My mother and I look nothing alike. If my father hadn’t witnessed my c-section birth and the hospital hadn’t slapped an ID bracelet on my wrist shortly thereafter and I hadn’t ended up with the horrific acne that can be traced up my maternal line to at least my great-great-grandparents, then I may not even believe she’s my biological mother. We are that physically different.
This is at my wedding, which was held in May three years ago. (HOLY SMOKES, we’ve been married a long time.) My mom hadn’t had a lot of summer time in the sun just yet and I had gotten a spray tan two days earlier, and that is the only reason why we have approximately the same skin tone.
Okay, so we don’t look similar. However, we have nearly identical personalities and are both freakishly good at befriending strangers. The other day, my mom was telling me about seeing a woman soliciting donations outside of a Whole Foods. For a normal person, this story would end with, “And then I walked right by her while pretending to have a conversation on my cell phone.” For my mother, the story included this woman’s age, hometown, sexual orientation, current employment and future plans. My mom probably stood outside the grocery store for thirty minutes talking to this person. And that is something I would do. I once gave a homeless man my phone number. (And then fielded uncomfortably sexual voicemails from him for two years.)
Another thing that my mom and I have in common is that we tend to get into ridiculous situations that require stupid adventures. For my mom, this may mean saying yes to four different meetings on the same day in two different counties, because they were all at different times and she figured she could, theoretically, attend them all.
For me recently, this meant ordering tadpoles for the school on Tuesday, expecting them to come by Friday, and having them arrive in Los Angeles a day late, on Saturday. This wouldn’t have been a huge issue if I’d had them shipped to my house. Unfortunately, I’d had them shipped to the school, which is, of course, closed and abandoned on Saturday afternoon. The USPS tracking website said the package, full of live tadpoles, was at the local post office and slated for delivery on Monday, and I was faced with an awful choice. Drive into the city to deal with a wild tad chase on my one day off (I spent today at a work-sponsored conference) or allow the tads to die at the post office over the weekend after being tied up in a small plastic bag of pond water inside a box for five days.
Can you guess what I chose to do?
1) driving to the post office closest to the school,
2) discovering that the tads were not in fact at the station and were in fact out for delivery with a mail carrier (the tracking website is a total liar),
3) being instructed by the United States Postal Service that the only solution was to troll the surrounding neighborhoods for mail trucks in order to physically track down the package,
4) cornering the first mailwoman I found on the street as she was actively delivering mail,
5) asking her to use her personal cell phone to find the woman working the school’s route,
6) finding out the second mail carrier’s location,
7) driving to her,
8) and having my box of tads hand-delivered to me out of the back of a mail truck on a busy major LA street by a woman who thought I was a total nutcase.
Does this crap happen to anyone else? Or am I alone in this? (My mother notwithstanding.) I was literally The Great Tadpole Detective yesterday. I drove up and down streets waiting for mail trucks, looking for clues. I interviewed witnesses and found evidence. I caught a few lucky breaks.
I saved three lives. And it was so, so annoying.