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Numbers About My Mother

It’s August and it’s San Francisco so it’s cold. While I’m walking home from work there’s a call from a Portland number I don’t recognize. I answer. It’s a friend of my mother’s, phoning to let me know that my mother has tried to kill herself, that she’s at a hospital in an induced coma. I slump onto a cement car stop in a parking lot and listen to the details, dig in my purse for a pen, turn the phone away from the wind, write down the hospital’s name and the room number, watch people walk down Polk Street on their way home or to happy hour, thinking how normal they all look, how careless they act while my mother is in a coma. Her friend says she’s not sure how bad it is. I try to figure out how to phrase my question correctly, politely: “You mean she might die?” but I can’t think of how it’s supposed to be said, how a person asks this of a near-stranger regarding her own mother, so I don’t ask it. READ MORE

The Best Time I Got Hearing Aids at Age 32

When you’ve needed hearing aids all your life, and finally get them at the age of 32, mostly the world sounds like water. At first, you crane your neck looking for fountains, but really it’s only traffic. You keep an eye out for waterfalls, but apparently that’s just what air sounds like. READ MORE

Quirks: Is Their Ignorance Our Bliss?

You know how sometimes people in your life do something habitually that's so strange/cute, your first instinct would be to tell them, and express how endearing it is, but then you catch yourself because you realize if you told them, they might become self-conscious and stop doing it, or even if they didn’t stop doing it, the action would forever be tainted by the acknowledgement? READ MORE

Holiday Gift Take-Backs

Many Christmases ago, I spent hours crafting a box with my bare hands to put my boyfriend’s gifts in. We broke up not so many months later, and on my way out, after I’d gathered up every trace of myself from the apartment we shared, I dumped that handcrafted box down the trash chute. Normally, I don’t believe in take-backs, but the guy was terrible, it turned out. I don't miss him, but I still miss that trash chute. It was strangely therapeutic; a long, tinny whoosh on the descent, and a loud, heavy thwump when the bag hit the barrel. READ MORE

The Best Time I Didn't Friend My Mother on Facebook

Recently, my former adoptive mother tried to friend me on Facebook. I hadn’t spoken to her since I was a kid. READ MORE