I just spent the last week out West visiting friends and combing the old neighborhood. Or should I say “Hoods”, as we owned a few places there during our eight year stint in La-La land. There is an old cliche that I have heard in my youth from one octogenarian that carries a familiar ring to it, and it goes like this:
“You can never go home again”.
Meaning, once one makes a big change in ones life, things will not be the same.
Or will they?
What if you have lived and left so many places that you have forgotten which is the one place you call home? Is home where the heart is? What if I left my heart in San Fransisco……. well, maybe I’m an organ donor……….
What if I sold a home in Los Angeles and took the cold cash and left smiling with my heart pounding with profit……only to return to witness my ex abode had nearly doubled in value since I left. Which elevated the blood pressure that could produce a heart to linger in the old hood for a permanent stay.
Maybe some claim their home to be where their families originate from. After I finish a trip out to visit my original clan, the cliche circling my head when I leave changes to :
” I don’t wanna go home again”.
When I enter my 87 year old mothers home I am blown away by the volume of her 55 inch HDTV that stands four feet away from her leather Lazy-Boy screaming re-runs of Archie Bunker into her ears that are covered with wireless headphones that she neglects to turn on.
As I repeatedly tell her to turn the volume down on the flat screen, she motions with her hands that she can’t hear me and complains ” how the new headphones my brother bought her are faulty”, while fumbling for the remote in the seat cushion, which she ultimately left on the kitchen table….
It usually takes a good 45 minutes to muddle through our initial HELLo’s as this is her morning ritual. My mother’s hearing has been checked and has been determined normal by her Doctors. Normal for who……all 87 year old ladies? I can just imagine her annual physical with the MD who just graduated cum LOUD from Medical school:
Dr: ” Well Mrs. C, we find your hearing is normal for a woman of your age, now here’s an Rx for some Q-tips and the nurse will equip you with a new volume controlled Remote at the front desk . It has three settings: LOUD…..LOUDER……and LOUDEST. We do offer our deluxe model that is assured to strike a family members nerve and chase them from your home, but I believe it has yet to be covered by Medicare..”.
Every time I leave from a visit with my mother and her turbulent TV, I am left with voices ringing in my head for days. The frequency and pitch that emanate from her GSN network combined with a decibel level that could enforce an earthquake, cause my brain to short circuit, which leads me to a frantic rage to unearth the lost remote. WHICH concluded my suspicion that it was actually Rod Roddy’s voice belting in the back round inviting me to “C’MON DOWN” to visit when I phoned her last………no wonder she was surprised to see me…..
It’s not just her blatant TV that drives me back into therapy, it’s watching her use her cell phone to lower the volume of the TV, and then complain that the remote is as faulty as the wireless head phones….
Or watching her race around to locate where the ringing is coming from. She keeps her cell and house phone nearby, but sometimes they find themselves traveling separately and end up in different locations. My brother likes to tease, and will dial her home phone and cell phone simultaneously. He says it gets her out of the recliner……..a form of exercise……..Dr.’s Orders….
Sometimes when I have been out running errands for her I return to the Loud TV sitting alone. My mother is nowhere in sight. My heart started an anxious pounding of what I might find around the corner, but it was subdued by my slipping on a trail of green olives I found leading to the front door. She had stepped out to the porch to enjoy a mid afternoon cocktail. A dry martini with green olives. NOT Doctor’s orders.
I went outside and sat out front with her as she stared out into the yard. I watched as she sipped her forbidden drink and was thoroughly amazed at how she could manage to locate and mix a perfect martini for herself yet unable to turn off the TV or lower the volume. I watched as she calmly enjoyed her surroundings even with the boisterous back round of Desi Arnaz babaloooing through the halls…
I went in the kitchen and helped my self to one of her Martini’s and found the remote to turn down the TV to a level below “Batty” and joined her out side. As we sat and studied the gardens she turned to me and noticed I was lacking olives in my martini. I told her she was out of olives. As I lifted my foot to cross my legs she saw my shoes coated with olive and pimento residue smashed on the sole and stated:
“Most people use them IN the drink”.
That made made us laugh……and my heart flutter as the Home Shopping Network bartered in the back round noise……
When I returned home I sat in front of my TV watching a travel show and contemplated all the areas of this great planet that I have had the privilege to call home. The places I have lived and left, as far as I can see, actually remained the same, maybe over the years some have sprouted some urban growth, but the changes I witnessed came from the heart. I sat on the couch sleepily captivated by my thoughts only to be awakened by my daughter telling me to:
“Turn the volume down on the TV”……..
spread the humor.