Monday, May 09, 2005

One Mother of a Day

Mother's Day is not my favorite holiday. In fact, you could say that I hate Mother's Day. What we have here is an entirely commercially created holiday to spur us on to spend and consume, and yet somehow I am completely left out of the whole demographic. No mother. No grandmothers. No mother-in-law. No children of my own. I am the girl who fell through the Mother's Day crack.

So I spend a good part of Mother's Day in bed. Then, sometime around three in the afternoon, I decided to drag my sorry ass out of bed, bathe and venture outside the apartment. I went to my nail salon for a quick pedicure and it was closed. For Mother's Day. Honest to freakin' God, only in New York is your local nail salon open on Christmas Day, but closed on Mother's Day. So I continued further into the hood and found an open salon. Now, in New York there is a nail salon on every block. They're like Starbucks, but generally no one speaks English and they usually include some kind of religious shrine I can never figure out. Perhaps because they are so plentiful, they have to price competitively (ie wicked cheap). The goal is to balance cheap with clean, because having plain toes is worse than having no toes after they've been amputated due to that raging fungus. The place I found had "pedi"s for $8.99 which is damn near the cheapest I've ever seen. Also they didn't charge for fancy extras, like, nail polish. In I went.

They did not have OPI polish. Trust me, this is a bad sign. But I picked out a dark red color and asked for a magazine. For me, reading cheap and trashy magazines is part of the allure of the whole pedicure process. I don't own a television, so reading trashy magazines is the one time during the week I can pump cheap shit directly into my brain. They pointed to a stack of "magazines" that included in its entirety: Parenting, Latina, and an old Victoria's Secret catalog. Another demographic rabbit hole for me. I decided to forgo the magazine which only made things more uncomfortable later when a fight broke out between a large black woman and a nail tech, because I had nothing to hide behind.

I got out of the nail salon as quickly as possible and made my way to one of my favorite Italian Restaurants in Park Slope. Now, growing up, I remembered Mother's Day as a Brunch Holiday. Or maybe a nice big Sunday dinner. I thought I would be pretty safe arriving at La Villa at 5:30 in the evening, that by that time everyone would be home watching football and Mom would be forgotten until next year. I am an idiot. The place was packed. But you know what, I really wanted to have a nice Italian meal at one of my favorite restaurants, so I made my way to the hostess and asked for dinner for one. I am certain I am the only single person that walked in there all day. She said there was a table for me, but no chair, since all available chairs had been pulled up to accommodate large parties of seven or eleven or twenty. I decided to wait it out. Besides, it seems like a solid 50% of people in the joint were actually Italians, and being around other Guidos makes me feel happily relaxed if not homesick.

While I was waiting, a mother and daughter walked past me to pose for a picture. The girl was wearing her mother's cardigan, it hung down so low on her, and her Mom said, "No, no, open it up. I want to see your pretty dress." I'm sure my own mother said the same thing to me a hundred times. I smiled. Walking back to the bar the little girl, jumping around, landed on my foot and smudged my big toe nail. Total bummer. I did not say anything, not wanting to be the Grinch that Stole Mother's Day. As it was, people were looking at me. I thought about leaving again. But what the hell? I hadn't done anything wrong. It's not like I had a mother and was neglecting her. I looked around and saw:

number of men yelling at their mothers: 2

number of women yelling at their husbands to "stop yelling at your mother until we get to the table. These people don't want to be in our business.": 1

I also saw countless mothers with corsages, mothers wearing silk scarves tied around their necks, mothers without husbands, old Grandmas with canes being trotted for their biannual outings, screaming babies, fighting siblings and sulking teenagers. At that point I made a decision. I was going to proudly stay and have a nice meal and possibly serve as a reminder to all these people that they should just enjoy the freakin' special day because soon enough everyone at their tables will be dead, divorced or disowned. Oh, and I also decided to get plastered on Bellinis.

I think I've stumbled across my new Mother's Day tradition.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Nancy, I have been nicknamed by some as "Cupcake", so I love your blog name. I also loved your Mother's Day story. Having known your mother, I'm sure she was on your shoulder enjoying the show!! I also champion your ability to dine alone in an atmosphere you enjoy. I have a favorite Italian restaurant in Soho, that I visit solo,on occasion. They wrap me in good food and European kisses!!! (Yeah, in NYC, go figure!) My comfort food of choice there is Zabaglione w/ fresh strawberries...yummmm! I look forward to reading of your future adventures. P.S. Sorry about the toe smudge!!! Luv, Mrs. Shortman