“OH-NO Not the Mall….”
By Dee-Dee Diamond© 2011
Looking for a new solution to getting rid of an annoying, (visiting from out- of- state), mother, (also, good for mothers-in-law)?
Whenever the elderly matrons get antsy, or on your nerves, just drop them at the hugest mall, during the frantic days preceding Christmas, or right after Christmas, while the returns, huge sales and the kids are all on holiday from school, is a great time, especially.
Drive towns away, around the strange parking lot a few times, pretending to be looking for the ideal parking spot that is never available. Then double park, at one of the many entrances to the mall. Proceed to “push- rush” her out of the car mentioning only…where the rest rooms are located, spin her around, then run like a bat -out- of- hell… to your running automobile. Leave yelling from your car window, “I ‘ll be back……. later after my jog around Bay Shore”, a few towns away.
Make sure there is no public transportation, taxi and even if she could drive, which she can’t, there is no auto available. No way back to your remote home… without you. (Also, it doesn’t hurt to make sure said” Ole Girl”, can’t walk very much). What a perfect scenario!
This was my experience. I was the mother who for whom this solution was invented. Just because I constantly told my grownup daughter, Elissa what to do and how to do it. Even daring to question her choice of where to live. Did I mention I didn’t think she was feeding my perfect grandson healthy enough? My way was always the only right way… of course. That goes without saying! How did they make it all year without my clever guidance, I ask you!
I had taken a plane from La Guardia Airport, just as it was getting cold up North. I bought only a one-way ticket leaving the trip back… open. My eldest girl, and her family live in a small rural town, called Plant City, Florida. What you never heard of it? Its “claim -to fame”, is its miles of strawberry fields, why didn’t you hear it’s the strawberry capital?
Believe me it could have been The Beatles inspiration. More than a few cows, horses, goats, chickens and Rednecks and many churches.
Lots of flat land and hidden roads. My Elissa lives off Turkey Run Road, near Mud Lake Circle.
If Lynn left me in her house for the day, this was the routine.
First when I woke up it was SO quiet, I’d have to pinch myself to make sure, I was not already dead! Her house was on acres, at the very end, of a long, gated cul de sac. It then bordered an overgrown span of jungle-like preserves, its trees veiled in dragging- to- the -ground, moss. One had to be prepared to not see another Human Being. This past week I was lucky to see a squirrel racing up a tree, and the ass of a raccoon reentering the scrub. I mustn’t forget to mention a Palmetto bug, or two.
To get even milk, or a newspaper, one must drive for miles from her home.
Imagine I live in Manhattan where delivery of anything you desire is a convenient phone call, away. Chinese food when ordered arrives so quickly, and hot, that I often wonder if it’s not being cooked in the elevator coming to my 19th floor apartment.
Out my door is a deli, the dry-cleaners, Public Library, supermarket, and Walgreen’s within a block or so. Across the street is a Pizzeria, Irish Pub, Greek Restaurant and 2 Japanese Restaurants, a Bagel Shop, and a gym.
The contrast of my New York place and here in Plant City, (” The place the 1950’s Small Town America”) … left behind”. It is too much shock for this “Golden Girl” ( re: TV series). As my impatient daughter says, about herself, “This Apple sure fell far from The Tree.”. Me…. being the Tree.
I get inside massive Brandon Mall, head for the Ladies’ Room, to be reassured it’s where she said it is.
Second, I check-out where I can borrow an electric scooter to get around this enormous Cavern of stores, people of every sort, going each way, helter-skelter looking for bargains. The little kiddies in their strollers, are not happy, and thus either whining, having fits, or begging for all the toys and candy in their sight. Their overwrought parents are impatient with their demanding offspring. I commiserate with the “youngins” completely!
I hobble to the security station to be bluntly advised, “Ma’am all ’em scooters are being used and there ain’t no timetable for them’s return.” What can I do? I am lucky to find a seat on a hard metal bench filled with 4 teens, all chatting simultaneously on their cell phones. Their gibberish is diminished by the loud, tinny repetition of the spinning Merry-go-round directly… in my face!
What a nightmare!
It was after processing all this, that started what must be what a panic attack, coming on. After “the stone quiet” of Plant City, the thought of being trapped in this circus for hours on end, knowing Lynn has no sense of time passing, while in the high of her Jog, that I panicked. Immediately, I used my cell phone, with a finger in my other ear, to attempt to call, a S.O.S. to my grandson, who was back in Plant City. He was trying to relax on his only day off.
“Help please come and rescue me,” I begged. After I explained my predicament, and Harrison heard the desperation in my voice, “Gram I ‘ll come and get you but it’ll take about 45 minutes for me there with all the traffic”. “That’s Ok if I know you’re on your way”, I answered., relieved.
True to his word he rescued his Grandmother, but “The Terror of The Mall” didn’t end there. The backed-up traffic absolutely did not move for one long hour when we tried to leave. No lights or traffic cops to direct the jammed-up exit. Country-folk aren’t ever in a hurry! It was maddening! When repeatedly I wanted to lay a heavy hand on Harrison’s car’s horn, perhaps as in New York, to start a chorus of protest horn- honking, he wouldn’t do it.
“Now, now Gram we don’t do that here! I forgot he was a low-keyed Plant City boy. So, it wasn’t until I almost wet my pants, literally, that he illegally cut across the surrounding lawn and escaped the darn traffic to get me to a gas station ladies’ toilet. It wasn’t a moment too soon!
Since that fine experience, whenever I even think of stirring things up in my daughter’s home…
I STOP… in mid -sentence and shout comically, “Oh no not The Mall….”and I control myself.