Thursday, December 28, 2006

Stop me if you've heard this before

My parents just left after a short visit, and I'm reveling in the absence of my mom's chatter. I love her, but damn, can that woman talk--and about nothing in particular. What's made this habit worse the past few years is that she's started repeating things--not once, not twice, but many, many times. This morning she told me, for the fifth time since the beginning of November, that my uncle's girlfriend takes TWO Ambien and drinks before going to bed. Dangerous, sure, but worth repeated tellings? And that's all there is to the story, too. No cautionary incidents of Pat the girlfriend sleepwalking or falling into a near-coma or having lapses of memory. No hilarious stories about her cooking dinner in the middle of the night and not remembering the next day. Nope. Just the fact that Pat takes two Ambien and has a few drinks before bed. Finis. I doubt even Stephen King could spin an interesting yarn out of that story.

Before I let go of my irritation, I have to tell you she does something else that irritates the shit out of me. My dad has lost quite a bit of his hearing yet refuses to get hearing aids. I know that's frustrating. I've spent many phone conversations with him yelling at the top of my lungs while he insists I'm just not holding the phone close enough to my mouth. She treats him as though he's lost IQ points along with his hearing, however. When we go to restaurants, for example, she reads the menu to him and explains what certain dishes are like--because God knows he couldn't figure it out from the mysterious description "A medley of eggs, sausage, hash browns, and country gravy in a skillet." When we were opening Christmas presents last night, she explained what everyone got and the purpose of whatever the gift was, as though my dad couldn't SEE Kevin pull a sweater out of a gift bag and understand it's something to wear. Oy. My dad's one of the smartest people I know, and I can't help thinking being treated like a simpleton is slowly driving him mad. However, he seems to have a bottomless reservoir of patience where my mother is concerned. I admit she's a very sweet and thoughtful person, so I guess that helps.

I wonder what Daniel's going to write about me in his blog 30 years from now. "My mom's funny, but I wish she'd shut the hell up about how CNN misspells words all the time in the news crawl! And God, if I hear her bitch one more time about people using apostrophes to form plurals, I'm going to stick a sock in her mouth." Maybe I should start working on being sweeter and more thoughtful, just to make sure I wind up in one of the GOOD nursing homes.