I could tell you all kinds of stories. How I got bronchitis, how I lost my job while I still had bronchitis, how I couldn't scream and yell at the people firing me because I had bronchitis... the new illness I have... and yet, none of these things are as amusing as my trip to Target with my Mom.
So we needed to go get a furnace filter. That's the real reason for the cold snap in this region--we were unable to have a heated home. It was actually warmer in the basement than it was in the house, which worked out well for me since I sleep down here.
We looked and looked all over Target for the damn filters (my prediction was that they'd be on an end cap next to a Hello Kitty thermos display) and couldn't find them. We were in the home improvement section and I picked up one of those little claw-rake things you use to garden. I put the handle in my sleeve so the claw was sticking out--look Ma, no hand. Apparently this struck Mom in exactly the right way, and she doubled over laughing and had to limp away, embarassed. So I did what any good daughter would do. I stuck another one in the other sleeve and followed her.
She saw the second one and nearly fell over, then she said the magic words. "I dare you to wear those the whole time we're here." Actually, she then progressed to double, double-dog, and triple-dog dare me (skipping the triple dare) to keep them on. Of course, as soon as I heard the word "dare" I was committed to the project.
Every time she looked at me she started giggling, and then sent me on a mission. She sent me down an aisle full of middle schoolers, who gawked. Tsk. You'd think they'd be sensitive to people with gardening tools for hands. What are they teaching children these days? Clearly the math textbooks depicting a black boy, a white girl, some kid with red hair and freckles (I guess he's gay) and an Asian kid in a wheelchair all holding label-less Snapples sitting around solving Algebra equations haven't instilled in our nation's youth a sense of tolerance for those who are Different after all. Sigh.
I've been needing coat hangers for a couple weeks now, and I kept forgetting to buy them when I go to Target, which is more frequently than you might imagine. So as we passed the hangers, Mom said "I dare you to use your claws to get them." Well... It took me a minute to locate the large pack... and I had mistakenly grabbed (stabbed... whatever) for the 3-pack. Who the fuck buys 3 coat hangers?? Not I. So I was removing my right claw from the 3-pack and preparing to snag a 12-pack when this man came up next to me. "Miss, can I help you?"
"Oh... this is just part of a dare."
I was wearing a sweatshirt with the name of my college written on it, which is probably why he asked, "Oh, is it for school?"
"Nope... just my Mom. No real reason other than it's Tuesday and we were bored."
"Well, you gotta keep things interesting!"
Oh, if he only knew. Turns out he thought that my garden claws were prosthetic hands. Have you ever seen a three-pronged, non-moving prosthesis? A hook would be more practical.
After I snagged my 12-pack, I found Mom, who was in the men's attire section looking for some socks for my brother. I told her about the man offering to help me, and she laughed so hard that she cried. Then she picked up a lime green travel case for toiletries, which had a ring on the zipper, unzipped the thing so it hung down, and put the ring on one of my claws. "I so dare you to walk around like that." Hello, have we met?
So there I was, Manda Gardenclawhands, walking around with this weird lime green thing hanging off my right claw. The people who were capable of not staring at me before reached their limit. The travel case only lasted a few minutes before Mom unhooked the thing and left it, in true Target organizational style, in a bin of dog toys. Have you ever been so amused by something that you feel the need to narrate your own life? I have. So has Mom.
"And that's when she discovered that her daughter would in fact do ANYthing on a dare."
"She wasn't sure why she doubted it in the first place."
"And then she wondered just what had transpired in four years of college."
"But then decided she'd rather not know."
While strolling down the bedding aisle, Mom suddenly blurted out "Oh my god, you just never know WHO you'll run in to at Target!" Oh yeah. There it was. The Golden Moment. Running into the work friend while out shopping. And isn't that always the time your adult daughter has garden claws for hands...
I should point out right now that I have awful tonsilitis and my voice isn't quite normal. If you've ever heard me do the Ugly Baby voice, that's pretty much how I sound. Except if Ugly Baby were being strangled. If you haven't, then imagine Shaggy talking. But slightly mentally challenged. And being strangled.
So Mom said hello to her friend, and her friend's friend... and shook the friend's friend's hand. I said, of course, "Nice to meet you both. I'd shake your hand, but well, it's a garden implement."
I recounted the tale of the Helpful Guy who thought my claws were fake hands. And then it was time to part ways, because I'd made them double over and nearly pee themselves. I didn't get their names, but honestly, who the hell cares. Names are not what is important.
Turns out that had I known who I was talking to, I would have been the one with bladder control issues. Mom's been a nurse for a very long time, and she often serves as a preceptor for new nurses. It's sort of like a shadowing, or an internship. Her current nurse, however, is a fucking mess. She can't manage to do anything without having a near breakdown. And she's been doing this preceptorship for close to six months. She's sixteen different kinds of crazy, and I can't list them all here. So the running joke is how this woman (she's not a young girl, she's in her 40s) couldn't start an IV because her hands were shaking so badly... and when Mom asked her to just give the pills to the patient, her hands were shaking so badly that the pills flew everywhere. Now, with most people, that'd be an isolated incident. Not with this woman. She's always this crazy. You'd think after six months, you could hand someone a damn pill. I managed to give all sorts of medicine when I worked with the kids. And usually cancer patients don't try to bite the staff, so I'm reasonably certain that my pill distribution was more difficult.
So I told you that so I could tell you this. As soon as we got a few aisles over from Mom's "friend" she poked me and said "That was the psycho girl!" I immediately put my claws up and started shaking. Mom started snorting. And then she said something I will remember forever. Something she's never said before. "Oh my god Amanda, you are too funny!"
"Ahhh... yes! My night is complete!!"
Ok, it wasn't totally complete. I shared this story with my friend Sasha.
pantses 211: omg, i must look like im having a fit
pantses 211: im crying
pantses 211: omg, im dying
LilMsStickShift: i just celebrated like i won a marathon
LilMsStickShift: well, maybe not, because i didn't just pour my root beer on my head and then pee on myself and collapse
But only because I've already taken a bath.