I WAS GEARING UP both physically and mentally for the Triple Crown of the restaurant business. Those first two weeks of May that includes Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day. The only thing that might make this crazy frenetic time more of both is a full moon. A super full moon.
A day at the gym led to a night at my very own local watering hole. Just like psychologists, I recommend that every bartender also have a bartender. Someone that he can confide in, seek refuge with or, simply get a drink from. Take that psychologists.
I bellied up to said bartender.
“Hey,” I said.
“Hey,” he said.
When you spend the better part of your day conversing with others, sometimes it is a lack of conversation that you seek out.
I sat there reveling in the quiet and solitude — for all of about two minutes — just enough time for the bubbly blonde to plop onto the barstool next to me.
“All right Mom, you just wait right here. I’ll be done in about an hour,” said the tie wearing young man escorting her, doing his best to act officious.
Mom, I thought. She doesn’t look anything like my mother.
“Hi,” she said to the bartender. “I guess I’ll have a glass of wine,” she said pausing. “Because I don’t know what would happen if I had a cosmopolitan,” she added stroking a stray lock of platinum out of her long black eyelashes.
“Take care of my mom,” said Mr. Officious to the bartender, establishing that he was in fact, his boss.
I glanced again at her: petite, tan, fit, and older. There’s a term for that kind of mother, but it escaped me at that particular moment.
“I am visiting my son for a few weeks,” she said.
“Uh huh,” I said
“He’s the manager here.”
“Uh huh,” I said again.
“He’s not my favorite son,” she said. “My younger one is. He’s better looking and smarter.”
I immediately thought of full moons. Super full moons.
“This one took me out to a club last night. I really wanted to dance with some of the guys there, but I was with my son. So I didn’t,” she said, regret tingeing her tone.
I noticed the wedding ring on her hand and lifted my drink making sure that she noticed mine.
“If I had had a cosmopolitan I don’t know what would have happened,” she said still having trouble with that errant hair.
“I get a little crazy when I drink cosmopolitans.”
Perhaps it wasn’t the cosmopolitans I thought.
“He smokes too much pot,” she said, embracing the term “non sequitur” wholeheartedly.
“Who?” I asked before I realized what I was saying. Sometimes engaging people conversationally for a profession can have negative consequences privately.
I now knew three rather awkward things about someone I had known nothing about three minutes before.
“Can I get you another?” asked the bartender, who had noticed that her glass was now empty.
I looked at my own drink, of which I had only taken two sips, and suddenly felt like I had been at that bar far too long.
“I’ll have a cosmopolitan,” she said.
“Check please,” I said.
“Put hers on my tab,” said a man sitting on the other side of Mom.
I don’t know how the night ended for that boy and his mother, but I’m guessing that he’s wishing he could have just sent her a card for Mother’s Day.
Here are some Mother’s Day tidbits to help tide him over.
Kali Ma, the “great mother” in Hinduism, wears a necklace of severed heads and also represents death. It is she that requires human sacrifices in 1984’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Just saying.
The Ramos Fizz, one of the most popular cocktails consumed on Mother’s Day, contains both eggs and milk. One wonders what a psychologist might make of that.
Anna Jarvis campaigned to honor mothers with a memorial day and finally succeeded in 1914, when Mother’s Day became a national holiday. Jarvis then spent the rest of her life (and her family fortune) campaigning against the commercialization of the event.
Jarvis died in poverty, having never married and having no children of her own. One really wonders what a psychologist might make of that.
Perhaps Paul Simon was thinking of Mother’s Day when he sang “on this strange and mournful day” in “Mother and Child Reunion.”