awkward mom times

24 04 2009

Here is the TRUTH.  I don’t think that much about my childhood, because when I do, it’s confusing to me.  Every now and then, I get the idea that I’d like to get to know my family better, and then I come to Goldsboro (hometown; home of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base…  a joke so obvious I didn’t get it until 11th grade) to give it a shot.  I always presume it’s going to be a relatively easy task, because I’m a good communicator in general, but then it is extremely the opposite when I arrive.  Particularly with MOM.

Mom confuses me.  I don’t really remember her talking to me about much growing up, and she doesn’t seem to want to talk about much with me now.  What she does want to talk about is usually straight off the ol’ TV (she’s newly retired, which has exacerbated her TV junkie behavior).  For instance, when I told her I was soon to drive across the country and would be stopping to hike in various places, especially (hopefully) the Grand Canyon, she told me to be extra careful because there was special on a few weeks before where a couple who met a fellow hiker who invited them to have some food, but they had other plans so couldn’t, but then he met another couple who accepted his invitation and he shot and killed both of them.  Or the time I was shooting basketball in the driveway and left the garage door open, and she upbraided me because she’d seen on the news how criminals cruise neighborhoods for open garages, so they can see if there’s anything worth stealing inside, and how I was making us a target for crime.  Or the time I was trying to buy a record off the internet and the server was down so I couldn’t send payment, and she said she wouldn’t be surprised if someone had stolen my identity and I didn’t have enough money to pay for it anymore.

You get the point.  Sorry, there are just a lot of good examples.  It’s really sad to me, actually.  My brother also has her convinced that everyone who walks down the street in her neighborhood is either on their way to buy crack or is running supplies to make crystal meth.  I think she thinks her home is the last safe place on earth.  I try to talk her out of watching so much TV and coming out to do stuff sometimes.  The other week, I told her I’d take her to the zoo, but she said it was too cold and the animals wouldn’t be lively.  I offered again this morning, and she said it was too hot.

The point is, mom and I never seem to be able to talk about anything.  Particularly about topics of a personal nature.  She gets really uncomfortable when talking about girls I date especially.  My previous girlfriend, she only met twice, and you’d have to know her well to appreciate how nervous she got.  The second time was infinitely better, though, at the seafood restaurant, she did, as the girl was looking over the menu, blurt out that she should “have anything she wanted because she was so skinny and it wouldn’t surprise her to know that she was anorexic.”  When I laughed and promised that the girl definitely didn’t have an eating disorder, she attacked my lack of concern a little angrily.  “What?!  It’s a major problem with girls these days!”

Anyway, I broke up with said girl a few months ago, and I didn’t intend not to tell my family, but they never ask about anything, and I never found myself really feeling like bringing up the topic and then answering a bunch of questions pertaining to the breakup’s connection to her eating problems (which, again, don’t exist).  So it never came up.  The family, you know, they had to know something was amiss, because I haven’t hung out in Goldsboro for more than a couple of days since college, and I’ve been here for a few weeks now.  At some point, I said something, I forget what, that set the gears in motion, though; I could tell when mom “knew” something was up but didn’t know how to broach the topic.  And I, on account of a family-borne communication deficiency, for some reason refused to help her out.  I let her twist in the wind and eventually work out a way to discuss it.  I was NO HELP.

Now, the ex has my cat, and she has to have, him, my beloved buddy, because I don’t have anywhere I can keep him.  So mom rather cleverly started by mentioning him.  “When’s the last time you saw Wesley, Doug?”  –A good while ago, mom (no help!).  “Wesley’s not even going to recognize him next time you get down (Charleston, SC, where she lives) there to see him.”  –I think he will.  He lived with me for years, and we shared a bed (no help!).  Yesterday, she even said “When’s the next time you’re going down to Charleston?”  Pretty direct, for mom.  Still, I was NO HELP… “I have no idea.  It’ll probably be a while since I’m about to leave on my cross-country trip.”

So I was kind of jerky.  I don’t know why.  I didn’t want to talk about it with my awkward family–that’s the best explanation I have.  But I got my come-uppins tonight.  Mom got dressed and ready to go out to dinner, which she never does.  I thought it strange, but I played along.  It’s really the only time we ever face each other and have to talk for more than 5 minutes at a time.  So we went Sizzler!

The conversation was halting and strange, and then we came to this:

Me:  I was reading about how the human brain is related to lower animal brains today, and what separates us mostly is the makeup of the outer layers and their highly specialized functions.

Mom:  I don’t believe we came from lizards or apes or any of that shit, and anyone who tries to tell me different is full of it.

(awkward silence)

Me:  This tea is watered down.  Or really weak to begin with.

Mom:  So are you still dating Heather?  (the girl’s name was Lauren)

Me:  Umm.  No.  Not since 1997.  (this is true.  I dated a Heather from 1996-7.  Still, it’s NO HELP)

Mom:  What’s her name?  I don’t know who Heather is.

Me:  Yes you do.  She’s from high school, and I dated her in college for a while.  You met her many times.

Mom:  Didn’t leave an impression.  Are you still dating the girl I’m talking about?  You know who I mean.

Me:  Lauren.  And no.  Not at all.

Mom:  Why not at all?

Me:  Why at all?

Mom, looking away:  My tea’s weak too.  The tea is usually good here.

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2 responses

24 04 2009
all is on

I bet it’s because we listen to so much rock and roll.

28 04 2009
Emily

This is so heartbreakingly hilariously painfully real. I laughed and I cried. I was touched (not in a dirty way). By the way, my grandmother watches Fox News all day long, simultaneously peeking out her front window, expecting Mexicans to attack her house at any moment.

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