Conversation with my Mother About Ebola

Me: I’m upset.

My Mother: Why?

Me: I’m embarrassed to tell you. But I have to get it out of my head.

My Mother: Go ahead.

Me: I was in Starbucks just before and I used the public bathroom and after I had been in there a minute, I realized that the whole room smelled of vomit and that the floor was wet and now I can’t stop thinking that the person had Ebola and that I’m probably going to get it and give it to Brautigan.

My Mother: (Laughing.)

Me: It’s not funny. My Mother: I know it’s not, Jessica. I’m not laughing at you. I’m just laughing at how fucking hysterical the news is making everyone. It’s not you, ok??

Me: Ok.

My Mother: But I want you to listen very carefully. This is your germaphobe mother speaking.

Me: I know it is, that’s why I called you.

My Mother: You are not in Texas. You do not work in a hospital. You have not been on a plane. It was probably just some bulimic who ate too many pieces of cake.

Me: Ok.

My Mother: And if you really are the sort of person who cannot handle putting themselves into situations that could… not likely, but could potentially make you sick, well, then you do like me and you use the bathroom before you leave home.

Me: Well I live an hour away from civilization.

My Mother: Well, then this is what you will have to do. Go and buy yourself some latex gloves, some really large latex gloves, and every time you go into a public restroom, put one over your head, and don’t forget to cut the thumb off so that you have some air to breathe. What are you laughing at?

Me: I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in months.

My Mother: I’m not kidding, Jess. In fact, I think you should call Playtex. Well, first get it patented and then call. The thumb could even have a little filter on it with room for a little charcoal tablet. You just have to hope that nobody comes into the bathroom while you’re wearing it.

Me: Thank you, mother.

My Mother: Laughter is the most powerful antioxidant. Never forget that.

Me: I think you’re right.

My Mother: Of course I’m right. I’m always right. Now stop listening to the motherfucking news. And think instead of those poor, poor people in West Africa. I mean, can you fucking imagine??

Me: No.

My Mother: Neither can I. So let’s hope and pray that the angels who are over there risking their fucking lives to transform this fucking hell stay healthy, and let’s hope that all the greedy politicians and profiteers get the hell out of their way and quit convincing themselves they’re doing equally important work. And let’s hope and pray that humanity as a whole will finally realize that until every single human life is valued, there will be no motherfucking peace for any of us. Every human being deserves the right to live a dignified life, don’t you think?

Me: Yes, I do.

My Mother: Of course you do, darling. Now go and bleach your head and call me when you get home.

Me: Ok. Goodbye, Mother.