P’s Mother Changes Her Mind

Text message from P:

My mum phoned to say she has come to terms with me and you and to say she is glad I’m happy and to tell you that you’re lovely.

I don’t know how I feel. ~ It’s been a while since I posted. A lot has happened and is still going on.

  • I’m going to be an uncle and I’m so terribly excited. I was told first, before anyone else from either family. I guessed that my sister was having a girl. When asked, I predicted she’ll be born November 2nd, a few days past her Oct 29th due date.
  • I have exams right now. I haven’t slept a lot. My routine has been: write exam, nap for 2-3 hours after an exam, then all night study, then nap for 2 hours a few hours before an exam, study some more, write exam, repeat.
  • P woke me 1 hour after texting the above. I thought it was 7:30am.
  • I’m going to Melbourne after exams. I’ve never been. I’m so keen.
  • I’ve been running more. I ran a 12km race last month, I’m doing a 14km race soon, and I have the half marathon in August.
  • I’m thinking about joining the armed forces for a career as a medical professional after graduation.

~ With that out of the way, I have no idea how I feel. Writing things out helps me to figure it out, to process. I’m happy that P’s relationship with his mother is better. I feel no closer to his mother. From my perspective, she met me, was nice, then decided she wasn’t comfortable with us, barely spoke to me for the entire 2 months she was here, then changed her mind 3 months later. It feels patronising, like after much consideration, she’s finally condescended to say, “Fine. I approve.” Either that, or like a child, announcing from the top of the stairs that, “I change my mind! We can do what you want. I’ll come play with you.” I wonder if his father had words to her, and said something like, “Stop being stupid because if they have children, you could never meet them.” In my state of fatigue (10 hours over 3 days, not counting that great nap just now), I will say it’s entirely possible. But realistically, I like to think I wouldn’t be so cruel once less sleep-deprived. Besides, I’d want their help with the babies. I know we would be unlikely to get help from my parents. A few months ago, I rang my mum all frustrated because my dad was telling me that I could live my life how I wanted, but his actions contradicted it. Why ask if you can fly back in August and how long you can stay if you’ve already bought tickets?! I not so subtly hinted that 1) I was dating someone and 2) they would probably have objections. My mum said, “Well if he doesn’t share our faith, then I can’t support that. I have to align myself with our faith.” I said I understood. And I do. I can’t and won’t ask her to compromise her beliefs for me like I did for P. Back to P’s mum. After some consideration, I have some thoughts and questions.

  1. What changed her mind about us?
  2. I don’t feel like being friendly to you. Why should I? Also, why, should I?
  3. I want her to say something to me personally, not via P. Apology for being rude by proxy is not acceptable.
  4. What does this mean for the future?
  5. How will changing her mind impact her interaction with me/us?
  6. Can I expect her to be more than polite, maybe solicitous?
  7. I should probably respond to P’s text. It just has a “Read on …” receipt right now. What else should I say aside from, “Ok. Thanks for the text.”? I don’t want to condone her behaviour as it could set a precedent/tone for the rest of my relationship with her.
  8. Re #3: I don’t know if she actually apologised for being a rude cow. Barely talking to someone, like your son’s partner, is rude even if you’re civil.

I feel less confused, but I don’t think I’ve completely nailed down how I feel. I’m hungry. I wish KFC still had that deal of 9 pieces for $9.95 still going. I want to have a workout. I feel so unfit. That actually reflects my inner conflict quite well.

Advertisements

A Special Level in Dante’s Inferno

Dante Alighieri wrote the famous epic poem, Divine Comedy, detailing a journey through Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. The narrator observes nine circles within Hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery.

Sidebar: I am glad that the word epic is finally dying out from common usage. It was bandied about too readily and usually used incorrectly. Unfortunately, it’s now been surpassed by “literally”. North Americans, your grammar and vocabulary is pathetic. I’m not a grammar Nazi. I just use it correctly. Most of the time.

Anyway.

Parents. More specific to this complaint, dad. Why? Why must you be so goddamn obtuse and frustrating? I mean in a tear-out-my-hair-grit-my-teeth-scream-incoherently kind of way. It’s torment, that you won’t listen to me. It’s so bad you could ring Dante and ask if he’d mind adding a tenth level to his Inferno.

1. Jump-starting the Corolla

I have a 1995 Toyota Corolla that is very inefficient, but did the job in my first degree. When the 29 year old was packing up to go live with her husband in Canada, she transferred the Prius to me. It is about twice as fuel efficient as the Toyota Corolla. When faced with the two options, I’ve chosen the more fuel efficient one. However, the battery went flat in the Corolla. Dad emailed a friend and got booster cables to jump start the car. It was pretty easy to get it going again, but why was it frustrating?

  • On way back from the run this morning, Dad tells me to relax, he’s had old cars before when he was younger and is quite familiar with jump-starting cars. I remind him to read the Prius guidebook. I googled the process myself, took a shower and went downstairs where a suspicious silence prevailed. I walked outside, and dad’s popped out most of the gear from the back of the Prius where the battery is, and has managed to damage the cap over the Prius battery. To be fair, it’s tricky, but don’t force it and nearly break the plastic! Fuck.
  • I get the plastic cap off, and we’re pushing the Corolla so that the cables can reach. I tell him to push it to line it up with the Prius, and he stops to ask me if we should ask our neighbour for help. Their garage door is opening. I say no, use what we have. After all, you can’t impose on someone else. But C is a nice neighbour and offers help when he drives up and sees our predicament.
  • There’s more cursing on my part with Dad’s refusal to listen to me when I tell him we need to shift the car to give C room and so the cars are more parallel. Look, this guy is being nice enough to help, just cooperate with me to make it easier for him to help us!!!!

Bullshit lots of practice. It’s exhausting.

2. Social Ineptitude

A couple our family knows has been immensely helpful and kind throughout the years we’ve spent in Australia. They’ve been welcoming, cooked for us, taken us to dinner, introduced us to other lovely people… very nice, overall. Anyway, Dad takes it upon himself to thank them for lending us some gear to fix up the house and re-grout the bathroom. He’s decided to do it with food. However, I have some suggestions.

  • Learn more than one dish to say thank you. Pizza is very well and good, but you’ve done it before. No one likes a one-trick pony. Besides, pizza doesn’t really say, “Thank you!” I think convention is usually baked goods of some kind. Or alcoholic beverages.
  • Timing. Why would you give a pizza to them after the event tonight? Or before? There’s a group of you tonight, so going to their house with a pizza is weird. Or you can do like you did, Dad, and invite them to dinner on the spur of the moment.
  • Do not spring it on them. Calling someone to say, “I’ve made you some dinner!” forces them to accept and possibly change plans they already have.
  • Language. Ok, I’m getting better with using expletives widely, but I mean language generally. If you must invite them to dinner an hour and a half before you all go to meet up with more friends, then don’t use the words, “Can you tell [your wife] to hold off?” Just overhearing it made me cringe with the awkward wording. It makes it sound like she’s a child and doing something wrong.
  • RELAX GODDAMMIT. Look, it’s very nice that you’d like to give some to everyone at the event, but it’s not feasible after we’ve already eaten and there’s only 6-7 slices left. You don’t know how many people are going to show up tonight and they’ve probably already eaten dinner before showing up. So take a cue from me kicking you under the table (three times!!).

Holy fucking goddamn shit. FUCK. How has he survived so long being so socially unaware? How the fuck did I gain any kind of social awareness? SHIT.

I should take my own advice and not care so much. It’s not worth the effort. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You know, the thing is, if it was anyone else’s dad, I’d probably be much more forgiving and say it was ok. Well, that time T’s dad called one of our mates a fascist was pretty hilarious.