“It is dangerous and illegal to walk on the highway.”
—Quote from the Michigan driver’s ed manual 
I grew up in Detroit, Motor City, and so my delight in carless transportation has always seemed a bit perverse. But anybody who is a writer knows the feeling. What we do might not be dangerous or illegal, but it can sometimes look a little crazy from the outside.

Mother’s Day and Other Things I’ve Been Utterly Certain Yet Completely Wrong About

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Last Sunday, we reprised a tradition we’ve been keeping every year since we moved to Charlottesville: breakfast at La Taza on Mother’s Day. This year, only two other people were at the restaurant. I wasn’t offered a complimentary mimosa, unlike all the other years. The server didn’t even wish me a happy Mother’s Day.

We brought the New York Times and the local paper’s Sunday funnies. Not one mention of Mother’s Day. What was the world coming to?

You get where I’m going with this. Something was wrong. But it didn’t occur to me that that something was me.

Not until after lunch, when I telephoned my mother. “Happy Mother’s Day!” I said, with enough enthusiasm to make up for everyone else’s seeming indifference. Then came a long, uncomfortable pause, not my mother’s usual effusive response. What was going on?

Finally, she said, “It’s next week, Sharon.” Another pause. “But thanks for the flowers.”

After that, the signs were everywhere. Literally. At the mall, every surface was covered with these words: “Mother’s Day is May 13th.” How had I missed them?

I’m not telling this story because I revel in exposing my every embarrassing gaffe (although I do). I’m telling this story because I was so certain yet so wrong that Mother’s Day was May 6. What else am I sure but deluded about? Sometimes we hold beliefs so stubbornly we ignore every hint that contradicts what we already think. Let’s not even start with politics and religion. Those are divisive topics, inappropriate on the holiday that unites our whole country. Mother’s Day.

Which is today. Right?

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