this is where i spend most of my time... trying to keep my balance in this tiny space, but i am a rotund, tight-rope walker with smallest of possible feet ....to say the least it is a challenge ......to say the least it is a time consuming occupation.
where have i been - god only knows. i don't even know who i am anymore. i, as they say, must reinvent myself. i must find purpose and meaning in this new frontier. i must find money. i, as they say, have become a woman of reduced circumstances..... not to say it was a long drop.
i have come east, back to my ancestral home. back to sea. back to a sea that is not so impressed with how i've spent the last 30 years away from her. i stand on the beach and stare out -
she says - "really, this is all you've got."
"you," she says, "have not changed. you are still that bossy child who talked incessantly."
"yes, i know," i say, "change is hard."
"yes, she says, tell me about it."
i have travelled east with my youngest daughter who is going to college here. i have traveled east to spend time with my ailing mother. i know what you're thinking, "oh my god, what wrong with your mom?" well i'm not telling you yet, because then you'll feel all sorry for her and say things like "the nerve, talking about her poor mother that way" - get over yourselves! my mother is over 90 but less than 100 years old. you cannot possibly make me feel any more guilt than i do.
why oh why does she annoy me so. why can i not maintain my compassion. why do i want to stick a fork in her arm some days.
there i got that out! jesus christ, my mother is becoming that really poorly behaved 5 or 6 year old that other parents talk about. i feel the judgmental glare from the crowd as they silently hiss at me "for god sakes, get your mother under control!" it at those times i feel defiant, and hiss back "kiss my ass, you let her in. deal with it"
but when we're at home alone together and she starts to wind up, i think, jesus, marj, calm your effing ass down. there's no crowd to play to. you're not a gladiator and i'm certainly not a christian.
just knit and watch the wheel of fortune. the show is over.
if only it were that easy....
if only i didn't egg her on - slightly...
if only despite it all - she wasn't so god damn entertaining....
i will tell you all old women including my mother are obsessed with
- the weather
- the wheel of fortune
- find-a-word puzzles
- other old people
obsessions seemingly particular to my mother
- the mail
- counting things
my mother's medial temporal lobe must be the size of truck! the sheer number of facts and information she has on everything and everyone is frightening. i mean, i take it she telling the truth but who the hell knows maybe she making it all up. i personally don't know how many times vanna white has appeared in pants on the wheel of fortune and what the mail lady eats in her car....
my mother likes to watch tv sporting events with the sound muted
for two reasons
1. like many old people, she believes "playing" the tv with no sound saves power...
2. she likes to do her own commentary. and she's mean! as an athlete you get no praise from my mother. she does not things like "nice hit" she says things like "well, it's about time" she calls them out on all their "dido's" as she calls them. saying things like "have you ever seen anyone go through so many dido's just to throw a baseball..... and, if you're watching with her - be quiet - my mother doesn't like anyone in the booth with her.
but by far the most embarrassing, inexcusable but unavoidable behaviour has to be her geriatric racial/people profiling... this on it own that makes me want to wear a t-shirt saying I AM SO SORRY
i don't know where it comes from. i was raised in a very liberal household but somewhere along the way to 100 my mother has lost her social graces. i still love her and look upon with tender adornment but...... holy mary mother of god, my heart races when we are out. i know it's coming! i just brace myself and think about the baby jesus.
- she calls all people of asian descent "chinese"
- she calls all people of colour "coloured"
when we sit down in a restaurant her head rotates like a great, horned owl looking for prey because that's exactly what she's doing. she blinks and pounces......
"why is that chinese man eating fish and chips. chinese people eat chinese food.
i say things like "mum we mustn't point" "SHHH"
she says the most outrageous things in her "opera whisper" which is not in fact a whisper at all. the little nuggets just roll of her tongue...
"look at that fat woman" " there's a crippled person" "i have never seen a man as black as that before"
i can't shut her up! i can only look on in amazement, knowing that in the big game of "whack a mole" i have become the mole and my mother loves to bring the hammer down.