Nächsten Sonntag ist Muttertag!
Auch in New York!
Und daher (und weil er befürchtet, seine Mutter könnte Spreeblick lesen) beginnt meine liebste und bisher einzige Spreeblick-Gastkolumne des Mannes aus Übersee, der auf den Namen Charles hört, mit den Worten
When I decided to move to New York, my parents weren“™t the first ones I thought to tell. But eventually (probably as I was on my way to the airport), I had to call Mom and let her know I was moving away. As I recall, her reaction was „Oh, good! Now I can come and visit!“
And visit she has. Every chance she gets, she“™s on a plane to New York armed with a fistful of brochures, tickets to a dozen cultural events, and her very own Metrocard. She freely admitted that it was the city as much as her son that was fuelling the frequent visits. Nonetheless, despite her packed schedule of events and my round-the-clock work-drink-sleep cycle, we carved out time for dinner or brunch and maybe time to go to one of those cultural things together.
There“™s something weird about being in New York with your mom. There she is being gushy and excited and impressed, and there you are trying to explain that people just don“™t behave that way here. No matter what city you“™re in, it“™s a little embarrassing when your mother is hugging you and calling you her little whatever, but somehow it“™s much worse when you“™re in a place where jaded disdain is the typical emotional display. Still, she“™s your mom, so you“™re happy she“™s happy to see you, and that she“™s excited and gushy and impressed.
Last week my mom visited for the first time since I“™ve moved to White Plains, half an hour north of the city. Between my new location and the tail end of the opera season, it took some extra planning for us to get together. To her credit, when it came down to seeing her son or Turandot, Puccini came in second.
Somewhere between her arrival on the train and the hundreds of photos she took of the house, we went out to lunch at a local diner. On her, of course. I“™ve long given up on trying to pay for food when mom“™s around. I can sometimes pull a fast one and intercept the check before it gets to her, but she“™s starting to figure out my tricks. So after she clarified for the third time that lunch was on her, we ordered and quality time commenced.
My conversations with Mom usually revolve around her asking me how I“™m doing, and then telling me how my siblings are doing in the same respect. I“™m sure it“™s not intentional, but it always seems like there“™s some kind of ranking going on. How many square feet, how much per hour, where we went on vacation, etc, etc: filling out a mental spreadsheet and surely hitting that „sort by“ button before she“™s done. Maybe I thought I had left a cell empty, maybe it felt like school and work and marriage weren“™t enough to fill in all of the rows, but towards the end of the meal I mentioned that I was writing articles for my friend Johnny“™s blog. First of all, she knew what a blog was. That was unexpected. Secondly, she wanted to know the address so that she could read my articles. This was also unexpected.
I think I lied and told her I“™m writing in German. There“™s just something uncomfortable about letting your mom read what you“™ve been writing for a bunch of hip, young, and surely drug-addled digiterati. Or maybe I just don“™t want my mom to know anything about me besides the nice things that she puts in her spreadsheet, the things that I“™m comfortable talking with her about. But in case she“™s figured out how to use Google, and she“™s searched on „Johnny Berlin blog„ and found this, she shouldn“™t worry that her son drives recklessly or drinks too much or gets in bloody fights for reasons he can“™t remember. Her son loves her and is glad she visits.
Happy Mother“™s day!!