It is 7:40 in the morning and as usual we are rushing to get to school. Yet today, there is an added facet to our morning chaotic dash: my mother is going to New York and taking my sisters’ belongings with her.
Pause for Background
Since she could say the word, my youngest sibling has always wanted to be a veterinarian (I actually had to look up how to spell that- how embarrassing). Well a few years ago, she was accepted to the University of Melbourne in Australia. As most of her belongings were in Victoria, but she was living in Montreal, she found herself pretty scattered. Once in Melbourne, however, she was careful not to accumulate too many things, as she knew she would be leaving in a couple of years. Although she enjoyed her time in Australia, it was just too far away from Canada and her family and friends. The degree now completed, she traveled for a couple of months and then alighted in Montreal for a few more months in order to study for the big exam that would allow her to practice in North America and await the news from the fancy Manhattan animal clinic to see if she was accepted as an intern. She obviously passed her test and was awarded the internship, or why else would all her of her world’s belongings be unceremoniously and inefficiently stuffed in bulging cardboard boxes, rubber maids and an ancient trunk my mother’s exboyfriend retrieved from an antique auction and that J and I used for a couple table for years and years and stored in my basement? And why else would my mother be hauling some of this stuff to New York this morning? Geez, look alive people, it is a pretty simple tale.
As neither my mother nor my sister are very good packers, this morning we find ourselves loading the back of the station wagon with a trunk heavier than a dead Soprano (either the show or the singer-you get the point) and one small, over packed cardboard box and a packsack.
Me- Mom, I thought the idea was to unpack this thing and make smaller, more manageable boxes?
Mom-Ahh well, it will be alright!
Me- Mom, there is a fifty pound maximum limit on baggage- I am not sure they will take it.
Mom (breezily)- It’ll be fine!
And that is my mom. She is about the most positive person I have ever known and even when things do not work out fine, they seem to work out fine. Because she says so. Such is the power of her own positive mind frame. Thinking about it, it is philosophically more like Voltaire’s Candide than that runaway success, The Secret (which she has read). Sort of the equivalent to whatever happens was the right thing to happen because it happened. A tad bit solipsistic but it seems to work for her.
So we pack up the car, drop the kids off at school and head to the bus station. We get there at about 8:05 in the morning and she is planning on taking the 11:45 bus.
Mom- I want to get there early so I can deal with this luggage.
Me (inside voice)- She will not need 3 and a half hours to deal with luggage, even if they don’t take the trunk- she has the time to go buy herself a whole new luggage ensemble.
Me (outside voice)- Don’t you think you are going a little early?
Mom-Nahh, it will be fine!
We get to the bus station, load her trunk and other luggage onto a cart, and ask a security guard for information on where to check in her luggage for New York. He directs us to the end of the bus station where there is a small office enclosed in glass with a large greyhound sign beside it. As we near the office, a large man with an accent I can only presume hails from the south of the United States was yelling, “Vermont, New York! Anybody goin’ to New York?”
He looks at my mom and asks in a loud, melodious chime, “Wheh’ you goin’ to sugah’?”
Mom-To New York! (the exclamation point is needed to convey my mother’s excitement at,well, going to New York.)
Man- Well, come on then honey!
Mom (slightly panicking at the speed of this transaction)- But I don’t have a ticket yet and I have these bags….
Man- No problem, you just go get yourself a ticket and leave these things here with her (pointing to me)
Mom (looking flustered and young)- But where….
Man- No problem honey- let me show ya!
And he whisked my mother away to the other end of the bus station to the ticket counter while I stayed while the luggage was being weighed. It turns out that the trunk indeed weighed more than the fifty pound limit. Thirtysix to be more precise, making it a whopping eightysix pounds. The young man at the desk tells me apologetically that my mother will have to pay an extra twenty dollars as it really is too heavy, but if she brings the packsack on the bus as carry-on she will avoid an extra luggage fee. Twenty dollars. That is all. An extra twenty dollars is the only penalty my dear mother must pay for her luggage tansgressions.
I see her in the distance taking about three steps for every one of the large, garrulous American. I go out to meet her to tell her she needs to pay twenty dollars, which she does happily, and then stops for a second to say Goodbye with a big grin on her face.
Mom- Well, that’s that! Be back on Wednseday!
And off she went, with the large man behind her, handling her trunk. The last thing I heard was large American man asking her, “Watch’oo got in this here trunk ma’am? Gotch’er man in there?”
And I left her in the front seat of the bus going to New York at 8:15 in the morning a good three and a half earlier than she thought possible, sitting up straight and eating a banana. And that is how things go for my mother. Sometimes I wonder if I was adopted…