Chick Wit: Mommy’s Day Out
The last time my mom came to visit, I lost her.
It was like that movie Baby’s Day Out, except with my parent. I turned my back for one second, and the little rascal got away from me.
I imagined her crawling along an I-beam at some high-rise construction site.
But she’s afraid of heights, so more likely she’d be in Times Square, telling The Naked Cowboy he isn’t dressed warmly enough.
It started with tickets to see the new Larry David play. My mom checked that she had the tickets for the third or fourth time.
“It says, ‘late arrivals will not be seated,’” she read, for my benefit. My mom is early to everything. We left with an hour to spare.
And yet, we found ourselves in a cab crawling up Sixth Avenue for a half-hour with fifteen blocks to go. I checked our route on my smartphone; the driving estimate to get to the theater was fifteen minutes, the walking was only ten.
“I think we should get out,” I said.
“Really?” My mom looked aghast.
“Yeah, we’re close, but this traffic is going to take forever.”
But I’d inadvertently hit the panic button in my mom’s ever-punctual brain. She swiped, tapped, and banged her credit card on the automated reader before throwing it at me in anguish (“Mom, it’s a touchscreen now, we’ve been over this…”), and she couldn’t wait for the cabbie to pull over before she shot out of the taxi.
I scurried after her. “Wait, we have time, we don’t have to run.”
But she was already jogging down the crowded sidewalk, dodging men with briefcases and women wearing pantyhose with sneakers.
I awkwardly half-ran after her, not eager to claim the crazy woman sprinting in front of me as my own, but not wanting to lose sight of her bobbing blond head either.
My mom turned back only occasionally to furiously mouth the words, “COME ON!” and “WHY AREN’T YOU RUNNING?”
This made me laugh, which only made her angrier.
I was only a few yards behind her until a major intersection, when she darted out against the light. I winced as she put her hands up to the hoods of honking cars like an action movie star.
Thankfully, even Manhattan drivers won’t mess with my mother.
So she was a good ten yards ahead of me when she got to one corner and pointed west, mouthing, “This way?”
The theater was on 48th St between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. We were on Sixth, so we were less than a block away—with plenty of time, I might add.
She bolted left. I figured I’d catch up to her in a minute.
Until I reached the corner and looked up.
The sign read 49th Street.
I was so busy chasing her, I didn’t realize we’d overshot it by a block. But by now, the blond head had vanished.
I called my mom’s cell phone—no answer.
I called again. Surely, she would pick up, once she didn’t immediately see the theater where it should be.
It went to voicemail.
I called a third time. SURELY, she would at least LOOK at her phone, once she realized her daughter was no longer behind her.
I ran all the way down 49th St looking for her. I stopped at the corner of Broadway, at a complete loss as to which way she’d gone.
Ten minutes to curtain. I headed to the theater, praying she’d be there waiting.
I called her again, and this time, she answered. Like any parent who’d been through a scare, my relief curdled instantly to anger. “Where are you?!” I screamed.
“I don’t know!” she yelled.
“How do you not know? It’s a grid!”
We both calmed down, and I coached her to find me. When she arrived, her once-blown-out hair was frizzed with sweat. She looked so cute, I couldn’t be mad.
We rushed inside. The usher pointed us to our seats, and a concession worker walked by. My mom asked me to buy her a water.
“Sorry, we’re out. I only have wine,” he said.
He handed it to me in a plastic sippy cup.
I gave Mommy her juice just as the house lights dimmed, and I collapsed into my seat.
Next time, I’m bringing a nanny.
© Francesca Serritella 2015