Sometimes your parents need a little, aaahhh, parenting. My mom is a busy senior. She maintains two homes, has loads of friends, goes boating, golfs, walks, goes to concerts, likes to read, watch movies, etc. This last year she even got into the internet, learning to do email and surf the web. That was more about keeping up with her friends – because they were all doing it – than really having an interest herself.
Just recently, Mom lost her common sense. She might have chalked it up to a “senior moment” as she calls them, but it was more than that. The four of us, my brother and I along with our partners, had to pull out
a baseball bat our common sense cards and beat deal my mother a hand. See, mom has been corresponding with men on the internet in hopes of meeting someone with common interests to hang out with. No problem there, right? Lots of people do it. She uses a reputable national service and it’s fun for her.
Two days ago, Mom tells me that she will be meeting “Joe.” They’ve been corresponding for a while now and chatting on the phone. Joe is from the mid-west and has never been to this area, so they decided he would come here. She’s all excited about meeting him and had told her friend Lucy about his impending arrival. Lucy asked her where Joe would be staying. Doh. Mom hadn’t thought about that, and she and Joe had never discussed it. It seemed they both just assumed he would stay with my mom. Lucy told her she should think twice about that.
Mom phones us to solicit our advice. We went through the “only meet strangers in public places and only after you inform someone where you are going” rule. Then we discussed the appropriateness of having a man you’ve never met stay in your house, even though it was separate bedrooms. (Mom’s not like that.) “You know, he could be an axe murderer,” we said. Perhaps we were being a bit alarmist. “Lots of sick people on the internet, you never know.” At that point she decided she would get a hotel room for Joe and simply explain to him that she didn’t feel comfortable having him stay at her house, and apologize for not discussing the situation with him earlier.
Later, she called my brother and his girlfriend to see what they would say. Of course, their reaction was similar but they piled on the biggest deterrent: What kind of an impression do you want to make? How classy is it put him up in your dinky spare room on that crappy little bed? What would you think of him if he did that to you? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate if you got him a nice hotel room where he can be comfortable? If he’s a gentlemen he won’t mind and he should pay for the room himself. (Even though my mother felt she should provide the hospitality.) So, she contacted all the hotels closest to her and none had rooms. Finally, she found one a little further away – very nice rooms, fairly expensive.
It seems Joe was fine with the arrangements, although I don’t know the details of her approach. But, she must have jokingly blamed it on us, telling him what we’d said about his being a potential axe murderer. When she brought him over to meet me tonight he said “I’ll shake your hand… as soon as I wash the blood from the axe off.” He was a good natured guy, very nice. I didn’t get the impression he was poser, a user or insincere in any way. Probably, he was everything he told my mother he was. Still, and he could have been tired, but he has strange eyes…