the imaginary passenger side brake pedal, and it’s hard to pray and carry on a conversation at the same time.
Razmataz just happens to be next door to the Loft, where my daughter Shelley works. She’s not working that day, but we stop in anyway, eyeball a few things, and Hanny tries on some cute cardigan jackets. I’m starting to feel like one of those geezer husbands in need of a chair while the wife tries on clothes. The palms of my hands are pressing harder and harder onto the handles of the walker. Maybe we should get some lunch.
We enter Razmataz, a long narrow windowless restaurant in a strip mall. The first thing that hits me–after the darkness–is the smell of bleach. As appreciative as I am that they are microbe conscious, the predominant smell in a restaurant should be food. Really. I just can’t stay. I’ve been cooped up at home for a couple of weeks and I need light.
We cross the street to the Cheesecake Factory. This involves parking at Towson Mall. The Cheesecake Factory has valet parking, but why pay $5 to have someone park the car? I suggest that Hanny drop me and my walker off at the door and then park, but she wants someone to witness where she leaves her car so that we don’t have “issues” later. We need a spot that’s fairly close ( I do not have a handicap tag). We find one, but one of the cars is not parked straight. It’s hard to tell which one, but it’s probably the obnoxiously dominant big fat red SUV. Hanny parks parallel to it because the other car is so nondescript that, well, I can’t describe it.
After a delightful lunch, I have another geezer moment in the ladies’ room. The handicap stall has support rails! Right where I need them! Ok, I know they’ve always been there, but I’ve never actually touched them before. I thank God for the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It’s time to head over the Barnes & Noble, but wait! Pottery Barn is right here, by the Cheesecake Factory. We can’t resist. I use up the rest of my pedestrian mileage for the day gliding around Pottery Barn making a mental list of all the things I’d like my sister-in-law to get me with her employee discount. The walker handles dig deeper into my palms. I think my palms are bruising. We head back to the car, where Hanny finds a post-it note with not-so-friendly suggestions about her parking skills. It was a rather lengthy note for a post-it and for someone with such a nondescript car. Who has that much anger over a parking job? Plus, even if Hanny scratched the car (which she did not), who would notice? It’s so nondescript. Hanny checks her car, relieved to see that the parking fiend hasn’t keyed it.
Somehow the drive from Cheesecake Factory to Barnes & Nobles evolves into a tour of the entire Towson Mall parking maze. Round and round we go. Where we’ll emerge, nobody knows. If it weren’t for my crippled-ness, we could have walked. At last, the Barnes & Noble lot. Hanny circles for a spot. Ah hah, she finds one. Slowly she turns…quarter turn by quarter turn. Cars are lining up behind us. She eases the car in. But she’s sensitive after that friendly note at the last parking spot, so she must straighten the car. Back out she goes. More cars are lining up. Slowly she advances. Inch by inch. And we’re in.
Now it’s my turn. Slowly. I. Open the door. Swivel my legs. Pull myself up. Hug the car to reach the walker. And we’re off. Shuffle, shuffle. Gotta cross the cross walk. I have the right of way. The cars line up while I do the escargot slide to the other side.
Finally, we have arrived at the mission for the day–a Nook Color for Hanny. I inform the salesman that when we walk out of the store she should have a Nook, a cover, an account set up with email and her credit card, reading material and apps all set and ready to go. Beads of sweat dot my brow as I stand at the checkout counter. I collapse into a chair. We’re in the store with the salesman for well over an hour, uploading software, calling tech support, re-setting user names and passwords, re-typing the oopsies made by the salesman. (Her account is not at hitmail or hotmale.)
Mission accomplished, we get stuck in rush-hour accident back-up traffic on 83. We arrive home at dinner-time.
“I think you overdid it today.”
No joke. I’m thankful to be off the narcotics and back on wine.