Sunday, August 20, 2006

Seeking Therapy Group for Daughters of Dumpster-Diving Mothers



Okay, I have included photos so you know for a fact that I am telling you the truth. The latest panic episode of my life began this evening when I discovered a box left by the mailman outside my door. I overheard the vacuum earlier so obviously the apartment building cleaning people had to vacuum around the awful thing. It's a shame that no one steals mail anymore. I knew there was a package coming. I live 3,000 miles away from my mother whom, as of the last 6 years or so, has become a dumpster diver. Well, you see, actually it's her 87 year old "companion" guy that does it for her. He's taller and can reach in and grab whatever looks new to barely used and gives it to her to sell at her yard sales (she lives about 10 houses down the street from this dumpster and she's not worried that the stuff that was tossed in there may be recognized by the tossers who show up to her sale). Worse yet, she has this filter in her brain that tells her to look for anything she can send to her only child, a daughter whom she thinks has a taste for tchotchkes.

I need to preface the most recent description of the item I received with some background. In no way am I bitter or angry at my mother and I love her and care about her more than anyone I know. My mother has a great heart and has always been a giver. I understand that living 3,000 miles away from her for the last 14 years may hinder her ability to know what my tastes are today. I've tried to encourage her to not send me things other than greeting cards. It's just difficult because I don't want to hurt her feelings. She sends me things poorly wrapped that are breakable so most of the time I cannot donate what I receive if it is broken. I tell her that I find the things amusing. She's even gotten to the point to say that if I don't want it, I can sell it on ebay. Hmmm... only if I can list a starting bid of "$0.00."

When I open the box, I notice the stamp reads $6 for priority mail. I barely have the styrofoam popcorn pushed aside and I hear the sound of a music box, the kind you have to wind up. When I saw the shiny green and black material and black feathers and then a broken off piece of porcelain, I just could not get my lungs to work. I was so mortified when I saw this porcelain doll with a head of feathers, these jester shoes and outfit and then the tune staggered out. It had to have played music whenever it was in the presence of the postal workers. I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to play "Memories," the theme from the Broadway musical "Cats." I turned the wind up key in the back and waited. I actually had to stand the doll upright and put pressure on its feet to get the music to play. Indeed, it was "Memories." But it did not just play music, it moved! It had the movements of a poor animal writhing from its center in pain. Just a sidenote: My mother never liked musicals and only wanted to see "Cats" when it first played on Broadway as part of all the hype, but when she heard some of it on PBS once, she changed the channel out of boredom.

The feathers are flying off the thing, obviously trying to get away from it. The material makes a crinkly noise like the sound of plastic wrap or a plastic grocery bag. The facial expression is not sad or happy with its painted whiskers, gold lips and black nose, yet it screams to be put out of its misery when it moves to the music. I could glue the foot back on but why? Who would want this? Should I take it to a Goodwill or similar place and just leave it outside the donation door overnight? Should I throw it over a fence that carries a "Beware of Dog" sign? I'd love to sneak it into a storefront window of one of those tchotchke stores in the tourist district. Wonder how long it would take for them to notice it is not originally part of their inventory.

At least 24 hours have passed since I received it and I still have not phoned my mother. I may call her when I know she's not home. Thank her for the package. Say nothing else. See if she calls back and not answer the phone (she hangs up before the machine answers).

1 comment:

Zombie Chipmunk said...

My parents usually stick to salvaging beta tape players and plywood signs to fix our house with.