10 March 2009

Soul... ebbing... away...

I went home to London to visit my parents last weekend. As usual it was fine, and it's always nice to see them, and they made a particular point of saying how much they enjoy my visits home. It "gives them a lift" they said.

While that's a kind thing to say and I'm pleased I cheer them up, I couldn't help thinking that actually it may give them a lift, but I always come away rather depressed. It is a bit boring at their house, which isn't the end of the world, I'm sure lots of parents' houses are like that. But on top of that it's also rather soul-sucking.

I think it's the bickering really. Mum snipes and nitpicks at Dad a lot, and I know it's because she's feeling ill and depressed, but it's still quite horrible to watch. I pull her up on it from time to time when she gets really out of line, but Dad must have the patience of a saint because he hardly ever says anything. And he does so much for her! With rarely a thank you, and usually a critical comment about why whatever he's doing is wrong. I'm reading The Devil Wears Prada at the moment, and I couldn't help thinking of Miranda Priestly.

Take this entirely average example: Dad goes and gets for her the small glass of wine she'll often have with her dinner. Does she say thank you? No.

"Did you get the wine out of the fridge first?"

"No, I forgot."

"Well it'll be too cold then won't it, you know I can't drink it cold, it gives me a stomach ache." (does it? since when?)

And rather than let this conversation continue and put up with the subsequent complaints of stomach achiness, I ended up going and getting a bowl of warm water and sitting her wine glass in it until the chill had been taken off. How ridiculous is that?? Admittedly, no-one asked me to do it, and I partly did it for my own amusement at the lengths required to satisfy her, but it's still stupid and outrageous, and my main reason for doing it was "for a quiet life". That must be my Dad's mantra actually.

So anyway, by the time I left on Sunday afternoon, the nitpicking had really worn me out. Chris always tells me I go to far too many lengths to appease her, and I know he's right, but the alternative of trying to train her into better habits just seems like too much hassle. I just hope I don't get like that when I'm older. So does Chris actually - he's already warned me of the possible consequences if I turn into my mother. He'd never let me get to that point anyway. I can see it now:

"This wine is too cold."

"Well you'll have to let it warm up then won't you? Or get your own wine next time. Or just deal with it, I'm sure two degrees isn't going to kill you, it's not liquid nitrogen you know."

So at least I know I've got a behaviour policeman to look after me.

I haven't been writing on here very often lately. I think it's because I'm using Twitter more, so I'm doing lots of small updates rather than writing these longer ones. I'll try to be better.

(Days healthy - 19)

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