Once a month Mum and I catch up for lunch. She does this for a few reasons;
1) She is convinced that if it were not for her I'd forget to eat and the police will one day have to lead her to a mortuary so she can identify my decaying corpse.
2) I tell my friends that Mum is a black market weapons dealer and she sometimes has to make midnight journeys with a shipment of AK-47s. The truth is she exports seafood- an occupation that is also fraught with danger and requires a concealed Glock on one's person at all times but it sounds less romantic. The fact remains that I have no idea what country she will be on a week-to-week basis and if we forgo a few meetings I may forget what she looks like since she is Japanese and all Asians looks the same to me.
3) Mum is a bright, happy person but she will not stop talking about her own mortality. Young Fatman, from the age of 6, has been constantly told of his mother's eventual death and that if she were to perish all her worldly goods would go to her cat Cappuccino. Every lunch I have with her May Be Our Last. I feel obligated to therefore order the most expensive meal in the truck stop we find ourselves in.
4) Although I enjoy cooking
I also enjoy burning things down- as the North Melbourne fire department are well aware of. Every time I turn the oven on the terror alert is about the same as that of finding explosives in a football stadium.
5) She knows that I'm always hungry. She could call me at 3 am and I'd still say yes to a light breakfast.
Anyhoo- Mum invites me to lunch at the brand spankin' RACV club on Bourke street. It's a Christmas get together for a whole bunch of Japanese people ( My mother, when not racing around the globe with thermonuclear warheads, is also the president of the Japan Club of Victoria. She was elected to this position in absentia
as she was overseas at the time. She came home to find that she had won by a landslide- the last president having fled the JCV in disgrace, having used a large sum of money for his own personal use and is now facing criminal charges) Now, I know that Japanese people seem smiling and polite in general, but put them in a group and they become like a jury made up of Jewish aunties.
Halfway through the entree and I'm bombarded by annual relative questions: 'How old are you?', 'Why aren't you married and spawning grand kids?', 'What do you do for a living?', 'Is that satisfying?', 'When are you going to get a real job?', 'Oi! Gevalt!'
The only temporary reprieve I get is when one of them asks me if I was a sportsman. The table erupts into laughter. I have a physique of someone who eats chicken drumsticks on the couch all day and struggles to breathe. Not that that physical handicap would hinder real sportsmen
. 'No ma'am' I say, wiping away the tears, 'I tried to go jogging once but then I discovered taxis.'
But then things started to turn ugly. Midori, a cretinous woman with the brain the size of a chickpea, says- this is the first thing she says after I haven't seen her in a year mind you- '(Fatman) you look like you've put on some weight.' OK princess, I'm thinking, do you really
want to do this? How about you and I go to a set of scales right now and weigh ourselves. When it turns out that I weigh less than you how about I comment on your tub-of-lard, harpoons-sticking-out-the-side-of-you bod?
Then one lady starts talking about people who come from Hiroshima. They talk with a weird dialect, she says, and they have unusually flat faces. An Australian woman, who is there to help these Japanese ladies with their pronunciation then asks this kid Mustafa, from Istanbul and trying to get into a Japanese university next year, what he thinks of Muslim kids who wear their religious headgear to school. Shouldn't they conform to the ways of white Australia? I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
In times like these I wonder what Mr.T would do
. He'd probably stand up slowly and start cracking his knuckles, the sound of which is a memento mori
. He'd then stare at these people with his fool-pitying eyes till they shut up. Or he'd just bash them. I trot over to where Mum is sitting. 'I'm about to stab some of your friends with a fork,' I whisper, 'For their safety I'm going to have to leave.' I don't think she heard me properly but she bid me a fond adieu.
Things I have learnt: A jpeg of Mr.T saying 'I pity the fool'= Funny
Can I get a doggie bag?