So It Goes

I am turning into my mother.

I haven't told her yet. In truth there have been early signs but lately a whole swag of mannerisms and odd events have kicked in and I have to admit that I am travelling a well worn path that my mother has been on for a long time.

My mother for example tells me that she always wakes up every morning at 3.33am. Well, for me it has always been 3.36am, so clearly we don’t have that in common. Then, suddenly I wake and the time has moved forward to 3.33am. Is this the witching hour? It strikes me as spooky that in a suburb not so far away, my mother too is probably looking at her clock and wondering why this time and why every night?

This alone might prove to be one of those creepy coincidences but there are more.

My mother for example cannot seem to keep her head straight in photographs. She always tilts it to the side. Mind you, she is better in front of a camera than behind one. Put a camera in her hands and most of the subjects in the photograph will not even have heads, tilted or not.

Anyway, I am all too aware of this rare genetic quirk and concentrate hard to keep my head straight when I am in a photo. But no, just before the click, there I go, involuntarily dropping my head left-wards. It's instinctive and impossible to change.

And then there are the wringing hands. My mother does it when she's thinking or telling an especially long story. I dangle mine by my side then clutch them behind my back. But the traitorous digits come together, one hand clasped over another, wringing them as if possessed.

My mother has reached that age where a conversation may be littered with medical references, including telling me about a recent infection. She knew it was coming, she said, because she feels a tingling down her arm. If she hadn't been in full flight with the story, I might have stopped her there. Mine might not be the arm, but I get a tingling under the chin before an infection. Suddenly the creepy coincidence adds a tingly dimension.

The verdict is out on whether these curious characteristics have any value. Perhaps it's a nice way to think about a woman with tingly arms, with wringing hands and a tilted head and who has shaped my life.

- Linda Muller