It is no great secret that my mother drives me nuts, but sometimes I want to stab her in the hand with a compass/large kitchen knife/swordfish.
Etheline says we are too alike, I would agree up to a point, we are both a touch outspoken and both of us hold the unfailing belief that we are right, naturally this leads to conflict. As Duncan McCloud might say in Highlander, there can be only one.
Yesterday however, she surpassed herself in annoying the fuck out of me.
I like Sunday a whole lot, I like getting up late, faffing around, getting the papers, deciding where to have brunch, toddling off whenever it suits me. In general it is a fabulous day and -having spent a pleasant evening beheading Jelly babies in an effort to understand why Americans say the things they do, and rinsing the taste away with vodka -I had hoped this sunday would be like any other.
Then she came along and ballsed it up.
Firstly she buzzed my doorbell, uninvited, at nine-fifteen.
I answered it-bleerily. Discovered too late it was her and buzzed her in.
'Oh', she said, breezing in past me on a cloud of Estée Lauder, 'I thought you'd be up.'
'Why would I be up? It's Sunday.'
'On your own?' She said peering into the sitting room with all the subtly of John Cleese in the Don't Mention the War episode of Faulty Towers.
'The cats are here.'
She did that sniffing thing she does when she doesn't like the 'tone' I use and held her handbag in front of her like a shield.
'I thought maybe you'd come with me to a furniture showroom.'
I gawp at her. What stinking cock rot is this? Why 'maybe' would she think that? I drag my kimono tighter around my body.
'I'm going to turn your brother's room into an office.'
She shrugs. 'Well, it's not like he'll be using it anymore.'
'So you'll come?'
I try to think of an excuse, but for once nothing come to mind, the only thing I can think of is the theme music to Spongebob Squarepants.
ooohhhh he lives in a pineapple under the sea-
'Sure, I'll just grab a quick shower.'
'I'll make us a cup of tea.'
This makes me grit my back teeth. For some reason my mother disapproves of my drinking coffee, but I let it go.
'Right, you know where everything is.'
I go shower and get dressed.
By the time we are in the lift I suss something is up, she has her pinched face on. The lift doors close. She launches.
'I was looking for milk in the fridge, there's not much in there, what day do you do a shop?'
'Every day really, I buy fairly fresh.'
'Ummph, 'she says, then, 'lot of booze.'
I do a mental scan. There are two bottles of wine, white, a bottle of Smirnoff orange, eight cans of diet orange, an actual orange, a bottle of tonic water, orange juice, a head of lettuce, cheese, garlic, mushrooms, fish (Perch and salmon), yoghurts, bacon, turkey, cured ham, water, milk, balsamic vinegar and some peppers.
'No wonder there's not a pick on you. You must never eat.'
Now this bogus crap is designed to annoy. 1, if I never ate I'd be dead, and 2, I'm not skinny, I"m not fat like she is, and true I weighed more before, but I'm not actually skinny. I'm fit, but not rake thin.
'I eat plenty,' I say testily.
'You should think about cutting down the amount you drink.'
'It's not good for you.'
'I don't actually drink that much.'( Was my nose growing?)
'Oh now, sure every time I see you you have a glass in your hand.'
This too is bogus, mostly my mother and I meet at dinners and lunches. I glance down at my hands and raise them in an exaggerated manner.
She eyes me, her nostrils flare, 'you're so sharp you'll cut yourself someday.'
I sigh heavily. I hate that expression, there is never a sword fish handy when you need one.
'I never drank at home.'
'Never saw the need.'
'That's how trouble starts.'
'I'm only telling you for your own good.'
'You should eat less.' I say, rather sharply. 'Get more exercise, try bring your weight down before your blood pressure causes you to have a stroke.' I put a lot of emphasis on stroke as it is her favourite most likely to happen senario.
She snaps a look my way. 'Oh, well that's easy for you to say, you know ever since I started taking those tablets-'
We hit the ground floor, the doors open and she steps out- 'I've been retaining water like the billio and it's not like I haven't tried. But it's hard when no one supports-'
I press the button and to the doors close on her blather. I rise to the top floor in serene silence.
I let myself back into the apartment. The bigger of the cats is sitting on the book case in the hall-almost as thought he expected I would return.
'Narp?' He says.
'Indeed.' I say and scoop him up.
She buzzes the buzzer. I answer.
'Are you coming or not?' She asks icily.
'I don't believe I am.' I say equally as frosty.
'There's no talking to you. You always take everything the wrong way.'
'Is that so?'
'Okay then, once we know that I'm at fault.'
I hear her snort angrily and then the clip clop of her shoes as she stomps off.
She's lucky I don't have a sniper rifle.