only to my mother...
I do not have a mother, I have a smother. My mother knows the particulars of just about every crime ever committed --and stories of every other possible way of meeting a bad end, from choking to death on popcorn to being struck by lightening while standing inside your house in reach of your screendoor and more. She worries. Excessively. She is in a constant state of anxiety that something horrible will happen to one or both of her children. So she calls. In the case of my brother, she drives by. She has been known, and not infrequently mind you, to drive by his house at 2 a.m. if she hasn't been able to reach him to make sure his car is in the driveway and that he is home safe (he often works really late). I have gone out of town without informing her before and, unable to reach me, she has panicked and had the police come by to check on my apartment (and once had the state police out looking for me). Of course, she only goes to the police after she has called every hospital in the state to make sure no one has been admitted fitting my description.
So this past summer when she and my brother came to visit me while I was in Europe my brother and I sat her down and had it out with her: this has to stop. It was not a pretty scene. She cried, wanted to go home, wished she hadn't come. She told us again and again what a dangerous place the world is and that her worry is not misplaced. We told her in turn that the world is not such a dangerous place and to get over it. We felt the guilt but also felt a sense of victory because we extracted a promise from her to stop smothering so much.
Fast-forward two days. Luxembourg. In broad daylight we leave my mother off at a museum to go explore the catacombs and come back to meet up with her two hours later. As we approach the museum we see a large knot of people and several policemen. What on earth? As luck would have it, my mother has managed to run into perhaps the only criminal in the tiny country of Luxembourg. It just figures. She went in and viewed the museum and then came out to sit on a bench in the sun. A young woman came and sat beside her and they had begun to talk when they heard a noise behind them. My mother turned to see what little animal was making such a noise and saw, not a squirrel, chipmunk, or bird but...a naked man. And not just a naked man but a naked man creeping out from under a bush right behind the bench with the definite intent of grabbing at the women on the bench. My mother leaped up and dashed out of his way (she says she never thought she was capable of being so spry) with a shout. He managed to grab the young woman but she was able to wrench her way out of his grasp and also dash to safety. Neither of them spoke French or German and it was some time before they found someone with enough English to understand that there was a naked man in the museum bushes grabbing at unsuspecting female tourists and have the police called. In the meantime the man was able to remove the _business suit_ he had hanging on the branches inside the bush, dress, and run to his moped to make his escape. This could only happen to my mother.
And the timing was just so perfect. Now, whenever we mention that she really shouldn't freak out on us if she can't reach us she just says, "ahem, nekked man?"
And what to say to that?!