In which my mother is silly.
Sometimes I wonder if my mom really “gets” the whole IM thing. Here’s what happened today…
Mom: How’s your writing calendar going?
me: enh, it’s going ok. Not great. But kinda ok.
Mom: I know how hard it is to accomplish something without encouragement (and servants).
me: where does one get servants these days, anyway?
Mom: I think you might have to send away for a kit . . . Oddly enough, when we lived in North Carolina, we had friends whose adult son was a butler. How you learn to buttle, and how you find a job, I don’t know.
maybe you can train in England?
Mom: How much is 9,500 pounds sterling?
me: 9500 British pounds sterling = 15106.9000 US dollars
Mom: $15,000 for a four-week course?! Gawd, you could go to Harvard for that!
me: not for 4 weeks, probably. Maybe the butler place has financial aid.
Mom: I’d be happy with a “cleaning lady” twice a month. Or is that “char”? Weekends you make yourself bacon sandwiches, like all the other bachelors and “old maids.”
me: mmmmm, bacon.
Mom: If “the woman” remembers to order it and the “butcher’s boy” remembers to “bring it ’round.” And if you’re a particularly genteel sort of spinster, you eat cucumber rather than bacon sandwiches. Sliced thin, of course.
me: that’s tasty too. I bet it’s even tastier if you put bacon in the cuke sandwich.
just a guess.
Mom: Well, not being all that genteel myself, I’d say, “Gimme bacon.” Though I do like a nice cucumber sandwich with a cup of tea. The standard, I read somewhere, is that the cucumber should be sliced thin enough that you can read a headline of the Times through it.
me: for that, you need a nice sharp knife.
Mom: And a steady hand.
me: … which can later be used to stab Sir Worthington-Worthington on the Turkey carpet in the billiard room.
Mom: Unless you’d rather use the antique dagger of Oriental design (to go with the carpet, you know).
me: but of course. or some arsenic in the tea
Mom: But what would he be doing in the billiard room clutching a bacon and cucumber sandwich in his cold dead hand?
me: no, he drank the tea in there. Without the sandwich. Or else he started eating the sandwich and then was wandering around because he is notably absent-minded.
Mom: But perhaps it was the sandwich that was poisoned. After all, there was a bite taken out of it. And perhaps the poisoned sandwich wasn’t meant for him at all. After all, in his fogginess he was often seen picking up food from someone else’s plate.
me: right! see! but the maid was sick so the charwoman had to help carry the sandwiches, and everyone knows Sir W-W threw her husband off his (Sir W-W’s) land. Devious!
Mom: And just what sickened the maid, hmmm?
me: she CLAIMS it was indigestion…
which she only came down with after cleaning up after the drinking party that occurred very late last night with Sir W-W and the other guests of the house, at which there was shouting…
Mom: Has anyone checked up on her in her attic bedroom to see if she’s still alive? After all, considering what she overheard last night . . .
me: Everyone’s too busy casting accusatory glares at each other over a cold breakfast, for which no one seems to have much appetite.
Mom: A breakfast hastily put together by the butler, who has been fortifying himself in his pantry with very old crusty port, because Cook is having palpitations and simply cannot cope.
me: … and the scullery-maid’s hysterics ensure that nothing is in its proper place in the kitchen this morning…
One of the guests has offered coffee to the local inspector in the drawing room, which is slowly going cold as he gives himself a headache talking to the guests.
Mom: Misplaced modifier there; it’s the coffee, not the drawing room, that’s slowly going cold.
me: yeah, I got there eventually but it was too late
Mom: Unless it is, because the maid (who may or may not still be alive) didn’t lay the drawing room fire this morning.
me: YES. ha.
[we were both at work.]
#2 : My IM conversations with my mom are not quite this literary. She says, “Oh ho ho ho” a lot when I make bad puns. My mom’s writing is more Booth Tarkington/Laura Ingalls Wilder and less, I dunno, Patrick Dennis? Sayers? Wodehouse? I guess I’m trying to say our conversations are more midwest America and less New/Old England.
Um… discussion question… Do you have fun IM conversations with your relatives?