So, I ran away from home.
This was earlier today. I’m back home now.
I went to a sleazy motel and got a room for cheap. I’m poorer now, although I’ll probably bill my dad. His fault.
I asked the lady at the desk if the rooms had landlines. She said yes. But my room’s phone didn’t work. Not making this up: someone had taken it apart and put dolls’ eyes into the phone. For freakin’… freakin… okay, I’m not wholly recovered yet.
I bravely went and complained, and I was given a new room in the godforsaken motel. And by the way, I pity the poverty stricken for having to live in such vile quarters. No one should have to. But I digress. And I have no right to say anything, since I do nothing to better the cause of poverty.
In my new room, I was finally able to use the phone. And the phone didn’t have any eyes in it. (If I’d had a cell phone, I would’ve photographed the dolls’ eyes, but of course, if I had a cell phone, I wouldn’t have needed the landline.)
So I called my mom in Maine. She answered and didn’t know who I was, due to the caller ID displaying the motel’s phone number. “Hello?”
“Mother, how art thou?”
“Who is this?”
“Your favorite daughter.”
“No. Try again, please.”
Okay, the call didn’t actually go like that.
“How are you?” she asked.
“I’m fine, but we have a situation.”
“I’m trapped in a seedy motel,” I told her.
“Don’t panic,” she said. “Maybe it’s not that seedy. How much did it cost?”
“Cripes. It’s seedy. I didn’t know there were any that cheap. What happened?”
I took a deep breath and tried without success to relax. “Codger went to visit some friends of his who have the coronavirus. I fled.”
My mom started to cry. “Oh! Oh! Your poor father. He’s old and stupid.”
“Oh! Oh! My poor daughter. You must be trapped in hell.”
“You should go back home.”
“Um, I rushed past him just as he got home. I think I haven’t been exposed yet. If I don’t go home, I might stay safer.”
More crying. “What’s wrong with your father?! You’ve got nowhere to go.”
This was true. I’d sent my brother some messages on social media, and he hadn’t read them yet. I don’t really want to impose upon him, anyway.
I was a stress mess, and the horrid environs did little to help. That was one [bleep] of a [bleepy] motel.
“Let me call and talk to him,” she offered.
I sighed. “I can talk to him. He’s just… he needs a sensibility transplant. The virus is killing people, and he’s too lackadaisical.”
“I know. I know! I was married to him for twenty years.”
“Ah, the good old days…” I allowed myself to get lost in a moment of depressing nostalgia. Then the motel room came into focus. Huh. Was it normal for three cockroackes to mate at once? I scratched the back of my neck and looked away. It was indecent.
“Bedbugs!” my mom yelled. “Don’t get under the covers.”
I glanced nervously at the blankets underneath my seated body. “What? No, don’t worry. That’s not where the bugs are.”
She dissolved into worse hysteria.
She said she’d call my dad, and I asked her to talk to her boyfriend, Mark, too, since I needed a strategy to cope with my dad’s coronavirus exposure. But my mom said she couldn’t talk to Mark about it, and I worried that they’ve broken up, or something. (I don’t want to know. Geez. Whatever it was, she didn’t want to upset me with it.)
In good news, my mom loves having something to worry about. She’s got her fill now. Also, I know I make her out to be a bad mommy, but she was totally there for me.
Eventually, after an hour or so, I got my dad on the phone. “Meg, honey,” he said placatingly, “come back home like a good daughter. You’re better off here.”
“Will you wear a mask?”
“At home? No! Listen, all I did was go into Dani’s house and put groceries for her and her sick boyfriend on the kitchen table. Dani was afraid I’d catch her coronavirus, so she had a mask on and didn’t let me go near her.”
I decided to borrow from my mom’s vernacular. “We’re all going to DIE,” I intoned.
“Oh, we are not. Now come home like a good citizen.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’ll think about it. I’m stressed.”
“Maybe you can go to the gym.”
“It’s harder to exercise when I’m tense.”
So eventually I went home. And now, I’m afraid I have an obligation to isolate for the benefit of greater society. Ugh. My dad’s a covidiot.