i can hear the holidays approaching

Let’s see, last night…. yoga, talk to my mom… oh, and about five hours of Resident Evil 3. That’s it. That’s all we’ve been doing. We bought it the night before we went out of town (which means we played the game pretty much until it was time to get on the plane Friday morning), and we’ve been playing it every night after work. Instead of discussing politics or music or religion, my evening conversations with Eric have been reduced to “I think if you mix Gun Powder A with Gun Powder B and then mix two of those together you get Magnum rounds. No, I don’t know why that’s not working. Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!”

Not exactly Meet the Press.

It’s pretty much going like this:

[scripty]
(RING!)

PAMIE
Hello?

ERIC
Hi!

PAMIE
Prank caller! Prank caller!

ERIC
Just seeing how you’re doing.

PAMIE
Uh-huh.

ERIC
Good.

PAMIE
Mmm.

ERIC
Are you busy?

PAMIE
Not… right… hold on… okay. What?

ERIC
You’re busy.

PAMIE
No, I was just finishing something up. What’s up?

ERIC
Just saying hi.

PAMIE
Oh.

ERIC
You okay?

PAMIE
I’m exhausted.

ERIC
Oh, yeah?

PAMIE
I’m tired.

ERIC
Oh, who’s the grumpy now?

PAMIE
I’m grumpy. But you were really grumpy this morning.

ERIC
Well, you were all up in my shit.

PAMIE
I wasn’t.

ERIC
You were, you were all, “Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah!”

PAMIE
Oh, you mean when I was talking to you?

ERIC
Yeah.

PAMIE
Yeah, sorry I tried to have a conversation in the morning.

ERIC
‘Swhat I’m sayin’.

PAMIE
I forgot you can’t speak before your Diet Coke.

ERIC
Well, I gotta go.

PAMIE
I know.

ERIC
What’s going on tonight?

PAMIE
I have a bit of writing to do.

ERIC
Then Resident Evil?

PAMIE
Probably.

ERIC
I’m gonna kill that guy this time, I know it.

PAMIE
I’m scared of the spiders.

ERIC
I know, baby. I’ll protect you.

PAMIE
Sleepy.

ERIC
Bye.
[/scripty]

Eric often makes the statement that I have this similarity to his father. Apparently when discussing possible upcoming events, we both decide that plans have been made, where Eric’s still thinking things are up in the air. I’ll be getting my stuff together one evening and I’ll be like,

“Hey? Aren’t you getting ready?”
“What for?”
“You said we were going to go see a movie tonight.”
“When did I say that?”
“Last Monday?”
“Oh. Really? Well, last Monday I wanted to go see a movie today. Now that it’s today I’d rather just go out and get some dinner.”
“But you said–”
“I’ll get ready.”

I think I figured out where that comes from. I was on the phone with my mom last night discussing how I won’t be home for Thanksgiving this year. Two years ago I went to Eric’s family’s place, and last year Eric and I spent with my parents. It’s the Petersons’ turn again this year. Somehow my mother has completely forgotten that both Eric and I were at their house last Thanksgiving, and now it’s “How come every year Eric’s mom gets the two of you for Thanksgiving. I’d like to have a Thanksgiving.”

My mom’s bargaining skills are really entertaining. “Well, if she gets Thanksgiving, then I get Christmas. Eric better come here for Christmas.” I try and tell my mom that those are two completely different holidays and that Christmas needs you to be there for the giving and receiving, where a turkey will pretty much be on every table at Thanksgiving.

Then two years ago my father declares that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. I assume he declared it because I was going to go meet Eric’s family on that day. I asked my mother, “Since when is Thanksgiving Dad’s favorite holiday?”

“How should I know?” she asked.

“Well, you’ve known him longer,” I argue.

“Not much longer,” is her retort.

“It’s always been my favorite holiday,” Dad says with exasperation. I can understand why. Food in the middle of the day, everyone is around, football, food, sleep, food, football, sitting around. Christmas can be so exhausting. Thanksgiving is about sitting still.

Exhibit A: Last night’s phone call with my mother.

[scripty]
PAMIE
How are you?

MOM
Oh, well, your father and I have a week off for Thanksgiving… well, your father has two weeks off, but it doesn’t really matter since you aren’t coming home for Thanksgiving and your father is crushed.

PAMIE
Oh, here it comes. Buckle up for the guilt trip, folks.

MOM
I’m just saying.

PAMIE
Well, maybe, I don’t know, maybe if I’m not too busy this weekend I’ll drive down and we can have an early Thanksgiving or something.

MOM
Well, that would be nice.

PAMIE
Since Dad was saying he’d just work through Thanksgiving if I didn’t show up.

MOM
I don’t know if he means that.

PAMIE
Well, it’s enough.

MOM
Your dad would like very much if you came home this weekend.

PAMIE
Well, I’ll see.

MOM
But won’t Eric’s mom be upset? I mean, what are you going to do with the tickets?

PAMIE
No, Mom, Thanksgiving is next weekend.

MOM
But my vacation starts this weekend.

(pause)

PAMIE
Right. But the holiday–

MOM
Ohhhh, I see what you’re saying. So you’re coming down this weekend.

PAMIE
Well, that would be the idea. Before the trip. Like an early Thanksgiving.

MOM
Yeah.

PAMIE
I figure there’d still be football on, and we wouldn’t interrupt the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving and Dad can watch it all day without having to baste anything.

MOM
How long have you been planning this without telling me?

PAMIE
About going to Pittsburgh?

MOM
No, about coming here this weekend.

PAMIE
I wasn’t planning, I just… I sort of thought of it now. Since you and Dad are going to be home and everything.

MOM
Well, I think your father would like that.

PAMIE
Yeah.

MOM
So, what time will you be here?

PAMIE
Well, I have to see if I can do it first.

MOM
Right, you’re very busy, I know. So does that mean you won’t be here until Saturday, or will you come in Friday night?

PAMIE
Mom, I… I think I’m supposed to do the shows this weekend. I haven’t really asked off yet.

MOM
Oh, so you’ll just be here on Sunday. That’s too short. We’ll never cook everything in time.

PAMIE
If I come in. IF I come in, I’d probably come in Friday and leave on Sunday.

MOM
What time?

PAMIE
Mom, I don’t know. I don’t know if I can come yet.

MOM
But you promised!

PAMIE
I haven’t promised anything.

MOM
Your father will be very disappointed.

PAMIE
He doesn’t even know that I was thinking about coming in!

MOM
He knows.

PAMIE
How?

MOM
We know things, Pamie.

PAMIE
Like when I know it’s you on the phone?

MOM
Sorta. So why can’t you stay through Monday?

PAMIE
I have to work.

MOM
But I’m on vacation.

PAMIE
That doesn’t mean I get the time off, too.

MOM
Why don’t you ask off?

PAMIE
Because I’m already getting time off to go to Pittsburgh.

MOM
Oh, yeah. You’re still going there?

PAMIE
Yesssss.

MOM
So, what time will you come in on Friday?

PAMIE
Mom! I have to find out if I can not do the show. One of the members just got married–

MOM
You’re not getting married, are you?

PAMIE
What? No, Mom. I just–

MOM
Is Eric coming with you this weekend?

PAMIE
Mom, I don’t think so.

MOM
Well, if his mom gets you for her Thanksgiving, then I should get him for mine.

PAMIE
We just got back from out of town, and–

MOM
And I still don’t get him for Christmas, which I think is terribly unfair that she gets him twice.

PAMIE
She’s his mother.

MOM
And I’m yours.

PAMIE
Yeah…. yeah, what?

MOM
I’m just saying.

PAMIE
I know, Mom. I don’t know. Eric’s mom only gets to see him like three times a year.

MOM
Oh, and I see him all the time?

PAMIE
Mom, she lives thousands of miles away. You’re a two hour drive.

MOM
So, why don’t you come visit more?

PAMIE
Why don’t you come here?

MOM
Oh, that’s a long drive.

PAMIE
Right. But not for me.

MOM
You’re young.

PAMIE
Mom… you know I let you smoke in my house. I’ve got more going for me than Dad in that department.

MOM
And your cats are friendly.

PAMIE
If I come home this weekend, will that cat be quiet?

MOM
You leave her alone. It’s her thyroid. She can’t help it.

PAMIE
She’s loud.

MOM
She’s my baby.

PAMIE
I know.

MOM
So, you’ll be here Friday night?

PAMIE
…. yeah, probably. I guess so. You win.

MOM
I always do.

PAMIE
You’re very good at this.

MOM
Send me your Christmas list.

PAMIE
Hooray!

MOM
Well, I’m still not happy.

PAMIE
Why?

MOM
Because you’re only coming down for the weekend.

PAMIE
And?

MOM
It’s not enough time.

PAMIE
I wasn’t going to come down at all!

MOM
Still not enough time with my baby.

PAMIE
I thought the cat was your baby.

MOM
You’re all my babies.

PAMIE
Great.

MOM
Love you.

PAMIE
I love you too, Mom.

MOM
See you tomorrow.

PAMIE
No, not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. Friday. Evening.

MOM
You can’t come tomorrow?

PAMIE
NO!

MOM
Why not?

PAMIE
Mom, we’ve discussed this! I have to work!

MOM
Excuses, excuses.

PAMIE
Goodbye, Mom. See you Friday.

MOM
My baby’s coming to visit?

PAMIE
I don’t think I have a choice anymore.

MOM
Don’t break your father’s heart.

PAMIE
Should I bring the Cranium?

MOM
Your father won’t want to play that.

PAMIE
If I’m coming, we play whatever I want. I’m the guest.

MOM
You’re not a guest, you lived here.

PAMIE
Do I have a room?

MOM
Well…

PAMIE
Do I have a bed?

MOM
You can sleep with your sister.

PAMIE
I’m a guest.

MOM
I love you.

PAMIE
Pulling out the “love you” card.

MOM
It’s what I’ve got left.

PAMIE
See you soon.

MOM
What time–

PAMIE
I’LL CALL YOU! I’LL CALL YOU THIS WEEK AND LET YOU KNOW! I’VE GOT TO GO, MOM!

MOM
Bye! Happy Thanksgiving.

PAMIE
Bye, Mom.
[/scripty]

And that’s the woman I came from. This is why when someone tells me they might do something, I assume they will. Because whenever I tell my mother I might do something, then I have to or the family is crushed. So, I better start packing since my mom will call tonight and ask why I’m not there yet.

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