One of the major things they won't tell you about in film school is the Casual Call from your Deeply Concerned Mother, during which time she tries very hard to pretend she is no such thing.

Mine calls from Umatilla today, and I tell her about my Big New Plan to sell some of my things at the Fairfax Flea Market to make ends meet. "I had a housekeeper who used to do that," she says. "She bought a hundred dozen socks and sold them off pair by pair." An L.A. flea market is not a place where insects do their marketing, I inform her. It's where same sex couples squander the blood money they make at the studios on sixteen-hundred-dollar mid-century Danish tables. And I just happened to find one of those in my sister's garage.

Oh, she says.

Have you seen her garage? I demand to know. She should be paying me to clear it out. She is, of course, by donating all the proceeds -- which my mother judiciously avoids pointing out. She can come at you like a little quarterback during these exchanges, her agenda tucked under her arm like a football she could choose to pass, run or drop kick into your in-field at any time.

"I don't understand why you aren't doing any temping," she tosses in. I inform her the only temp job I've been offered of late is waving a foam finger in front of Quiznos. Temping in L.A. isn't plentiful and uncomplicated like it is in the rest of the free world. It's a town full of temps, I tell her for the umpteenth time. "Well, you can always come live here," she replies, casually spiking the ball. "Since you're emptying out your house anyway."


I'm not sure why she's succeeded in pissing me off, pointing out the safety net I should be grateful to have stretched just above the circus that is my life. She gets back on the thing about the socks and the housekeeper and how the flea market didn't work out and she had to go back home to her family to escape her abusive boyfriend.

I'm left with no choice but to tune her out, since Nancy Grace is coming on and they're draining some Aruban pond where they think they might find Natalee Holloway's body. I don't tell my mother about my obsession with the feisty former proscutor or the missing Alabama teen, since she'd only ask why I refuse to put on a little lipstick from time to time and take a nice walk.

Draining the damn pond, hello. Talk about a day late and a dollar short, dumbass Dutch weenies. The story's really about the mother, I think, about how she'll kill and die herself before she goes home without her girl. They never saw Natalee's mom coming, all those Van Der Yahoos.

My own mother knows without having to ask how many times that could have been me, getting into the wrong car with the wrong guy in the wrong town. I look at the senior picture they used on her "Missing" poster and picture my own from a hundred years ago beside it. Sure it could have been me, I want to tell my mom. But it was't. I'm not missing, I'm right here. I've made it through film school, and through my sister's garage; I've landed a Very Supportive Manager and made a Brand New Up and Coming Producer Friend; I've written a screenplay They're Saying Very Good Things About, and I'm trying to write another -- and whatever happens next, that's not nothing.

But then, I'm not a mother myself and the likelihood of my ever becoming one runs about even odds with my taking the foam finger job at Quiznos. I don't know what it's like to love as fiercely as a mother, only to be loved that way, and that's certainly not nothing, either.

I hit the mute button on Nancy Grace and tune my mom back in. Unfortunately, she's still talking about the misguided housekeeper and all those ridiculous socks. Tennis, tube, men's -- she never did manage to unload them all.

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