Disasters R Us

I have inherited many traits from my mother. Her cheekbones, her profile, her hands, the way we both run a finger over our bottom lip when we're reading.

There is one trademark, or tendency though, that I wish I had not inherited. This is my mother's ability to see doom and disaster around every corner.

I haven't yet reached my full potential yet in this regard. For example, if someone is supposed to arrive at my mother's home and they are, say, 20 minutes late, the doominator appears.

"Oh my God, what if there's been an accident? What if they're lying unconscious on the side of the road? We'd better start calling the hospitals."

The rest of us cough, ahem, and then dare to suggest that perhaps they're just stuck in traffic or running late. Only when the people themselves walk through the door will Mom be convinced they're not dead.

I laughed at my mom's doom day prophecies, until my husband pointed out I'm just as bad. To wit, we will go hiking in the mountains. The last time we were there, we reached a summit and were sitting on a rock cliff, enjoying the view. A family with a nine-year old, a five-year old, and a dog appeared behind us. The nine-year old bounced (as 9-year olds do) over to the edge. "Cool!" he exclaimed. His dad was right behind him, hand on his shoulder, and they really weren't all that close to the edge.

That didn't stop me from being able to see, literally see, this small boy toppling over the edge to his death. Anything could happen. His foot could slip, there could be some moss, he could throw a rock too hard and hurl himself accidentally over the edge on the follow-through to his throw. Dear God, why, WHY wasn't the Dad moving him back from the edge??? What was the matter with these people?!

My husband glanced over at me. "He'll be fine," he said, taking a bite of his sandwich. "His dad's with him. Stop holding your breath."

I gave a big exhale. Then froze in terror. The dog (no puppy, no!) was sniffing around the rock. He was a small dog and there were falcons out. What if one grabbed him? Or what if a squirrel appeared and the dog raced after it, only to realize too late that the cliff ran out? Then the family was going to have to watch their beloved white puppy go splat. Nice.

"I'm calling the humane society," I mutter.

My husband raised his eyebrows. "To report what? The nice family that included their dog on their family outing?"

"No," I said through clenched teeth. "To report their blatant disregard for the well-being of their dog." We both looked at the dog. He was sniffing a butterfly on a rock and looked very happy.

"He looks very happy to me," said my husband.

"Sure, he's fine now," I countered. "But wait until that butterfly takes off and the force of its wings beating blow the puppy off the cliff."

"Right," said my husband, gathering our things. "Time to go."

My mom and I feed off each other. When I called to tell her about the snarling thing in the wall, her first comment was, "Uh-oh. Are you sure one of your cats didn't get in there with it?" Now, bear in mind our home is completely plastered and the inner walls sealed off. There is no way one of our cats could get inside the walls. But that didn't stop me from conducting a frantic search of the house, panting and terrified until I located both cats napping in the sun and looking at me like I was insane when I burst upon them.

I told my husband what had happened. He looked at me and asked, "Well what did you expect? Why in the world would you tell your mother there is some creature in our walls? You're lucky you didn't kill her with that information."

Maybe so. But it's comforting to know there is one other person out there who not only is as crazy as I am, but who made me the nut case I am today.

I love you, Mom.