Thursday, February 22, 2007

My mother. May a Jellybaby explode in her mouth.

How I have never taken an axe to the back of my mother's head before now is a mystery to me. She annoys the ever living shite out of me and always has done and I suspect I do the same to her.
The rest of my family don't seem to have the same level of aggro with her so it must be just me. Right?
Maybe I'm not as tolerant as them, maybe she doesn't rub them up the wrong way like she does me, maybe we just have a personality clash.
Or then again maybe not.
Maybe she's just a miserable old bitch who takes great delight in ruining what was otherwise a very fucking pleasant -if mildly painful -evening.
Last night I was sipping on a Baileys, ice packing my knee and waiting for 'Dead like Me' to start when the phone rang. I picked it up becaue it was on the arm of my chair.
'There you are,'my mother said in a voice that made me twitch. 'You didn't tell me your (very best friend) was buying a site.'
'You know you didn't!'
I shrugged, but then remembered she couldn't see that, so I grunted instead and moved the icepack higher on my knee.
'I saw her there last week, up there, her and that other fella.'
'So there's a site notice gone up on the gate yesterday.'
'How do you know it's her?'
'Her name's on it! Hers and his.'
'So what, they're building a house.'
'Well you should see what type of house they're planning!'
'How do you-'
'I was in Wicklow town planning office today.'
'And you looked at their plans?'
'Well sure aren't they there to be looked at! And it's up the road from me... it better not effect my line.'
'Jesus, how the hell could it effect you? It's three miles away!'
'So you DID know about it!'
'She said they were THINKING about building up there.'
'I can't believe you didn't think to mention this to me.'
'Can't you?'
'What's wrong with you anyway? You're so cranky this evening.'
'I've a swollen knee.'
'From what?'
'Kick boxing.' I glace down at my leg, 'Or it could be from running on concrete actually.'
I stiffen. 'Excuse me?'
'Don't you think it's time you gave up all that ould nonsense?'
'Which nonsense woud this be now?'
'All that ould fighting and stuff. It can't be good for you, you're always getting bangs and scrapes.'
'I'm planning to do the Dublin marathon in October.
'So I hear.'
'Who told you? Etheline?'
'She mentioned it. I think you're mad.'
'Ah, at your age, starting that now... you'd need to be running the whole time.'
'Night and day?'
'I have nearly eight months to train, that's plenty of time.'
'Excuse me?'
'You'll do yourself an injury, that's what you'll do.'
I grip the phone so tightly my knuckles go white. I resist saying anything that might be deemed as cursing, imflammatory or down right rude.
'Was there anything else? There's something I want to watch about to come on.'
'I asked your sister to come down to Kilkenny with me on Saturday.'
'Only she can't can she, not with the children.'
'It wouldn't hurt you to take them off her once in a while.'
'I do take them.'
'She didn't ask me to mind them on saturday, if she had asked I might have taken them.'
'You should offer.'
'I'm not a mind reader. If she asks me I'll mind them.'
'Sure I'm asking you now.'
'Fine, I'll mind them.'
'Oh you needn't bother if it's putting you out.'
'I just said I would, didn't I?' And now my voice is starting to rise.
'It's the way you said it.'
'It's the way you asked.'
'Well I'll call her back and tell her you were kind enough to take them for a couple of hours.'
'Do that.'
There is silence. I don't break it and neither does she. After a second or two I hang up.
Then I fucked the phone as hard as I could across the room, breaking it in the process and wrenching my knee.
And Dead Like Me didn't didn't come on! Some show called Heroes came on instead.
And this morning I must go into town for a meeting, and I don't like meetings. No, I do not.

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Blogger Kav said...

Your dialogue is spot on. I had to grow up with some people like that. I remember in my early teens, before I filled out and started to grow, saying that I wanted to join the rowing club. "Ah sure the sizeen of you! Sure you wouldn't be able for that! Rowing's for big lads."

The logical leap needed to understand that perhaps lads got big by doing the rowing, rather than needing to be big to start, was conveniently ignored. Needless to say, I didn't join the club. That still pisses me off.

10:55 a.m.  
Anonymous Jimmy Page's Trousers said...

That's just the role of the parent, FMC. I've personally spent the last two-odd years carefully studying my own father so that I can adequately perform the duties of patriarch to young Baby Trousers:

1. Being generally grumpy for no reason.
2. Poo-pooing anything my child suggests that seems odd.
3. Disliking the popular music of the day and considering it too loud.
4. Saying 'No'.

And so on...

Just wait until the day you find yourself using one of your parent's favourite expressions to your child. It's a sobering experience, I can tell you.

11:41 a.m.  
Blogger PI said...

You know what the problem is? Your Ma hasn't acknowledged the fact that you are now an adult and should be treated as one - with respect. I have to admit I fell into the same trap but think I'm over it now and sometimes feel more the junior (but not a lot).
As Kav says your dialogue is brilliant and worthy of turning into a play or a least a sketch. Nothing is ever wasted.
BTW Kav my husband and his bro rowed at Oxford and it tends to develope you down one side:)

11:59 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I knew your interest in euthanasia was not entirely altruistic.

ps how come Ethyline escapes niece/nephew duties?

12:01 p.m.  
Blogger Kav said...

PI, does that mean they walk in circles all the time?

12:15 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

I know a good word for your mother.

2:00 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Etheline escapes because Etheline is clever and also her house is mostly white and also the children don't like going there-especially the boy.
Major, 'Big boned' is two words.
Pat, I'm sure you're just dahling to your children, I won't believe any of them ever broke a phone over you.
JPT-I'll rip my tongue clean from my head if I do.
Kav- well, you should have joined regardless of what they said, I'' bet you would have loved it.

2:22 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Yikes! Your mother is, indeed, quite a nasty piece of work.

Next time she criticizes your exercise habits, you should say, "Well, I want to avoid obesity as long as I can."

3:19 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I do say that sort of thing all the time, but that just leads to the 'oh it's well for some.' and the water/tablet/highbloodpressure retention spiel. Vile.
I'm telling you I'm adopted. It's the only possible thing I have to cling to.

3:35 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

Have you tried not engaging. I find that when my Da wants to be unreasonable, (hes not bad at all mostly a charming nice man, but he is of his generation, and would never admit that one of his offspring would ever know more than him about anything in the world, ever), if I just don't engage he doesn't know what to do with him self and all ends peacefully.Whereas before I would get all wound up trying to use logic and facts, (a futile effort, facts phfhhhhh), and just end up pissed off and angry.

8:26 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I used to try John, now I just go for the full frontal 'You're starting to piss me off.'
Truth is even when I used to attempt to engage her OR shut my yap, it bothered the life out of her and she'd try find some other way under my skin.
All right for her, she's off her trolley on Xanex half the time, what do I have to combat her? Phone throwing?
It's beyond pathetic.

9:12 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

One day i'm coming to Ireland, I'm shipping my mother down from the Hebrides, and we're going to have a Mammy-Off.

Categories will be General Irritation; Freeform Irritation; Irritation on A Specific Topic; and Wo's the Batshit Craziest.

I warn you, my mother's at the top of her game.

The danger is that they'll get along famously with each other and swap irritating mother tips.

10:12 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Sweet Jesus, could you imagine.
'And then she said this to me, that was 1983, oh my, I thought I'd never get over it...more tea? Do you like jellybabies? NOT THE GREEN! Ohh, sorry, did I make you jump. Wait 'til I tell you about her carry-on in first year...'

10:25 p.m.  
Anonymous Me said...

Categories will be General Irritation; Freeform Irritation; Irritation on A Specific Topic; and Wo's the Batshit Craziest.

Ha! How I laughed!

Also: lip pursing; conveying what an unsatisfactory offspring you are, purely by the tone of the silence on the phone (believe me, it is possible!); "oh, if you HAVEN'T TIME" - spoken capital letters (also very possible); sentences beginning "would you not ..." - generally involving an aspect of your life that you are actually quite happy with; realising that you sound like a tightly coiled spring / 13 year old in your responses - and not being able to do anything to stop it.

12:03 a.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Another category, that probably only Northeast Yanks will get:

"why doncha evah caaawwllll meeee?"

2:23 a.m.  
Blogger Mairéad said...

My mother was great. She still annoyed me as I tried to kick free and grow up though. I think it's natural. You're right to speak up, you'd choke otherwise.
You're going to throw the phone at me now when I say this, FMC, but I think ye don't get on because you're very close and love each other very much. If you didn't care - well, you wouldn't care...
My mother-in-law, now she's just evil, evil, evil. She barred me from her house years ago because I stood up to her. Great. Suits me. See, I don't care about her, so I don't care.

7:59 p.m.  
Anonymous Me said...

"why doncha evah caaawwllll meeee?" - translates into "you never ring me" (there is a universal Mother language); despite phone messages left, and short reasonably frequent calls. Not to mention blue-eyed once a month phonecall brother!

"because you're very close and love each other very much." - sometimes I wonder - more that she knows me well enough to barb at sensitive things? or, deep down, are we really alike (perish the thought!). or are some of her frustrations taken out on me (via the your cousin/our neighbour's daughter are doing blah etc). hhmmm...

3:32 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Mairéad! Your mother banned you from the house? Her son's wife? Banned?! How can she do that? Dear lord as bad as my mother is- and she really is terrible- she would never impose a ban on any of her sibling's partners. NEVER!
ME maybe, but not the paramour.

9:47 a.m.  
Blogger Mairéad said...

I know! She's horrible.

5:34 p.m.  
Anonymous BB McPhee said...

Overall I think that my mother is so full of spite and nastiness because she should not have had children full stop. Unfortunately she considered this her main priority (getting a husband and producing kids) but it so obviously is the source of all her hatred and bile in life. She is odd though as she has to focus on babies etc to emphasise to me what a waste of space I am (I have not married and do not want children). Every neighbour who has a grandkid gets talked about endlessly even if she knows the person only mildly - their child is WONDERful for having had a B A B EEEEEEE!
I also try not to engage when her nastiness starts up - even when it is in the midst of me trying to do something to help her.

4:10 p.m.  

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