Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Crazy People



When I was in my mid teens I visited my mother in the hospital one fine day. She was sitting on her bed staring at the wall below the television. I pulled up a chair next to her and waited for her attentions, which never came willingly. It took a physical prod from me to get her to turn and acknowledge my presence.

She lit up and laughed aloud when I told her she'd been "indisposed"; and then she told me of her most recent "vision".

"I was watching the news and suddenly there was a little green man atop the tv, talking some gibberish I didn't understand", she said. "He was very insistent that I turn and look toward the window but I couldn't take my eyes off him. Then he stood, jumped up and down and thrust his pointed finger over my shoulder. So I turned at last, just in time to see the entire wall, window and all, peel away from the room and crash onto the grass three stories below".

I sat there for a minute, soaking it all in; trying to imagine the tinted visitor, the falling wall.

"It's bingo night" I said at last. "Is it?" she asked. "I dunno, I've been away" she added.

"I know exactly where you've been mom" I said honestly. "But it's time to go now."

She was not a fan of B21/G30, but humored my request and led me to the cafeteria where we picked up our cards and chips. I hate the game, but it was time to go to Distractionville. Let's face it, there was really nowhere else we could go, what with the locked doors and the guard just outside.

She was still mutteringly rummaging through the remainders of her last hallucination when I hollered "BINGO!" to the crowd of 25 or so, and she stopped to admonish me for being so brash.

"Some people here take this game very seriously you know" she whispered, chuckling as she looked nervously about the room.

"Whoops, my mistake" I told the number caller while I flushed to the bone. I'd made the mistake intentionally, but there was no reason not to add some dramatic color to my ruse.

"You're right mom" I admitted; "Let's let the crazy people win. It'll make them feel better."

She laughed and looked me square in the eye. "BINGO" she shouted, and then leaned toward me to whisper "yes let's". With a wink and a smile she collected her prize and settled in for a night of heavy competition, aware that her skeleton had been sprung from its heavily guarded closet at last.

I despise bingo. I loved my mother. It was a fair trade. The "art" of compromise is a fallacy. It's actually a science.

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