“I need a favor.” My mother’s voice quivered.
“Mom, are you OK?” I
had just left work and gotten into my car, which was semi covered in the first
round of slush from our Friday-Saturday snowstorm.
“You don’t have any Diet Coke. Can you stop at the store and get some?”
My mother had moved in with us for the night in anticipation
of the first blizzard of the winter. The
kids love having her around.
And they love that
she travels with Carrie.
I love having her around, because when she’s here, I can
slip off to Target by myself for an hour to buy things I don’t need,
although I didn’t think I would be doing that this weekend in the
To my mom, Diet Coke is like crack, and surviving a
weekend without it would have been impossible for her. In all honesty, the big DC is like crack to
me, too, except I finally kicked the habit a year ago. It had been a
dysfunctional relationship and a torturous parting to say the least…I’ve always
thought of the big DC as an evil mistress.
So bad for me yet I kept going back…
But I’d do anything for my mom – except maybe eat processed
sugar or make hamburgers for her, but truthfully, I wouldn’t even make
hamburgers for Justin Timberlake (ok, that’s a lie, I might. All right seriously, I’d slaughter a cow for
him. With my own hands. But I digress…). So, I pulled into the grocery store on my way
Here’s what New Jersey grocery stores look like when there
is the possibility of being snowed in your house for three hours.
Because everything to
a New Jerseyan is a blood sport, including who can empty the shelves of a
grocery store first before the onslaught of a half a foot of snow.
Even though my higher self/inner yogi/diva would rather sit
on the sidelines than elbow my way through a frantic crowd coveting pints of
Haagen Dazs and eggs, I’m forced to play.
I’m doing it for Mom.
Although, as you know, when I walk into a store, I get
sidetracked, so the one item tends to turn into two or seven or ten.
Because I realized I was running out of lemons, and water
with lemon is like my crack.
And I was down to my last bag of red lentils – and curried
red lentils are also like crack.
And the oranges were on sale.
And we needed cocoa powder in the house – because what’s a
snowstorm without hot cocoa?
By the time I got home, my mother was in an almost coma like
Diet Coke withdrawal (yes, I remember them well), and I left the groceries at
the door to get that first glass to her quickly.
As I poured the contents of the bottle into a cup, I watched
the fizz rise to the top of the glass. The fizz, if you didn’t know, gives off
a scent. A luscious scent, if I might
say so myself.
I swallowed hard, and raised the glass to my mouth. I wrapped my lips around the cup, tilted my head back…and put the glass down on the counter.
It was a dangerous moment, and one where I could have easily
gone back to that mistress, but I’d like to think I’ve learned from past mistakes.
When something is bad for you, and you
know when it’s bad for you – it’s time to stop that damn foolery of thinking this
time will be different – and walk away.
I unpacked the rest of the groceries and got my lentils onto
the stove, which I downed with a glass of lemon water, relieved that my Diet
Coke moment had passed.
After two hours of digging out, I was back to
Target before mom went home.
Who or what is your evil mistress?
Are you guys still together?
And if so, why – for crying out loud!
Where else to