"So have you started dating?"
"Oh, no - I mean, I've had people try to set me up, and I've had a couple of people ask me to lunch, but I'm not going there yet."
"Ah. Well, you are going to soon."
"I don't know. I've got a lot on my plate. Moving, interrogatories, being a mom with two kids starting school - I think that is enough for now."
"Sooner or later it's going to happen. I guaran-damn-tee there are a bunch of thirty-something men in this town fixing their hair, getting into shape, and trying to look their best. Word is on the street. Gizabeth is single. I guarantee it."
Mom and I laughed pretty hard at that one. Mom said, "See, don't you miss having Matt around?"
"Well, he sure makes me feel good." That's what brothers are for.
"I don't know Matt, being single feels so good - I am enjoying being selfish. Doing whatever the hell I want on my free weekends - movie nights with Laurie and Padma, reading in bed until 1:00 a.m. I'm not sure if I'll ever be ready to go there. It takes some time to unravel from a 13 year marriage and my head is still not quite straight."
"Well that's the thing, sis. You don't have to ever compromise yourself again. You are in control. You are in the driver's seat. When you start to date, never let someone drive you on a first, second, or even third date. Always take your own car, and leave when it is over. At the first sign of any weirdness, cut off all contact. A lot of my friends set up dating e-mail addresses - they don't even give out their phone number until the second or third date so they don't get crazy texts and phone calls. If the girl starts getting weird on them they just close out the account." Wow. That sounds complex. I can barely keep up with my three e-mail addresses, much less establish a bunch of dating ones.
Mom said, "Yeah! You could get your own dating phone." That might get expensive. Dad said, "You could create a Facebook account just for dating." Mom retorted to Dad, "But if she had her own Facebook dating page, it might look a little weird."
"Yeah, Dad, it would be strange if I only had one friend. They might get suspicious." Mom said, "You would look like a serial killer." Now that might not be such a bad thing, I thought. It would weed out the faint at heart.
Then Mom said, "Well, before you even think about dating," (who is thinking about dating, here? Mom, Dad, and Matt. Not me) "You need to get your sunglasses fixed."
I laughed. "Mom, you have to tell Matt that story. It was so funny. Remember Dad, about a month ago, when Sicily accidentally popped the lens out of my sunglass frame?"
She was dancing with Jack while Dad and I were cooking - Mom was out of town. She came over and held out the broken sunglasses with tears in her eyes. "Mom, I'm so sorry! I just flung my hand and it flew out. I know how much you like these - you just got them and I broke them!"
I was so shocked that the thought of breaking something I liked had moved Sicily to tears that I put the glasses on the counter and enveloped her in a big hug. "Don't worry, Sicily! I'll bet Grandpa can fix them. If he can't, who cares? You are way more important than any sunglasses."
The lens developed a tendency to pop out at odd moments, every other week. The most notable time was when I was off work and Mom and I took Jack to Mid-America Museum in Hot Springs. He had never been, and it had been at least 20 years since I had. There was this exhibit where you could crawl down into a worm-hole tunnel and the adults could watch the kids go through on a camera. He wanted to go so bad, but was scared. I told him I would go with him, but backed out pretty quickly when I realized that sheer physics would prevent my 5'10" body from angling down into the worm-hole to get through. When Jack realized I wasn't close behind, he quickly backed out. "Mom, aren't you coming?"
"Sorry Jack, I don't think I can make it down into that tunnel. I am just too big."
He looked so sad and I had planned this day for a long time, just for him, so I relented. "OK, Jack. I'm right behind you."
I struggled down into the hole and he was way ahead of me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I was in the dark tunnel I could crawl on all fours, but quickly yanked my shirt down realizing I was probably flashing the world on the camera with my underwear peeking out from my shorts. Jack was already down the plastic slide waiting for me when I reached the end of the tunnel, and I was hindering a nimble group of small children waiting behind me. The angle coming up from the tunnel was even more precarious than the one going down, and I struggled for a long time grasping the smooth plastic and trying to get leverage with a cramped leg. Just as I emerged, completely disheveled, my sunglasses (they were acting as a headband) hit the top of the tunnel and the lens popped out and rolled down the plastic slide. My one-lensed sunglasses fell at an awkward angle onto my face. I looked at my Mom and she didn't stop laughing for a minute or so. I made my way down the slide headfirst and grabbed my lens, then scooted out of the way for the other kids and rested on the floor for a minute, completely spent. When Mom finally recovered, she lamented over and over that she didn't think to snap a picture.
Matt and Dad laughed at the story. I told Mom, "I think I finally fixed them. I was determined last week when they popped out at my cousin's birthday party in front of a doctor and his socialite wife. I wasn't really embarrassed, but I decided I needed to try to fix them properly because it was all getting a little ridiculous."
So I guess my sunglasses are ready for a date. But not me. I've got to establish a new alias, with her own e-mail, phone, and Facebook account. Sounds daunting. I was never good at dating before - but this advice and decade are taking things to a whole new level. I think I'll just keep up with my girlfriends for now. Hard to beat Inception in Imax, and Laurie's tomato and basil pizza, grilled shrimp, and homemade ice cream. She, Padma and I had a blast Saturday night in Morgan, and I can't wait to plan the next movie night. Ramona and I had to bury our medical museum plans since the next three on our list are only open on weekdays, but she has new plans to check out a suspension bridge in Lake Village, and I can't wait for that outing. There is so much to do besides dating.