Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Here's a classic for you

I shared this with my coworker, Betsy, for the first time the other day and she enjoyed it. It's been a while since I shared it so I figured I'd post it here.

My most embarrassing moment to date. It's been many years and it still stands strong!

My mom is the administrator for a type of welfare to work program. She doesn't always deal with the best people and she used to come home with horror stories about which student's baby's daddy got past security and beat the shit out of the student before the police came, she has had money stolen, been threatened, etc.

My mom also fosters a really bad habit of speaking to me on the phone up to 4 times a day while we are both at our respective jobs. So, to call her at work is nothing - plus, she's the boss there.

One day, I call her at work and she was so short on the phone with me. Usually, she keeps me on the phone a lot longer than I hope, yet she really seemed like she was trying to get me off the phone that day - one word answers, very hurried with no explanation.

A tad bit more background....we were raised to be alarmists. My grandmother hit the deck at the grocery store once when someone dropped a glass bottle of ketchup, screaming, "They're shooting! Get down!!!!" My mom taught us to look for little nooks and crannies at the airport where we could hide if random terrorists just start shooting. I am a cautious person and never really took on the level of alarm they tried to instill in us, but those thoughts are always in the back of my head.

Anyway, back to being on the phone with my mom who was acting so strangely. The week before, a student's boyfriend had come in and roughed up the student and, when my mom called the cops on him, he threatened her saying, "I am going to get you, bitch" etc.

So, after my mom rushed me to hang up the phone without even paying attention to what I was saying, I thought about it for a minute and I called her back.

Me: "Mom, are you being held hostage?"
Mom: "Yes."
Me: "You ARE being held hostage, oh my God."
Mom: "Yes. I have to go now." She said this all sing-songy, of course, she was trying to let her captors know she was going along with them while giving me the hint that nothing was right.
Me: "Let me get this straight. You. Are. Being. Held. Hostage?"
Mom: "Yes, I will speak with you later."
Click - she hung up.

Immediately, I called 911 and asked for the City of Pittsburgh. I got in touch with the appropriate agency and repeated the threats my mom received the week prior and the cryptic message she was trying to get to me over the phone.

As I spoke to the dispatcher, I started picturing the certain hell that my mom was currently enduring and I started to really lose it. They were probably pushing her around, maybe pistol whipping her about the face and head, screaming obcenities and scaring her! The dispatcher tried to calm me, but the ridiculous sobbing came. She put me in touch with the Chief of the next municipality whose guys were also going on the raid to my mother's place of business. He kept trying to reassure me that they would rescue my mom and he would not let anything happen to her.

Eventually, things started to happen, so he took my number and told me he would have to call me back.

I waited and waited - it was excruciating. I was out of control, shaking and sobbing. I couldn't even call my father to update him on my mom.

The phone rings and I pick it up. This is how that conversation goes:

Me: "Chief?"
Mom: "NO, it is NOT the Chief, Joelene! What the hell are you doing? I am in a meeting with the President of the college and the damn SWAT team busts into the room, guns drawn, riot gear on! What the is going on???"
Me: "Wha, huh? You're ok? Oh, Mom, I was so scared!"
Mom: "What are you talking about? What were you scar..."
LONG PAUSE
Mom: "Oh my God. I told you I was being held hostage - like I am in a meeting being 'held hostage'."
Me: "Buh, but I asked you a bunch of times. You said yes, you were being held hostage! I thought that _______'s boyfriend came back with a gun!" Uncontrollable sobbing ensues.
Mom: "I can't believe this. I have to go explain this mess. Go take an Ativan - I will call you later."

That's exactly what I did. Well, after I hung up with the Chief who called to let me know that my mom was, in fact, ok and that it was all a misunderstanding.

The Chief also reprimanded my mom pretty well for yelling at me. I guess she expressed her anger with me to him and he read her the riot act, telling her that I did the right thing and she should come home, apologize to me, and give me a big hug.

At our wedding, we had those guest book pages that ask for the guest's "favorite bride or groom memory". Every single person who works with my mom wrote, "When Joelene called the SWAT team because Cathy was being 'held hostage' in a meeting."

To add insult to injury, the Chief told my mom to come home and comfort me and not yell at me because I did the right thing, she was to blame, blah blah blah...

He then said, "She was really upset. How old is your little girl anyway? About 10 or 11?"

I was 19 when that happened.

Mortifying.

5 comments:

Laureen said...

I was literally on the floor laughing. You have got to send this to a magazine! Your way of writing is so vivid, you are a great story teller. I am so glad I popped in on your blog today, it really made my day :)

Beth, Dave and Cori said...

OMG, is it wrong that I am almost peeing my pants laughing?!?! You are hysterical!

Michelle said...

Funniest. story. EVER.

Life as a Beach said...

I can't stop laughing!

Momma Miller said...

I was laughing so hard I was crying. Oh. My. Goodness! I've gotta send this to my mom!