My roommate; I love her. Like me, she’s totally upfront, pointing out the obvious, and at this moment the obvious seemed to be that my mother was pimping me out to some dead carpenter. Great.
“Well…. noooo… I mean….. ahhhhhh. uh….. yeah. I guess he is,” was all I could muster in response, because the fact of the matter is, somehow my “recovering Catholic” mother has lapsed into pop-Catholicism and, in a drive to get her daughter off the goddamn shelf, tasked ol’ dead Joe with getting me hitched.
Allow me to explain this here biblical turnaround: It has to do with the house.
My parents live in a simple, yet beautiful A-frame, hardwood-floored, cathedral-ceilinged house at the end of a dirt road in the middle of the woods in upstate New York. It’s surrounded by trees and has big deck and lots of scary wild animals and, as my father is mere months from retirement, they are trying to unload the thing because, quite frankly, it’s too goddamned much work.
In an attempt to sell the thing in an area where the average selling price is many thousands below what they’re asking for (although most structures in that area also tend to also come with, ah, wheels…) my mother took herself off to the Catholic tchotchke store because someone told her St. Joseph is the seller of houses.
And wouldn’t you know it, at the churchy tchotchke store, when my mom inquired about the statue the woman responded, “Oh, you’re trying to sell your house,” thus sending my mother into near-biblical (en)light(enment).
But there’s a hitch: you gotta’ stick Joey upside down in the ground near the road facing out. Simple enough. A little work with a garden tool and voila, he’s ready to do his thing.
Except, for the failed Catholic who only goes to church when someone dies or is born, some things don’t always go as planned.
Upon walking one of the dogs the next morning my mother was horrified to discover that Joe had managed to spontaneously unearth himself and was laying, rather accusatorily, by the side of the drive.
And that, my friends, is the kiss of death, because there is nothing more deep seated and ingrained in any Catholic, practicing or hiding in the coffee shop on Sunday mornings behind the heretical New York Times, than guilt. Without the guilt half the shit that goes on behind the gilt doors and holy water would never fly, and it is the guilt that will inevitably see us on our deathbeds calling for the last rites “just in case.”
I told her to get over it, stick him back in there, only this time put a big rock on top of him until he’s done his job. (Can you guess who never paid attention in Catholic school and therefore is doomed to hell?) She, however, was naturally spooked, and took him inside, cleaned him off and placed him on the windowsill.
And that’s when the pimping began. Seems they’ve developed a real relationship, my mother and St. Pimpalot, chatting as she washes dishes, cooks some food or just hangs around.
Because, you see, in addition to being a divine real estate agent, Joe’s also the protector of families, and who needs better protecting than the stray 34-year-old wild child who really just needs to settle down so she and my father can die peacefully knowing that I will not wind up on the streets surrounded by trash and feral cats, begging for change so I can get my caffeine fix. (See? The guilt…)
So now, what do I do? If I date someone, not only will that further convince her that Divine Master Pimp is working, it might just send my post-hippie no nonsense pro-drugs (but only things like pot and cigarettes), -choice and -premarital sex mother back to the pews.
And, even worse, this could potentially lock me into a relationship with the first sucker I’m silly enough to admit to seeing, thus forcing my (non-existent) love life underground. Or, even worse, could keep me from ever dating again because, well, who can go on with that sort of pressure and besides, I’d be afraid he’d be, you know, watching all the time….