Entry 198: Happy Birthday, Mom

My mom is 85 years old today, and she’s as sharp as she ever was, which she would IMG_1835probably recognize as an insult.

One of the amazing things about mom is that she has lived her entire life in a total of four apartments, none of which was larger than two bedrooms.

According to a statistic I found online, about 75% of the U.S population moves on average every five years. By that calculation, mom should be in her 17th residence now, although she’d probably still be trying to use the phone number from the 15th.

By contrast, I’m going to be 59 next month and the house I’m in now is my 12th residence, which comes out to an average of moving once every 4.91 years, which means I’m pretty much your average American, except that I don’t have two or more children and I don’t favor spanking my children, although I might if I had two or more of them.*

Where was I?

Right, my residences. Here’s the thing: if you take into consideration that I lived in one of those residences for 25 years and one for 14, it means that, otherwise, I’ve moved every other year, which means that I’ve mostly treated homes like cell phones.

On the other hand, when my mother puts down roots, she digs deep.  Fortunately, she has always lived in first floor apartments, so her roots never went through anyone’s living room.

I can understand staying in one place. I just don’t see how you can do it in places that small. She spent about 30 years in a single two-bedroom, one bath apartment, and most of that time there were two other people and a dog living there, too. I don’t care how much you love your family; it just can’t be possible to live in such close proximity to other people, in the same space, for that long, and stay sane.

Oh, right.

I’m not saying that mom is certifiable, but she’s not that many credits short of her certificate. I’d like to say that her, um, eccentricities have appeared only as she’s gotten older, but, the truth is, she’s always had as many neuroses as People magazine has Kardashians.

Now she lives alone in Ft. Lauderdale, in an apartment with a patio that’s in the parking lot. I don’t mean overlooking the parking lot; it’s actually in the parking lot. You can walk from your car directly onto her patio.

She likes her solitude, but she has plenty of people to talk to, although most of them are non-existent. I have been in her apartment, trying to take a nap, as she carried on a running conversation with absolutely no one. She claims she’s talking to my father, but since he’s been dead for eight years, that’s not exactly a testimonial to her mental health.

Maybe she wouldn’t be talking to herself if she had moved more often, or at least spent some time in a bigger place.

But I doubt it.

See you soon, and happy birthday, mom. Love you!

*According to The New Strategist, 69% of Americans think it’s okay to spank their children if necessary. It doesn’t define “necessary,” though, and it doesn’t say what Americans think about spanking other people’s children when they’re crying in restaurants.

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