I saw my mother the other day. Sadly, it was only for six hours, but six is better than nothing. We don’t get to see each other often enough (she lives in Oregon). The other unfortunate factor; it was the morning after I got home late from a seeing a client. I was beat, but really looking forward to seeing her. I picked her up from the airport and we grabbed lunch at Soley’s (like two good Jews). Afterwards we waited by a hotel pool in Studio City for my brother—who flew in from Arizona—and his ex-wife, her brother, and my niece, who were visiting from Sweden. The whole group was heading to Carpinteria to stay in a rental by the beach. I was invited, but couldn’t join due to my being a tired ass ho, and the article I had to write for a magazine. My mom and I are such opposites in so many ways, but with each passing breath, I am slowly turning into her. We’ve always been close, and we share the same dry sense of humor, but I would never in a million years expect some of these current changes. I had heard of this phenomenon, turning into your parents, but I never imagined it would happen with me—I mean, look at my crazy life! My mom lives a solitary life. She’s witty and funny, but she’s content living on a minimal scale: few friends and no sex (that I know of). I gave up on trying to get her to date about twenty years ago. In my twenties, I couldn’t fathom not having a partner, but here I am, forty-four and as single as they come. And I couldn’t be happier: No one to answer to, consider, or worry about. I’m pretty sure my mom was around this same age when she ended what was to be her last relationship. I’m staying home alone more often than not, and loving it. I’m my favorite person by far.
Our growing similarities consist of more than my just being single, and enjoying my own company. While we lounged—fully clothed—by the pool, she told me about this crazy affliction she recently heard about on a podcast called autonomous sensory meridian response (or ASMR): People who enjoy certain sounds to an almost orgasmic level—hair brushing, chopping vegetables, whispering etc. Apparently there are YouTube channels devoted entirely to these sounds, for example, a woman whispering on a loop. We laughed and agreed that every ASMR sound she could recall would put us in a padded cell, not utopia. We discussed this at length. How we’d both prefer silence to almost anything. Her and I both have extremely sensitive hearing. Which is one of the reasons why I think I sometimes bothered her when I was young during our long drives in the van when we worked the carnival circuit. Although I was a fairly aware and conscious kid, I was still a kid, and kids make noise…a lot of noise. Plus, I had a lot to say, imagine that. My sensitivity and hatred of most sounds is getting more pronounced as I get older. So much of every day noise bugs the shit out of me. I’ll give someone the death stare if they’re tapping their nails incessantly on a hard surface, or clicking a pen cap. It’s incredible how much we can assign to genetics. I wonder what other mom-like parallels are coming my way? Hopefully it’s not the way she butters toast.