I’m writing this from Palm Springs, one of the gay capitals of the world. At this moment, the largest event on the lesbian social calendar—granted, a rather slim one bracketed by the Super Bowl on one end and opening day of baseball on the other—is taking place: the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament. The name of it was changed recently, but no one cares.
The town is lousy with lesbians looking to make poor life choices, so why have I spent all evening perched on the plastic slipcover of an Italianate sofa in the home of an old lady who will be dead in six months?
The answer, my friends, is that my mother has gotten me into yet another ridiculous situation involving charming ancient people out of their worthless crap. My mother dragged me to this poor woman’s home because she had heard from a friend of a friend that the lady might have a certain decorative Danish plate no one but my mother would covet.
My parents spend the winter in Palm Springs, which is why I am here. Every year, my mother gets me here with promises of rest, relaxation, and poolside margaritas. But once I fall into her evil, tanned clutches, she forces me to run all the madcap errands my father has the good sense to avoid.
Today, I had every intention of going to a lesbian pool party. This is not the type of thing I typically would be interested in, because I just knew it would involve volleyball, but after being trapped in my parents’ Town Car for the past week, I was ready for anything. Just as I was slipping into my skort, though, my mother shanghaied me, and demanded that I take her on a “quick trip” to see the Danish plate.
I made a weak attempt to weasel out of the trip, but my mother and the desert sun have beaten me into total submission. So, I heaved a heavy sigh, grabbing the car keys, and rolling my eyes, as my mother chirped that this would be a five-minute visit at most.
My mother never had met the Danish plate lady, and, therefore, had no idea she was dying of terminal brain cancer, a fact that the poor lady announced the minute we walked in the door. “I’ll be dead in six months,” she said rather gaily, “and, look, I’ve laid out a snack.”
As my mother mewed in empathy, and stroked the lady’s arm in comfort, I stared daggers at my Mom, who clearly was settling in for a long chat. I stabbed at the suspect liver sausage with a stale cracker and a lot of resentment, as I watched the sun begin to set over the adjacent golf course, and waited in vain for my mother to raise the issue of the Danish plate, so we could get the hell out of there.
Well into our visit, as I dipped into paranoid psychosis, and feared I’d spend the rest of my days listening to my mother feign interest in the lady’s bladder-control issues (all the while waiting for the perfect opportunity to get that stupid plate), I saw what I first thought was a vision. I closed my eyes, assuming that the mirage would vanish when I opened them again. But there, prancing in a pool coated in a thick layer of sunscreen scum, was a scrum of lesbians, and not a volleyball net in sight.
What happens next? Do I make my escape to the lesbian party? Does my mother manage to wrest control of the Danish plate from an old lady’s dying hands?
Stay tuned for the next episode….