Octopus' Garden

Monday, May 15, 2006

TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS WITH MY JAPANESE MOTHER (SPECIAL MOTHER’S DAY EDITION)

JM: [After being reluctantly urged to the phone by my father]. Oh. It you.

AH: Happy Mother’--

JM: [Interrupting me.] You don’t send me any card.

AH: Oh. Gosh. I’m sorry. The card is on it’s way, actually. I put it in my briefcase and accidentally forgot about it during finals week. So it’s coming. But you got the present I sent you, right?

JM: You don’t send card, so card don’t count. Present don’t count either. Don’t bother send card if you can’t send on time.

AH: But I already wrote on the card and sealed it up.

JM: I don’t want it. Keep for next year. Don’t waste money by send late don’t-count card. Make me sick.

AH: Look. I’m sorry about the card. I got really busy this week--

JM: Hello, busy! We all the time here so busy, busy, busy but not too busy to send you card on your birthday. Huh? What you say? Cat got your tongue?

AH: Um . . you’re retired? But your mother’s day present arrived in plenty of time, right? When did you get it?

JM: [Sulkily.] I think maybe come on Wednesday.

AH: And those are the Thornbird DVDs you said you wanted to have, right? Plus I also got The Missing Years for you. Did you start watching them yet?

JM: [Silence].

AH: Hello? Are you still there?

JM: Oh. You talking to me? I thought maybe you talking to your father. You better ask him if he watch DVD or not. Maybe DVD for him. DVD come on Wednesday address to both our name so I think DVD must be for your father. Not to me because don’t have just my name on address. So nothing to do with mother day. So it not count!

AH: Of course the DVDs are for you. Those are the ones you said you wanted. And both of your names were on the address label because you’re programmed into my eBay account as a shipping destination so I can easily have stuff sent directly to you.

JM: Oh blah blah blah you always make such big-lie excuse for self!

AH: [Under breath]. Oh. My. Fucking. God.

JM: What?

AH: Nothing.

JM: Yeah. You better ask God forgive you.

AH: So aside from the card debacle, are you having a nice Mother’s Day?

JM: No!

AH: No?

JM: Just like any other day. No special. No nothing. Nobody do nothing.

AH: [Through gritted teeth.] I sent you DVDs. And now I’m calling you on the phone to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.

JM: No.

AH: Okay. Well . . . would you prefer it if I went back to sending flowers?

JM: I don’t like flower. Just die. Have to spend so much time take care of it. All get hysteria about it, then just die anyway. Big waste of money.

AH: Oh . . . I thought you liked the flowers.

JM: No. I just try to be polite. Don’t want hurt your feelings.

AH: Well, yeah. We wouldn’t want that.

JM: So you better hang up now. You so busy have such busy thing to do.

AH: Well, let me just wish you a Happy Mother’s--

JM: [Click. Hangs up phone on me.]

AH: WTF?
posted by Artichoke Heart at 4:13 PM | link | 8 comments

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

HELLO, HELLO (HOLA!)

I misread my horoscope this morning. What I thought it said: “The leaves on the permission tree outside your door are growing so fast . . .”

Do you have a permission tree? Is it blooming? Do the pale green twigs and buds make a fragrant spring tea? If I agree to read the swirl of tea leaves cast across the bottom of your cup, what will happen next?

How to ripen permission fruit: Place in a brown paper bag to soften in the dry heat of the attic stairs. Nip the tomato-colored skin with your teeth, peel it easily away with your fingers, slip the warm flesh into your mouth.

Paradigmatic Structure:

The permission tree is distinct from other arboreal species by its yes-shaped leaves, ability to decode the rhetorical gestures of the wind, and penchant for attracting brightly-colored lichen.

Syntagmatic Structure:

The permission tree is one of several mythological trees existing in the insufficiently-caffeinated minds of people with wild eyes and disheveled hair. It is ontologically suspect, and, like other ciphers of similar taxonomy, should (probably) be treated with caution. If one should happen to come across this tree in passing, one should (probably) just ignore it and keep walking through it, even though cool leaves brush the hot lump that quietly glows like a coal in your sternum. Never mind the lump. It is only spectral.

Dónde está?

Approach: Ripe persimmons
Avoid: Disguise them in a brown paper bag
Approach: Ripe permissions
Avoid: Hide them in a brown paper bag

(Just give me what I want and no one gets hurt . . .)
posted by Artichoke Heart at 2:41 PM | link | 11 comments