As many of you who read my blog know, my mother is a Catastrophzer.
To recap, a Catastrophizer is someone who turns every situation, every potential set back or problem into a catastrophe.
It's like the opposite of being on Prozac.
We're talking about someone who sees the possible worst in every situation.
My Mom has left on a trip, a pilgrimage to Jerusalem last Tuesday. And while she left us an itinerary, she left no contact numbers.
I thought this was impressive - even more so, was the fact that she hadn't called in since she left. Weird, but I didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I figured she was just enjoying her time, and decided not to check-in.
Yesterday afternoon the phone rings:
"Hi, is this Mira?"
"Yes it is"
"Hi my Mom is your Mom's roommate on the trip to Israel and she asked me to call you to have you call her, here's the number..."
"Oh, ok, thanks"
"Listen, they're in the dining room right now, but she asked that you call her right away, so when you get through to the Hotel, ask for the dining room"
"Oh, ok, thanks"
So I do as I was asked and dutifully call the hotel dining room, interrupting the dinner of numerous guests.
And the staff finally gets my Mom on the phone.
"Hi Nana" (my nickname for her)
"Hi ya Habibti" (Arabic endearment)
"So how's your Trip?" - Now I should have known better than to just straight out ask this question, foolish me.
"Oh! You can not believe, I have a cold, I can barely lift my head off the pillow, I am taking Advil every day, it's terrible!"
"That's ok Mom, it's just a cold, take some medicine and enjoy the tours"
"Oh yes, well my roommate has some antibiotics, so I will take some from her, because this cold is just unbearable"
"What! Mom, you can't take somebody else's antibiotics - plus, it's just a cold"
"No, you don't understand, if I don't take the antibiotics, maybe I get Typhoid!"
"Mom, when's the last time you heard about someone getting Typhoid from a cold? anyways - have you been talking any pictures?"
"Well, nothing really, the cameras are no good, they don't encourage me to take pictures?"
"What are you talking about? You haven't taken any pictures?"
"No, I took 2 rolls full, but I'm just saying the cameras are no good, and the place is so much more beautiful than the pictures I am taking. Probably they will be ugly pictures!"
"Ok, so, so far you've complained to me about your health and your cameras, and it's cost me probably $30 to hear it, and now your dinner's cold - was there anything else you wanted to tell me about?" - Did I actually say that out loud? Have I succumbed to the Catastrophizer that runs in my blood, or am I simply shooting her with a dose of her own medicine.
Please Lord, let it be the latter!
"No, that's everything" - said so despondently, it almost sounds as if she's sad that she's not miserable about anything else!!
"Ok, well have a great time! Enjoy your experience!"
"Ok thanks, bye"
Even across an ocean, the Catastrophizing is strong with this one.