In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share a little story that highlights the love my mother has for me and the hilarious absurdity that her love sometimes manifests.
Mom has been gripped by swine flu, or rather she has been gripped the paralyzing fear that this virus induces and this fear is subsequently aggravated by the news media. Since the reports of a pandemic epidemic came out, she has called me every single night with the latest updates gleaned from the Chinese newspapers she reads. It’s not that she doesn’t pay attention to Western media, it’s just that she believes Chinese media is better informed. In her eyes, Western outlets like the AP, or even the local news stations merely gloss over information, leaving the populace ill equipped to deal with these sorts of dangers.
So she calls me every night without fail to caution me against going places that might be crowded. Actually, she cautions me against going outside at all. There might be a box of N-95 masks headed my way this week if dad makes it out to the post office. No, I definitely did not tell her I was in NYC last week when swine flu hysteria was raging. Both our sanities are at stake here.
Anyways, last week mom calls me, and it’s about midnight EST and I’m half asleep but wide awake and perky when I answer her 9pm PST call. And here’s how the conversation went – all in mandarin of course.
Mom: Mei mei ah, I saw this newspaper article on how to protect yourself from swine flu and I would send it to you but, it’s so sad you don’t know how to read Chinese. It’s too bad.. (she continues to lament at this point).
Me: It’s okay, I’ve been reading the news. I’ll be fine. Have to go now, I’m about to go to bed.
Mom: Why? Are you okay?
Me: (oops) Um, yeah, I just got up early today. (can’t believe she bought that one)
Mom: Okay well the article provided an English language website where you can find information. You need to go online and read it. No one else knows about this. You know, the English news, they don’t tell you about these sources. Only Chinese newspapers. They go into so much more detail. It’s very important. People don’t know about this source! Promise me you’ll go read it.
Me: I promise, just give me the site address. (clearly, I have no intention of writing it down in the dark and with no pen).
Mom: You ready? Okay. www…
Me: uh huh, www… and then?
Mom: (spells it all out) http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu
I love you mom. Happy Mother’s Day!