This post grew out of a comment I left over at RB’s blog on a semi-related topic.
My rant started as a reply to her post before veering off into my own insanity:
At least you have conversations with your parents where they ask questions about you and your life…
I briefly mentioned last Sunday in my previous post.
Hadn’t seen my nieces or sister in a few weeks, and was invited over to check out the newly renovated bathroom.
Also, eldest baby niece was moving out of the cot and into her Big Girl Bed. A seminal moment in any young girl’s life, in need of witnessing for sure.
I was warned the Parental Units would be there too, but I thought that’d be okay with me. Sort of.
You see, my parents and I still haven’t moved beyond the ill-fated three months I stayed at their place last year on returning from Thailand. It was a bad mistake. Monumentally bad.
What’s worse is that neither of them are talkers. They don’t ever want to discuss things, not unless I agree to take the starring role of Whipping Girl, where they get to list all my ill-gotten faults.
And they really don’t really go in for the whole self-reflection thing…
So. We’ve had a kind of stalemate since then. To the point that when I was drowning in depression and unemployment earlier this year I didn’t hear a word from them.
It’s especially bad with mum though. She can barely contain her resentment, she can’t even look me in the eye and talks to me in this tight, pinched voice – the one she reserves for people she can’t stand.
Dad has his own passive-aggressive tendencies, but they play out quite differently. He’s still nice-ish to me, mostly. Just horribly detached.
Woke up Sunday morning and almost rang my sister to cancel. But I wasn’t sure if it was gut instinct or laziness speaking.
Turns out it was the former.
Rode le bike to the train station, got on board, only to find out several stops along that there were ‘disruptions on the line’. Buses were replacing trains most of the way.
At that point, I did ring to cancel but apparently dad offered to ‘drive me there and back’ so I could still make it for lunch. Thought that was pretty nice of him, and quite unexpected really. I had no way of knowing then, that the return trip would not only be late-ish but that they’d drop me at a train station far far away from where I’d been picked up. Nice touch, dad.
‘Course, on the trip to my sister’s place (thank goodness my older niece was in the car too), we managed some conversation. I asked him about his imminent retirement and related plans, what he’d been up to. He managed to ask me about work.
Dad: So, how’s work?
Me: Pretty boring, just like I last told you. I’m still looking for a permanent job; don’t want to end up unemployed again come December.
Dad: Yeah that was a pretty bad time.
Me: Yes, it was! [Funny you mention that since you and mum sorta ignored me the whole time…]
Well, that kinda exhausted the topic. On to talking about my nieces and my sister. Apparently, mum is giving my sister our nan’s crystal cabinet since mum already has one.
I pretty much wanted one thing of my nan’s – a tea cup, plate and saucer set. There were three sets that my nan, sister and I used to use regularly at nan’s house for tea and biscuits. It’s just one of those irreplaceable childhood memories.
Dad: We brought down the crystal cabinet for your sister. If she doesn’t want it, then we’ll just sell it on eBay and she can have the money instead.
Me: Right… so, what happened to the tea cups?
Dad: I don’t know, you’d have to ask your mother. [He *knows* about the crystal cabinet but *not* the tea cups?!!]
Me: I didn’t want anything of value. Just something that was part of my childhood memories.
At which point the topic was changed like a TV channel.
But later when everyone was sitting around, it surfaced again.
Mum: Gee, you should have said something and put them aside. I don’t know where they are now.
Somehow, my mother conveniently forgot about the conversation we had when I was helping her sort things out (nan had been moved into nursing care). She also apparently forgot that she told me to leave the cups there for now, and we’ll sort it out later.
Dad: There’s things there that belonged to your other nan [the one I wasn’t close to].
Me: That’s not the point. I have nothing of *this* nan’s now since R [uncle] has cleared the house out.
At which point the topic was changed. Again.
Conversation shifted a few times. Then, my sister mentioned a two year old-ish boy in the same playgroup as her two year old-ish daughter. And how it was extremely clear already that he’s downright-dyed-in-the-wool camp.
Mum: Well, you know Hugh Jackman is gay. He and his wife both are.
Stunned silence. In which dimension is that an appropriate response to what my sister was saying?
Right then, I hadn’t put two and two together – mum absolutely hates anyone who’s adopted a child (her firstborn was adopted against her will in the late 60’s).
Me: You just can’t say that. You don’t know for sure unless you have first-hand eye-witness evidence.
Mum: Oh, I *know*. My friend knows someone who went to school with one of them… (mumbles into silence)
I say nothing more. Why? Because you can’t argue with crazed and spitefully angry people.
Moral of the story…
My parents don’t know much about what’s going on in my world, nor do they care to enquire. They can, on-purpose, make sure I don’t get one of my nan’s tea cups.
But my mother knows for CERTAIN that Hugh Jackman is gay.