I am a genius at time-management. I am like clockwork. I can navigate through the streets of Manhattan with a native ease that lesser beings would describe as Godly.
These were just a few of the praises I was heaping on myself as my Mother and I sat down for a well deserved lunch at our favorite spot, Alice’s Teacup. Already that day we had worked out and audited a business management course at our culinary school. We had shopped successfully for some beautiful victory clothes for my Mother and we had discovered the grocery gem, Eli Zabar. I mean, we were cruisin’. And the weather felt like Spring!
It was one of those glorious moments where New Yorkers began to emerge from the protective cocoons of their down jackets and actually feel sun on their limbs. I mean, it was just gorgeous and we were revelling in our success.
Ordering our tea, we went fruity with a ginger-peach black tea, was just a delight. Then the scones…oh, I may be drooling here and I don’t know if it’s envy or really just awe, but these scones were awesome or as my Mother now says “they murder me.” This phrase is now the tantamount compliment she can prescribe to an item.
So as the buttermilk scones, fresh out of the oven, were clutched in our palms and as we whispered our dreams, it seemed like time had just slowed down. Which is mildly appropriate as we were in a teashop which pays homage to Alice and her journey throughout Wonderland with wall murals to commemorate key moments and storybook illustrations. So maybe it wasn’t my fault as I crammed pumpkin scones with clotted cream and fresh raspberry jam into my gob. Maybe I was in my own little wonderland with toast butterflies and drug-addict caterpillars.
And as I dreamily ate my scone and our soup and salads arrived, I just slightly removed myself from this fairy-tale lull to glance at my watch.
“Holy Crap!” like the white rabbit I was clutching my time piece and spouting “I’m late! I’m late!” I had somehow mismanaged our time and I now had twenty minutes to navigate from the Upper East Side to Wall Street, drop my mother off at Penn Station, dress in a tux, and start catering for one of the few companies that still books me. (Which I have to give them credit for because I did arrive at the last wedding without pants…my boss was very understanding).
My Mom was kindly trying to reassure me with offers of a cab, as I was going back and forth between apologies, panic attacks, and stuffing a little more food in my mouth. A slurp of soup…”I’m late, I’m going to get fired! I’ll be homeless!!!!”…an apology to my Mother for disrupting her lunch…a bite of a sandwich. Let’s just say, it was kind of messy.
So in my moments of clear thinking (probably between the bite of scone and the breath it took me to cry out about our tardiness) I devised that we would run for it. That’s right, my Mother, her three bags (one as heavy and as large as a mini pittbull), me, and my trusty overflowing backpack were going to make a run for the nearest subway.
I dashed ahead, clearing pedestrians with the swish of my doggie bag as my Mother kept stride at my heels. I kept glancing back and thanked my lucky stars that she chosen neon lime green for all of her clothing today because she stuck out like a frat boy in Chelsea. Which is to say, she was visible!
We made it to the subway, huffing from the weight of our luggage and the ever pressing weight of the scones on our stomachs. And there was the train! I ran! I didn’t see my Mother. So I planted myself in the subway door with my large bags and the smell of an English breakfast permeating my clothes and I held my ground. The conductor hurled insults at me and tried to squeeze me to death with the doors. I held my ground. The business men around me glowered and babies frowned but by God I HELD MY GROUND. Then from the distance I saw a green blur hurling itself at me…MOTHER! Like an additional scene from “Shrek,” there she was in slow motion racing towards me. She leapt on the car; the doors closed.
Sweating, my once fine-tuned makeup all awry, we held each other to try not to fall as the train lurched forward. My Mother’s face was alight with guilt and glee as she told me of the Father and Daughter out for a nice chunk of bonding time that she told to “MOVE OUT OF THE WAY” as she was entering the turnstile. And as we snickered over their unfortune for running into us, I just knew: My Mother is becoming a New Yorker. I held back tears of pride. We had made it.