Friday, February 27, 2009

More Than 40 Days of Purpose; An Ugly Souvenir (Friday Roundup)

Lent is here ... and it's never to late to give up a bad habit, even if for just a trial run. I saw a news feature at 4 a.m. today (because I was awake ALL BLASTED NIGHT) about a group of teens who gave up Facebook for Lent. Brilliant! They admitted they had a problem (that's Step 1 from AA, isn't it?) and decided to go cold turkey. This is only the third day of Lent, and I'm guessing the story was taped Thursday, which would have been only the second day, and already, they were concerned about how difficult this sacrifice is to make. They were shown going into a computer lab at either a library or school, and the temptation was, they said, almost too much. So they had friends change their passwords for them. Even if they wanted to fall off the Facebook wagon, they couldn't. Like locking up the liquor cabinet and throwing away the key. Three words: Good. For. Them.

Of all the souvenirs I brought back ... from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, my least favorite has to be this bug that has made its way from my sinuses to my throat and now, to my chest. The iron lung is a real pain to get in and out of the minivan, sure, but with a little patience and an extra pair of hands, I'm still fairly mobile.

If my family would only let me sleep, I could probably get over it more quickly, but apparently none of them know how to get out of the bed in the morning, pick out their clothes (three of them wear school uniforms), make their lunches/snacks, etc. How did they get by without me for four days? Did they ever leave the house? Get out of the bed? Did they just stand in the middle of a room and ask, "Now what?"

Clearly, I am ticked off right now. All I asked (and yes, I ASKED) last night was, "Can I please sleep in and you handle everything?" I was assured that would be fine. And they were so convincing, too. I feel duped.

If I end up at St. Vincent's wearing an oxygen mask, I'm certain four young people and a disoriented husband will be standing at the foot of my bed, asking things like, "Where do you keep the spare deodorant?" and "Didn't you buy any more water bottles yesterday?" or "Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty?"

And I remove the oxygen mask, pull my weak and pale head from the pillow, prop myself up on my elbows and answer, in my new Lauren Bacall -- or is it Fred Gwynne? -- voice, "What am I? Your MAID?" And the nurses and orderlies rush in and demand to know what these people are doing in my hospital room and not allowing me to get my much-needed rest. As the kids are rushed to the door, each looks over his/her shoulder and shouts, "But Mom! Where did you put my gym bag?" and "You didn't sign my weekly folder!" and "Can I go to Starbucks after school?"

Their bewildered dad (escorted on either arm by two brawny men wearing head-to-toe solid white) shouts, "Wait a minute! Where are my keys? They were RIGHT HERE." And I put my frail arm to my brow and whisper, in my faint but now very masculine voice, "They're in your HAND."

At that moment, after everyone has exited, a very handsome respiratory therapist enters the room to whack me on my back for 12 minutes, and he nods an understanding nod as tears well up in my eyes. "You weren't kidding," he says. "They really ARE the most helpless individuals in the world."


It is the weekend. May yours be cough- and fever-free, full of understanding and empathy ... and very, very quiet.