When I was six, I fell off an eight foot fence and into my first rose bush. When I was 12, I knocked out my two front teeth while playing basketball. My history of roughhousing, daredeviling, playing in mud, and generally failing to give a second’s thought to what happens to my body is well known to my mother. She also knows I care even less about polish around the edges.
“I always wanted a girl,” she says.
So, we fight about whether I should try to keep my hair under control (while she controlled my braids, she also controlled my hair). We argue about when t-shirts are appropriate evening wear. And, she surreptitiously throws out my old sneakers and sweatshirts when she thinks they’ve come to the end of their meaningful lives.
Today, when I dropped my car off for a smog check, I suggested we kill time by getting manicures and pedicures.
“Que te ha picado?” she asked.
No mom, I haven’t been bitten by a rare Northeastern L.A. bug, I just like how red fingernails distracts people when I use my hands to speak during meetings.