Tatiana Talks

The Games We Play

There is a game my mom and dad love to play with me. For lack of anything better, I call it the “Anything Else” game.

It dates back to middle school when guys were just starting to notice girls – and by that I mean guys were starting to notice other girls. I remained the girl they only noticed when they needed one more for a game of football.

Every day, when I got home from school, my mom, a nurse where she worked with a parent (or two) of just about everyone in my class, would wake up (she worked nights) and ask, “How was school today?”

I would shrug (because I was a preteen and shrugging was my favorite) and respond, “Good.” And the game was on:

Mom: “Just good? Not great, terrific and wonderful?”

Preteen Tati: “No. Just good.”

Mom: “Anything happen in school today?”

Preteen Tati: “No.”

Mom: “Nothing?”

Preteen Tati: “Umm, well, we have a history test coming up.”

Mom: “Anything else?”

Preteen Tati: “I’m probably gonna need new running sneakers soon.”

Mom: “Anything else?”

Preteen Tati: “Jenny and Rachel are fighting again.”

Mom: “Anything else?”

Preteen Tati: “I can’t think of anything else.”

Mom: “So Jeremy didn’t walk you to math class this morning.”

Preteen Tati: “What? Oh, well, yeah, he did, but.”

Mom: “According to Becky’s mom, Jeremy is one of the cutest guys in your class.”

Preteen Tati: “I guess, but.”

Mom: “So, what did you two talk about on your way to class? Because, according to Becky’s mom, it looked like you two were very involved in the conversation. You know he and Jaime broke up?”

Preteen Tati: “Yes, I know that. But, that’s what I’m trying to tell you, we were just talking about our history test.”

Mom: “Oh.  Well, Becky’s mom also mentioned that he asked for your picture the other day, so you can see why I was curious.”

Preteen Tati: “Mom, we’re just friends.”

Mom: “I don’t know, Tati

Preteen Tati:

More than 20 years later and the game is pretty much the same. Of course my mother no longer works with the parents of my classmates, but she is my friend on Facebook. So, when someone tags me in a picture standing next to a guy at a baseball game, I am sure to get a call the next morning.

To win the game, you have to be the first to fold. And by that I mean, the first to acknowledge the game, come clean and just ask/state the obvious. So, for example:

Mom: “Anything else going on that I should know about?”

Almost An Adult Tati: “I don’t think so. I told you that I’m looking at flights to Austin, that I’m changing one of the characters in my novel, work is good, I got another press release to draft, and I'm signed up for the MCM in October. So, yeah, that’s everything that’s keeping me busy.”

Mom: “Nothing else is going on?”

Almost An Adult Tati: “Mom, I’m not seeing anyone, if that’s what you’re wondering.”

Mom: “That’s not what I was asking, but now that you brought it up …”
Advantage: Mom.

As a teenager, I always won, mostly because I didn’t know we were playing and my mother was often looking for something that didn’t even make my radar as worth mentioning.

As an (almost) adult, I practically lose every game. My mother (and father, because now he plays too) has grown more patient whereas I have grown less. I’ve tried driving them to defeat by detailing the most mundane details of my life (“I picked up D vitamins at the Whole Foods yesterday. I went with the cheaper ones, even though they contain gelatin, but I didn’t get sick or anything.”) or distracting them with details from my former classmates’ lives (“I saw on Facebook that Jeremy had a baby.”). But, alas, this only leads to conversations about how my mother always thought Jeremy had a thing for me (“Remember that time in middle school when he asked for your picture, Tati.”).

And that is how we begin a game of “The One(s) That Got Away.”