On an Astoria-bound N train at 10:35 am on a Monday morning:
She was probably around 65 years old but she could’ve been a reanimated mummy. Skin so wrinkled and hardened, her face was like a walnut tucked into a shawl, albeit a colorful shawl, because nothing else would flatter the single tooth in her head more. Her happiness was obvious – untouchable, even. Who knows if it had something to do with her demeanor or perhaps she was just happy being with her unemployed-looking son. I assume he was unemployed because he was wearing a hoodie with cannabis leaves stamped all over it and he was doting on his toddler with the expertise of a nanny, especially when he snapped an elastic headband on the child’s head.
Because they appeared Indian, I was tempted to ask him if he knew the botanical significance the hoodie was promoting but then decided not to, because Hell, that could be the reason his mother looked so full of bliss. After all, weed isn’t restricted to those dressed in reggae regalia. If Harold and Kumar could show that Asians make hip and geeky potheads, why not mummy granny?
So, she may have been high, but she sat with an expression that was more than stoned – it was beyond cheerful, beyond peace. As if she knew all there is to know about everything and didn’t give two chickpeas whether it was true or not. She could care less that her son dressed like an Indian Joey Buttafuoco, that her grandchild looked like a boy with a blue-flowered headband. Even the single decaying tooth in her head was ready to fall out any day – so what? Pudding. The only other person who may or may not be high and this happy is Gary Busey (I’m gonna have to put that werewolf movie he was in on our Netflix queue – I think it was called Silver Bullet? Or had something to do with a silver bullet – or I may be having a Gary Busey moment here…).
The point is, never in my life, had I ever looked upon such a weathered and ancient soul and saw it as a goal. I sincerely thought – could I have that? Could I grow that old and aesthetically-not-giving-a-shit and obtain that shell of immunity? Of course, I might stick with lotion because I really hate being itchy, but all the other solvents – would be thrown out the window. Forget deodorant and shampoo – fuck Fluoride and teeth whiteners. What kind of person meets a friend for lunch and compares her teeth to the whiteness of a napkin because her “friend” told her to? The same kind of dumbass who asks if her teeth are white enough!
Actually, I could be that dumbass but I’m lucky that my friends don’t offer Rachel Ray solutions at the tip of their fingers. If I said aloud, “My eczema is flaring up,” Rachel Ray disciples would suggest a homemade remedy along the lines of olive oil and squirrel feces, but ask any one of my best friends and they’d suggest I try weed in any obtainable form, because obviously, my problem is that I’ve stopped drinking beer – another side effect of chemo, apparently.
My husband has even offered to make me Funny Brownies, but considering how much the boys love brownies, it seems like a dysfunctional-family-sitcom-episode waiting to happen. On the other hand, it could be an experience of a lifetime. Something I could look back on in another twenty-years. And I’d smile through every thirsty pore in my aging face, riding on a Queens bound N train with my fully grown weirdos.