“Mom, can you come pick me up?” I said, eyes half open.
“Where are you?” Mom mumbled, sounding even sleepier than I was.
I have always been really active in my church. When I was a teenager, we used to take a trip once or twice a year to do some religious things together. There were usually two dozen teenagers or so, accompanied by half a dozen adults to help keep us in line.
“I’m at the church, Mom,” I answered.
“Why are you at the church?” Mom wondered.
This particular day was especially fun. We usually went to Oakland or San Francisco on our longer trips, but this time we went seven hours away- all the way to Las Vegas. We had met at 2:00 in the morning at the church and loaded up into a bus the church had rented.
“This is where they dropped us off,” I said.
“What do you mean they dropped you off at the church?” Mom was confused. “Who dropped you off at the church?”
I had borrowed a cordless curling iron from one of my friends at school just for the trip. My friends, Tim and Jared, and I were going to curl the hair of the first boy to fall asleep. The problem was that everybody was too excited and nobody would go to sleep until Jared finally did. Even though he was supposed to be one of those in on the joke, he ended up with the curly bangs.
“The leaders dropped us off, Ma,” I said. “Can you just come pick me up?”
“Leaders? What leaders? Where have you been?” Mom asked.
After a long day of religion and Vegas (ironic isn’t it?), we made the long trek back home and finished back in the church parking lot where we had started our journey nearly 24 hours earlier. I was tired. All my friends were tired. My mom on the other end of the phone was tired.
“We went to Las Vegas,” I said.
“Las Vegas!?” Mom was wide awake now. “What on earth were you doing in Las Vegas?”
Why was this so hard for Mom to understand? I mean, she was the one who dropped me off at the church to begin with.
“Baptisms, Ma,” I stated simply.
“Baptisms? In Las Vegas?” Mom couldn’t believe her ears.
My mom wasn’t that old. Was she going senile before she even turned 40? If she didn’t want to come pick me up, she could just say so and I could ask Tim’s parents for a ride.
“Yeah, baptisms,” I said. “What’s the big deal?”
“Who is this?” Mom finally asked.
“Russ,” I answered, wondering why she would ask such a thing.
“Russ who?” Mom wondered.
“Your son,” I said, more of a question than a statement.
“I think you have the wrong number,” the nice lady said.
I don’t know if all women just sound the same when I’m half awake or if I just happened to call my mom’s vocal twin. Either way, after hanging up and dialing the correct number, Mom came to pick me up. True story.