Vinnie’s mom’s eyes glaze over. She sees herself walking along a deserted beach surrounded by sandpipers. The only sounds are the rhythm of the surf rolling onto the shore and seagulls circling the beach looking for food. Suddenly, she’s transported into the present moment.
“Mom, Mom, Mom,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom travels one-thousand miles in the blink of an eye, “Yes, Vinnie?”
“You’re not paying attention, Mom. Your mind is somewhere else,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom gets indignant, “It is not. I was paying attention.”
“No, Mom. Mrs. Navis says the same thing to me when I get the same look on my face. Where were you?”
“Is this part of the challenge round?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad steals a glance toward Vinnie’s Mom, “I’d like to know. Was I with you wherever you were?”
Vinnie’s mom makes a deep sigh, “If you both must know. I was thinking about dinner and where we should go tonight. I was thinking we’ll go for pizza at Mario’s Sport’s Bar and we can all watch the ballgame while we eat.” Vinnie’s mom immediately regrets her words. She hates sport’s bars. She tired of pizza. And she doesn’t know who’s playing and she doesn’t care who wins. And, she just blew the private date she and Vinnie’s dad agreed to earlier.”
“Wow, Mom. I hate having a baby sitter. This is so cool. This day is already getting better and I didn’t think it could get any better. Can Rupert come? I promise he’ll behave,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom is thinking about seeing a present moment coach. She can’t back out of this one. Her day is like a winter storm when forecaster says, “Hold on, the storms going to get worse before it gets better. I hope there’s plenty of food in fridge.”
Vinnie’s dad says, “Great idea. I’ll invite Mike and Michelle to join us. That’s the bar where they met.”
Vinnie’s mom thinks, ‘Can this day get worse? Yes, it has and there’s no telling how bad it is going to get.”
“Mom doesn’t like Michelle. She thinks she uses too much makeup. Isn’t that what you told Marsha? Dad. Can we invite Larry and his mom. At least I’ll have someone to talk to besides you both,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom wants to deny what Vinnie said, but can’t she knows she said it. She makes a mental note not to be candid with anyone if Vinnie’s awake and then she can’t be sure if he’s sleeping. She says, “Can we get the challenge round over with?”
Vinnie smiles. He says, “Great. Let’s do the challenge round then I’ll invite Larry and his mom.”
Vinnie’s dad raises his hands up, “Hold on, Vinnie. We didn’t agree to inviting Larry and his Mom to Mario’s tonight.”
“But, Dad. You didn’t say no,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom sensing an opportunity for payback, says, “Vinnie makes a point, Dear.”
Vinnie’s dad hearing his words repeated back to him feels as if he’s driving into a cul de sac and has no escape, “I thought you didn’t like Emily.”
Vinnie glances at his Mom. “You don’t like Larry’s mom, Mom? Why? I’m making this the first part of the challenge round, so you have to answer it.”
Vinnie’s mom prays silently, ‘Mary, Mother of God, help me. I’m dying here. I’m trapped in deep pit and they’re tossing dirt on top of me.’ Vinnie’s mom forces a smile, “Of course I like Emily, Vinnie.”
“But Dad said you don’t like Emily. Dad, why did you say Mom didn’t like Emily if she says she likes Emily?”
Vinnie’s dad doesn’t dare glance at Vinnie’s Mom. He can feel her shooting large jagged icicles at him. He says, “Can we take the original question? I was ready to answer it.”
Vinnie says, “I’ll have to talk to Rupert and Dexter about this rule change.”
‘Oh, dear God, I’m at the mercy of a stuffed animal and a beagle,’ mutters Vinnie’s Mom.