I blame the GPS

Abandoned farmhouse
Abandoned farmhouse

I took this picture in the mid to late 70’s. I don’t recall exactly where I took it, but based on the other shots from that roll of film, I would guess it was in either Noble or Steuben County.


The other day there was a Facebook post from Amazon.com asking what album people were using to get ready for the weekend. I thought about that question, but couldn’t come up with just one album. I’m not that kind of person. I did narrow the selection down to three albums; New Grass Revival’s Too Late To Turn Back Now which was recorded at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and was released in 1977, The Buddy Rich Big Band’s New One which was released in 1968, and the one I’m listening to now, Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues. This album was released 1967. I love listening to the old albums and variety; what can I say?


Yesterday I agreed to pick up a young man at his work and drive him home. Not a big deal, you might think, but it set off a string events that stretched into the evening. First, I arrived at his place of work a few minutes early and parked in the parking lot to wait. He was supposed to get off at 6:00 p.m., but 6 came and passed. No one came out of the building. This was surprising to me since I have never worked anywhere that didn’t have people leaving, or trying to leave, a few minutes early. Granted, that doesn’t happen often when you have to punch in and out on a time clock, but it does happen. 6:05 came and went. Finally, around 6:10 the first people started to exit the building, and the young man appeared.

As he entered the car he asked me if I knew how to get to his house. I had never been to his home, so I told him I knew the general area, but that he would have to give me specific directions when we got near. That proved to be a problem, because this 19-year-old didn’t know how to get to his home from his place of employment, even though he had been working there for some time. So I turned on the GPS in my smart phone and went to the navigation app so that I could get him home. While we were on the way, his mother called him and tried to pass along sketchy directions to the house. I decided to trust my GPS navigator. When I pulled into their drive, the young man wanted to hug me, which is always awkward, and his mother was there to greet us.

As I left I decided to call and order a pizza for pickup, so I could eat part of it while watching a movie. Having done that, I started out to Arni’s, the pizza place. While I was driving, my mother called, and I decided to ignore it and call her when I was no longer driving. When I got to Arni’s, I parked the car and called my mother before going in for the pizza. That was a mistake. As we were talking, she was telling me how nice it was in Santa Claus compared to St. John, she was enjoying things like the birds, the green grass, the daffodils that were budding, and then my phone died because the GPS had drained the battery. There wasn’t anything I could do about that, so I went in and got the pizza. On the way home I was stopped by a train, which made me nervous, because the longer I went without calling my mother back, the more anxious she would become.

Well, I got home, started recharging the phone, and called my mother again. No answer. It went to her voice mail, which I don’t think she listens to, but I started leaving a message anyhow. I had no way of knowing when she would call back, so I decided to start eating, and started the movie, Oceans Twelve. About three minutes into the movie she called back. I paused the movie and answered her call. Gone was the happy Mother Jekyll I had been talking to a few minutes earlier. Now I was listening to Mother Hyde who was feeling sorry for herself, saying things like, “I can’t seem to do anything right in this house. They (my sister and brother-in-law) don’t want me here. I don’t know if I can take it anymore.” I tried to reassure her that they didn’t want to kick her to the curb, but she wasn’t having any of that. I tried to explain why we were cut off in mid-sentence, but that was swept aside. Also, she couldn’t seem to hear anything I was saying. I remember my grandmother (her mother) having that same problem when she didn’t like what you were saying. After about five minutes she was through talking and hung up. I went back to my pizza and movie.

About ten minutes later, mom called back. It was more of the same…inflated. She was going to close out her bank account, cash in her CDs, and move somewhere where she could be on her own. This is a woman who prefers to be housebound, she doesn’t like going out. I asked her who would do her shopping for her. She couldn’t hear me. I raised my voice a few decibels and asked again. She couldn’t hear me. I shouted at the top of my lungs, and she heard me, but had no answer. We brushed that aside as well. With a final plaintive , “Don’t worry about me,” sh hung up again. I sighed and went back to my pizza and movie.

Another ten minutes or so and the phone rang again. This time it was my sister with her side of the story. When the phone had died, my mom thought that maybe she had cut us off somehow and told (not asked) my sister to call me back. My sister, quite rightly, told mom that I would call back. That upset mom, and she started sulking and getting angry (Cindy wonders where I got my passive-aggressive nature). After venting for a while, we said goodnight. I don’t know that I could live with my mother full-time without resorting to tranquilizers…for me.

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