My son thinks he’s a writer but honestly – between you and me – I think he’s a little too hung up on the truth. When he’s telling a story he’ll actually stop in mid-sentence to try to remember some detail which slows everything down. Even I know that and I don’t like story-telling. I’m interested in the facts and getting things done. Most of the time. Over the past four months I have, however, been writing a story everyday on this site under various pseudonyms to show my son a thing or two about writing. Remember, Kevin, keep it snappy and interesting. Even your mother knows that. This Mother’s Day I’m turning the tables and I’m giving you something. Advice.
And a story written from your point of view…
The Apple Didn’t Fall Far from the Bus Stop
I got home from work around six to an almost empty mailbox – two pizza fliers which went straight into the perfectly positioned garbage can below – and then at my computer nothing but a rejection email from McSweeney’s. (“sharp, but we’re going to pass” – Can I still use that in a bio? “McSweeney’s has called my work sharp,” and I’ll leave it at that.)
The phone rang. It was my mom.
“Is this the right phone to be calling you on?”
“And if you’re not in I can leave a message?”
“So yesterday I put up a bus-stop.”
“Well after two weeks of calling everyday to complain that they hadn’t put up the new stop sign after they reversed the route, I was really getting fed up. Those planners get the big bucks but they forgot to move one of the stop signs. You know everywhere else on the other side of the street there are new stop signs but not in front of our place. So everyone here has to walk if they want to take the bus. White Rock is making 50 seniors walk to get anywhere. It’s ridiculous and I’m wasting the rest of my life on the phone trying to call somebody to do something about it. So Sunday morning I went out with your old tree-planting shovel and I dug up the old stop sign which was never firmly in place, it was kind of wobbly and then I took it across the street and dug a new hole for it. That shovel works good.”
“So you took matters into your own hands?”
“I took matters into my own hands.”
“Good for you.”
“I haven’t tried it yet but I think it should work.”
I didn’t tell my mom about the Vancouver bus driver I had after work who raced me home in fits and starts. The brakes screeched countless times for bus stops and red lights and then he would gun it. I wanted to lean over to the guy across from me and deadpan: “The only reasonable explanation for his driving is that he’s used to having his own personal bus on the autobahn in Germany where he never has to stop. He just keeps forgetting that he’s in Canada, working as a bus driver. But the important thing is he loves his job.” I would have said that to the young guy across from me in a jacket very similar to my own but his ipod buds were stuffed deep in his ears.
In some ways I take after my mom. I’m not afraid to bring my unique ideas into existence in the world.
We’re both age-old eccentrics.
Happy Mother’s Day.