This is a typical story with my mother. I hope it goes without saying that I do love her.
Anyhow. She is high strung as a guitar string most of the time, and she cannot deal with high-pressure situation. (High pressure as in: if anybody needs to get anywhere on time, for example. On time as in: “it’d be nice if I got there by 5PM, but it’s fine if I don’t”. We are not talking about launching space-crafts here.) She becomes agitated, she starts to lose focus on the thing she is currently doing (like driving, which can be hair-raising), and yells at anyone and everyone. So yeah; it’s not always easy to deal with this. Same happens when she is lost while driving; she is perfectly fine with coming to a stop in a lane, looking for her destination with no turning indicator on -but of course, she blows up in a second when someone else in front of her cannot decide which way to go. It’s an experience driving with her, that’s what I’m trying to say.
Well, last weekend her friend from Vienna passed through Budapest, as she was traveling home, to Romania. Mother offered a place to stay; the catch? Her friend forgot the address. I sent it to her after she was on her way via email (she could not open it on her phone, for some reason), and via text messages from a Hungarian and a British phone, which did not arrive until two days later. This left her frantically calling every hour or so asking for directions.
When she finally arrived to Budapest, she was going to different districts, like someone hell-bent on sightseeing, despite of the fact that the road plan is actually quite well thought of, and easy to follow; nevertheless, at one point my already nervous mother thought she is on her last leg of the journey, which will end in a road quite close to home. So we jumped into the car at 11PM, wearing PJs, and rushed there. She parked the car by the bend were this particular road ends, and morphes into another one by turning 90 degrees, and rushed to the bend itself. There was a zebra crossing at the bend, which will become somewhat important later. I put on the emergency lights, so that the parking car would stand out, which, of course caused no small anxiety for my mother, as she was absolutely convinced that this will drain the battery in a couple of minutes.
So there we were in the balmy summer night heat, basked in the yellow light of the sodium lamps, with my mother trying to read the registration numbers of incoming cars in the dark. (We -naturally- had no idea what car her friend drives, so we tried to identify the potential candidates by their Romanian licence plate.) Not that you could see the color (or even the make) of the cars in the dark. The problem with this approach, however, was that the headlights blinded you, so you could not see the licence plates only after the cars turned in the bend. This further whipped her anxiety, which she dealt with by shouting at me (about the blinking emergency lights, and not helping her enough), and by running back and forth, and waving at various cars.
A couple of cars actually stopped and waited for her, because she was standing right at the zebra crossing. She did not notice this, and neither was she noticing my yells, when I tried to bring this fact to her attention. I was also getting worried about the police getting involved, as her presence and behavior might have been misunderstood by less-than-savy observers.
After spending about half an hour doing this, she was already a wreck; there was no way her friend was still not here if she had been on the road she told us she had been driving on to begin with. It should have taken about five minutes for her to get to us, and yet thirty minutes later she still was nowhere to be seen -or perhaps she already passed despite of my mother’s best efforts, and was already on her way to Slovakia. I did not see a point in getting worked about this whole issue, as we still possessed phones, which could be used to actually communicate with the runaway friend.
Our saviour was a gas station attendant: in the middle of all this happening, we got a phonecall from her friend’s phone by a somewhat vinous voice, telling us which gas station she is waiting for us.
The adventure was over; we managed to lead her in towards my mother’s house by midnight.