My Mother the Dumper

My Mother the Dumper

I love my mother. I want to state this up front so that the tone of the following rant doesn’t make you think I am some sort of unfeeling sociopath – I did read recently that some shocking number of people in the world are really sociopaths, which is kind of scary. But I am not one of them, I swear. Mom is lovely. She’s always been a bit dotty, but dotty in a lovable way. She’s the sort of woman who wears two similar but different shoes, one earring, and my windbreaker from high school and thinks nothing of it. More importantly, she’s the sort of woman who doesn’t much care when this is pointed out to her.

Normally I find this cheerful. As a teenager I sometimes found my mother embarrassing, but that’s par for the course, isn’t it? As an adult I more often find her charming. Except when we go out to lunch, because my mother insists on buying, and my mother is a Dumper.

The lunch always ends like this: the check arrives. Whether we pay our server at the table or walk up to a register, my mother announces she will buy, I make some good-natured but thoroughly insincere argument … and then my mother starts rooting in her huge purse for her wallet, cannot find it, and within thirty seconds upends the whole purse onto the counter or table, muttering. Things go flying, and as she pays the check I can be found on the floor, picking up mints that have seen far better days, keys to homes she no longer owns, and receipts from lunches we had two or three years before.

Is it any wonder I finally bought my mother a clear purse organizer? More importantly, I extracted from her a solemn oath to use it.

Now, when Mom opens her oversize bags to find scraps of currency for your lunches, she’s immediately faced with a clear, organized field of battle. Her money and credit cards are right there, as are her keys and other essentials, like her cell phone – or at least the most recent cell phone that actually works, as opposed to the two cell phones commonly found in her bag that are no longer viable. The rest of her bag remains a madwoman’s adventure, but that’s how she likes it and that’s fine by me as long as I never have to see her dump the whole thing in front of a stunned waitress ever again.

I was moved when my mother admitted that this gift had improved her life immensely, and immediately began plotting to buy her a clear bag to replace the voluminous handbag she carries. My only fear is exposing to the world that bag’s actual contents … but then I figure everyone’s seen me on the floor of various restaurants collecting those contents already, so the secret’s out!

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