Part 2 / Cont’d
At this point I wasn’t just second-guessing my decision to fly home, I was fully and absolutely regretting it.
As I approached the limousine, my overnight bag slung over my shoulder, I felt like a character in a bad movie. Everything seemed to be unfolding in slow motion, the sounds around me magnified.
While my mom loved Boy George’s hit album, “Karma Chameleon,” playing it so many times that I learned to loathe it, there was no George in her circle of friends. No Boy George, Man George, George of the Jungle, or Georgie Porgy. Who was sitting in that limousine was beyond me.
The dim lights inside the car made it difficult to see, but even if I’d been blind, I would have known from the laugh who was sitting there. It was haughty, almost psychotic laugh, and had the ability to instantly send anxiety and adrenaline coursing through my system.
There she was—my mother, slouched in the backseat with a smug look on her face like she’d just pulled one over on me. And she had. Her face was made up like a circus clown, blue eyeshadow, bright coral cheeks, dark crimson lips. She was wearing a floppy beret-style hat, her long hair stuffed inside it. Her skintight jeans were tucked into knee-high boots, and her red, white & blue fuzzy sweater peeked out of a bomber-style leather jacket, adorned with a silk scarf. Boy George had arrived indeed, or a drag lookalike. Ironically, my mother always insisted that Boy George was impersonating her, and while she was clearly prettier, it was hard to ignore the physical similarities.
As for the dinner my mom promised in an attempt to lure me home, it clearly wasn’t happening, not that I ever really believed it would. Unsurprisingly, our first stop was a bar that also had a dance area that played great disco. It was like two worlds colliding, and because of it, it drew a very eclectic crowd that ranged in age…and motive.
Our limo driver circled the block, rather than dropping us off in front, which immediately seemed suspicious. Based on the flirtatious ping pong game he and my mom were playing, I realized he was joining us. The ride was quite secondary.
But, like many things in my life, fate was about to intervene on our night, and not necessarily in a good way. Just a way. It was a matter of picking the poison.
Shortly after sitting down, two older men approached our table, sauntering over with glib smiles, like a coyote about to snatch its prey. The thinner man, with a swoosh of black bangs that were awkwardly strung across his forehead, zeroed in on my mother. The older, heavier-set man targeted me. Or, depending on how you look at it, was left with me.
What he clearly didn’t realize is that we’d met before. I’d called on him at his ad agency the previous year, and he was incredibly rude, living up to his reputation for being a pompous asshole. Maybe the dark bar obscured his vision, or maybe a few drinks gave him liquid confidence, but for me the meeting was unforgettable.
Now there he was invading my space at the two-top bar table, drooling over me like a hound dog in heat. After several nauseating compliments, I took a long sip of my drink, pulled my chair back an inch so I could look him square in the eyes, and I let it rip.
“Mr. Leed,” I said. “You seem to have a very short memory. I called on you, pitched my radio station. You weren’t just rude, you were nasty and mean. Clearly you’ve forgotten. I guess I failed to make an impression on you, but let’s see how I do this time.” I paused, making him suffer for a good long minute, watching his body language instantly change. “First of all, you should know that the woman your friend is hitting on, is my mother.” He pulled back, removing his elbows from the table. “Secondly, you’re old enough to be my father, and your wife my mother. But most important, I’d like you to know that I wouldn’t do business with you if I was starving to death…much less let someone as disgusting as you pick me up.”
I watched with great pleasure as he scuttled away, his khakis pinched between his uptight butt crack.
Consistent with most of the outings I had experienced with my mother, things didn’t end well. Not for Mr. Leed or anyone else. The limo driver left us, not willing to compete for my mother’s attention. I called a friend to pick me up, tired of the whole, disgusting game. As for my mother, she took a taxi cab home…along with the driver.
As Boy George aptly said in the song “Karma Chameleon,” Every day is like survival.
And with my mother, that was most definitely the truth.