My sweet Southern genteel Mom, and if you have ever met her you know she is exactly that, is hard of hearing. Practically deaf. And, she doesn’t like to wear hearing aids. She owns them, but won’t wear them consistently. Instead she attempts lip reading resulting in mysterious interpretations of what she thinks you have said. Another notable trait about Mom is her, ahem, “assets”. Her assets require double alphabet letters to describe them….several letters into the alphabet.
When I was a second year law school student and was stressed out studying for the one and only final per class in December, Mom convinced me to stop studying and go with her to the newly opened Dillard’s. Big deal, you say. Yes, big deal. Dillard’s, or so Mom had heard, had an expansive undergarment department and somewhere within that store she would find the perfect fitting garment for her assets ….duly supportive with appropriate coverage and no offending straps that dug into the shoulders. (I rely on her for such information as my assets are not so worthy of description nor effort.) I had come to realize over the years that her belief that the perfect shape wear was out there somewhere was like believing Sasquatch was just behind the next tree.
We entered the Promised Land and parted ways. She went to the Holy Grail of underwire while I crossed the aisle into sleepwear. I found a pair of pajamas I liked. I hadn’t really been interested in this shopping trip, but it was Christmas and maybe she would get these as a gift for me? So, I held them up from the across the aisle and said hopefully “Mom, look at these?” Mom, from across the store yelled, as a person who is hard of hearing will do because they can’t determine their own volume….”OH, I NEVER WEAR ANYTHING WITH A CROTCH IN IT AT NIGHT!”
Say WHAT? I practically grew wings to cross that aisle. The entire department became eerily quiet and the entire Christmas season came to a dead standstill. Mothers covered the ears of their small children. Male patrons gazed admiringly at my Mother. Salesladies pretended to be busy straightening. The Elves were checking the list to see if my Mother was naughty or nice.
The Fahrenheit scale could not sufficiently measure the radiating heat from my cheeks and neck. Frantically, I asked “why did you say that??” Mom, as innocent as she is sweet, said “Didn’t you ask me would you like these? Because, I like nightgowns. I don’t like pajamas that get all twisted up on my legs.”
I pretended as we strode out of Dillard’s that people were whispering only about how lovely it was to see a Mother and daughter shopping together. If only I could have been deaf then and there.