Q: I visit my mother, who is aging but vital, quite often, and she’s developed this annoying tic: We’ll be eating breakfast, and she’ll ask me what I want for dinner. At lunch, she’ll start planning the next day’s breakfast. I would sooner focus on one meal at a time. Then again, this tic has replaced the one that had her saying “I’ve bought you so many beautiful clothes, why are you wearing that?”

— R.R.,
Bethesda, Md.

Dear R. R.,

Consider yourself lucky: (1) Your mother still buys you clothes, and (2) she’s an optimist. A person who plans the next day’s meals believes in tomorrow. As opposed to the sort of person who eats dessert first, just in case he dies during the main course.