Thursday, September 29, 2016

the space between your fear......

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 say the least it is a challenge 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
- baseball
- 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.



  1. Man, I've missed you! So glad you're back at it and filled with humor. For the record, I'm dealing with the same thing with my parents. We took my dad to dinner at a nice sushi place and the first thing out of his mouth was, "I thought we went to war so we don't have to eat this crap." I'm so glad you are back!!!

    1. oh dearest annie, your post inspired me to finally push publish again. i read your beautiful piece and then said to myself, "self, stop being such a god damn coward, write something"
      and so i pounded out a post and hit publish before i could change my mind. your parents and my mother should hit the road together. lol xxxxx

  2. Dearest Bev,

    So glad you're writing. You amaze me. Btw, I'm also a woman of reduced means. Let's each take a train and meet in Seattle. We can drink lots of coffee, listen to Grunge, and pretend it's the 90s.

    Love and hugs


    1. oh lovely terri, i read about your struggles and wish i could come and scoop you up. Seattle sounds great! thank you for reading and saying nice things. It has been a long time since i have talked through my fingers!! xxxxx

  3. Welcome Home! Wherever home is.....I missed you so. I looked once a week for more than a year. Your writing is my magnet. We are maneuvering the same course. I love to watch how you manage it. Again.....welcome home.

    1. oh my sweet jesus, you lovely thing!! Nova Scotia will be home for the foreseeable future. i so appreciate your dedication. i feared i maybe talking to an empty room. you have made my whole month!! xxxx
      ps - feel free to let your story rip here. i would love to hear it!!! xxxxx

  4. So awesome to see you writing again.

    1. oh sweetpea, you realize it was yours and Don's belief that i have a story to tell that made it possible for me to write again!! you have helped me more than you could ever know. thank you, i love you both.
      i enjoyed your visit to "my brave new world" and i will be over this week for supper and laughs! xxxxx

  5. I was so happy to see your post on my feed reader. Change is hard but I see you still have your magnificent sense of humor.

    I teach computers, smartphone and tablet basics to "senior" senior citizens (average age mid 80 to late 90s) and many are exactly as you describe your mother. Although, I haven't heard any mention the no sound while watching TV. Everything I see has a very LOUD counterpart. You can well imagine how relaxing it is to teach a class where everyone's laptop volume is set at 100 percent.

    They do seem fascinated with the weather, lists, politics, and word games.

    I have also noticed how outspoken some of my students have gotten...even since I first met them.(10 years ago) I guess if you can't say exactly what is on your mind when you are in your 90s you might feel that you won't get the chance. All filters are removed. I would hope 35 years or so from now, I am lucid enough to be openly bitchy and still be articulate (even if I am being tacky)

    Wishing you the best and look forward to reading more from you soon. Take care.

    1. bless your heart!! it is so wonderful that you are here - reading and responding!!! thank you so vey, very much.
      now, you have a wonderfully, horrid job! honest to god, i will kill them all! lol well, maybe i would be too entertained to follow through!
      yes, we do watch the wheel of fortune, price is right and weather at ear piercing decibels!!
      they say "out of the mouths of babes" but really "out of the mouth of aged" should be right up there! mom says, (after i have admonished her) "well if i think it, i might as well say it"
      you deserve a medal or cash prize for work!
      i'm so glad to hear from you!! xxxxxx we can trade war stories!!!

  6. Ok this made me laugh, mostly because it reminded me of my nan, mum told me when she would take nan to the doctors she would wish the ground would open up and swallow her as nan would say and do the most inappropriate things she called a aboriginal man a black bastard because he was staring at nan who was telling another old man how handsome she though he was, she referred to on of the doctors as the slant eye doctor don't know why the woman wasn't Asian but still that is what nan said, this was all due to her having Alzheimer's but still very embarrassing for mum.

    1. dearest jo-anne, i'm glad i made you laugh! lol my mother is so embarrassing! she is always on the look out for an albino!!! i wish i could say she has alzheimer's but she doesn't have that excuse. thanks for much for reading and commenting. it was so nice to hear from you. xxxxxx

  7. God love your mother for giving us something to laugh about! To say that I was thrilled to see your post is an understatement. I hope we get to hear more from you as you reinvent yourself. There is real inspiration to be found in your humour... thank you for sharing it with us :)

    1. yes, god love her! i am going to have to muzzle her in public!

      lovely jenn, thank you for being happy to read my words. i have been so afraid to write but, this post has helped me more than i can say. i'm thrilled you came here to listen!!! xxx

  8. How raw and honest. Nice to hear from you, Bev. You're back at the sea? A wonderful place to be no matter how judgmental she may be. Haha. Your mother is reminding me of a friend's mother who was doing similar things. She couldn't take her out anymore without cringing. Sorry for the difficulties you're experiencing. It's great that you have a sense of humor about it all. So nice to read you again!

    1. dear lisa, thank you so much for your kind words. yes, these old mothers make us cringe! my difficulties will be overcame and i will rise from the ashes of former life. if i can survive a meal out with my mother - i can survive this!! lol xxx

  9. I've missed you. You're such a wonderful writer. My own mother died when I was 23 and I wish for you to be here every single day. Of course, I don't think of the reality of such a wish. Truth is, there's a lot to be said for being an orphan. It's all I can do to take care of myself. Humor is the inner tube that keeps us afloat. Happy to see you hanging onto yours. Much love you to, my friend.

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