Laughing all the way — Pedal faster! And provide TMI!

August 7, 2015

By Pat Detmer

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NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 7, 2015

On July 8, I turned 65. I made my usual trip to the Y and headed to an elliptical machine, deciding  to commemorate the first time that I put my new age into the program by taking a picture of it. I punched it in and started moving, but looking through the phone viewfinder, I realized that I was bouncing up and down too much, so I stopped. By the time I focused and clicked, the message had changed from a benign “65” to a blinking and insistent “Pedal Faster!” in red capital letters. An excellent mantra! I think I’ll have a T-shirt made.

DetmerCartoon 20150800In spite of a busy day of fielding phone calls, reading birthday cards and emails, and party-planning for later in the month, I also took the time to turn into my mother. I’d been avoiding it for years, but in the end, it only took a minute.

As Mother aged, she began to provide far more information than needed to phone solicitors, customer service representatives or any stranger on the street who gave her a quizzical look that signaled they were questioning her actions. Asked for the time, my mother would provide directions for building a 30-hour Bornholm grandfather clock. It drove her daughters crazy. “Mom!” we would cry in youthful indignation, “Nobody cares! Just give them the information!”

By the time of my birthday, I’d let my nasal spray for seasonal allergies run out. I did that deliberately because nothing was blooming due to the heat and lack of rain. But there were forest fires in Alaska, and the smoke was drifting south, making my eyes itchy and teary, so I thought that I’d refill my prescription. They usually ask for 48 hours, although they will rush medication when needed. I called the pharmacy. Here is all that I needed to say:

“I need to fill a prescription and would like to pick it up as soon as possible.”

Pat Detmer

Pat Detmer

But here is what I said:

“Hi! I usually order this online and have it shipped to me, but I’ve let my nasal spray for seasonal allergies run out. I did that deliberately because nothing is blooming due to the heat and lack of rain. But there are forest fires in Alaska, and the smoke is drifting south, making my eyes itchy and teary, so I thought I’d refill my prescription. I know you usually ask for 48 hours, but I wonder if I could get it sooner than that.”

And as my mouth is going blah blah blah yap yap yap, I’m thinking, “What the hell? Shut up! Stop!” After my long-winded soliloquy, a response:

“How about 1 p.m.?”

“That would be just fine,” I replied.

And just like that, I am my mother.

You can reach Pat Detmer — who considers the act of turning into her dearly departed mother to be a reverse birthday gift to her — at patdetmer@aol.com.

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