Friday, March 30, 2007

Tom's Mum

Tonight, Nando was working late. With M1 moved out, this meant that I was all alone for the evening. While watching a bit of TV, I turned to the telephone to fill the void in my social contact matrix. After calling one person who was unavailable, I called my real Myspace friend, Tom (formerly known as Tom the Injured Cyclist). I used the memory on my new, cordless phone, to retrieve Tom's home number. I pushed the button which causes the device to dial. Hearing the reassuring tones of the automated dialing, I awaited the familiar ringing. As expected, it came...the double tone of the British telephone system. Next, I anticipated Tom's voice answering the phone. Even though his flat is small, sometimes I have to be quite patient. He often finds some way to take ages to get to the phone. Suddenly, a woman's voice answers. It's not the voice of Tom's ex, who I have met. This voice sounds older and very posh. For a moment, I thought I had somehow dialled the wrong number. That can't be, though, as it was automatically dialed. I asked for Tom and the female seemed to recognize the name, although she hesitated suspiciously. She asked who's calling. Who is this?!!! Does Tom have some new girlfriend? She sounded a bit mature for him, though.
I said my name, "it's Joseph." She asked me to repeat it. I do. She seems to struggle. She repeated it back as something different...Jack, John, Jimmy, or something like that. I started to feel frustrated. How hard was it to comprehend "Joseph?" At the end of the day, what difference did it make? She doesn't live there, just put me through to Tom. If I hadn't been sick, I might have thought to just agree with whatever she said, so she'd put me through. Somehow, I managed to get her to put me through. I finally heard Tom's voice and the relief flooded over me like a cascading waterfall. "Who the hell was that?" I asked as soon as I had his ear.
"My maid?" He said, playfully. I pressed him for a serious answer. He caved in rather easily. "It's my Mum," he admitted. Over here, saying "Mum" has the same affect as saying "Mom," in America. In other words, his mother. The human who gave him birth. His DNA genesis. Well, half of it. I guess that whatever frustrations I have with Tom, they are ultimately her fault. I was struck by an eerie thought. Might I have alienated her with the whole name thing, before I even had the chance to meet her?
"What is she doing there?" I asked, with sharp curiosity. More to the point, why was she answering the phone? Sadly, I didn't ask the second question. Tom informed me that Mum was there for a visit. Given how small Tom's flat is, I crinkled my nose at the thought of them sharing such close quarters. Then I remembered that when she had gone to bring Tom to the phone, she had said she would try to "find" him. It shouldn't be hard. Look behind the door, dear. I wish my mother would visit me.

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