My mother, ladies and gentlemen, is a [bleep]. For those of you who followed my old blog, I’m sure I don’t need to convince you. These were her antics (in short-list form) from today, when I went to take her to her doctor’s appointment:
- She harassed me about my birth name, [M-word]. She had an old social security card of mine laying out on her mantel with [M-word] on it instead of Meg. I told her it could be shredded because I have a newer one at home with Meg on it. She said, “Yes, I guess you had to call social security and get it changed, right?” And I told her how awful the lady on the phone was when I called, and how she kept gushing, “Oh, my, but [M-word]’s such a beautiful name? [M-word], [M-word], [M-word]. Why would you want to change your name from [M-word]?” And my mother said, “Oh, my poor, sweet, immature daughter. That woman wasn’t being mean. She was making conversation.”
I should have fled her condo at that moment, but I’d promised to take her to her appointment.
- During the drive to the office, she kept asking if I’d heard from Teri, my brother’s ex-girlfriend. And she knows from past conversations that it’s a sore subject for me. Teri’s pretty much disappeared from my life. So my mom was like, “Do you ever hear from Teri?” And I said, “No,” rather pointedly. And she said, “Oh? Has she stopped having anything to do with you?” And I said, “Yes,” again rather pointedly. And she said, “Oh, alas, alas, it’s so sad. I really cared about her. I should call her.” And I rolled my eyes. Teri was too nice to ever let Mother know she didn’t like her (and God bless Teri for trying), but she would not want to hear from Mommy now. Who would?
- So then, she noticed that I was going the long way. This was strategic on my part to keep my stress levels down and not have to do scary merges with Mother in the car. So she made this sly insult about it. “Oh, you’re going this way? I thought you’d take the expressway.” I muttered something about how that wasn’t going to happen.
- Then we reached the doctor’s office, and I found a parking spot. Guess who wasn’t pleased with the parking spot and insisted I park closer? If you guessed my mom, then you’re correct. As soon as I backed out of my parking spot, another driver swooped in and stole it. Why? Because there were no closer spots. And I was about to crash into the parked cars behind and around me as I struggled to back out.
- She crept at a snail’s pace into the office and insisted on holding my hand. She knows about how toxic her energy is to me, and she knows how polluted I get by feeling her. Often, she laughs and tries to force me to hug her, and I have to flee. She’ll laugh harder, as if it’s cute of me to be against hugging her. But anyway, we finally got inside.
- There was a meltdown at the sign-in kiosk. Now, granted, a sign-in-kiosk at the doctor’s office is about the stupidest thing imaginable, but my mother deliberately chooses healthcare providers who will add a bit more drama to her day. It’s very skillful of her. My eye doctor has a small office, no crowds, no wait, no ridiculous kiosk. Her eye doctor is hidden in the back somewhere behind twenty receptionists who aren’t busy signing anyone in. Instead, they’re just sending everyone to the kiosks.
- My mom picked a kiosk with a line, choosing to reject the nearby kiosk that was free. It was a mere three feet farther away, people. The man at the kiosk finished up and sat down, and I approached it with her. She had to get out her driver’s license and her insurance card to be scanned. This was the start of the meltdown. She couldn’t get her purse opened to find her cards. They were in her tight wallet pouch, which was in an obscure and zipped-up pocket of her purse, and she couldn’t tug them out. Somehow, the moment passed without tears. I got her signed in, at which point she didn’t believe she was signed in. She started pestering me. “How can they know I signed in? I never told them my name.” I just ignored her and sat down far, far away in the corner.
- She didn’t join me, instead choosing to harass the unoccupied receptionists with questions about the kiosk. Then, another woman called her over, so Mother waved for me to join her. It was the person whom you pay. She asked for Mother’s copay and for a small payment that apparently isn’t covered by insurance companies. This was where the second meltdown occurred. (And I’m not counting all the tears that were shed in her condo before we left, although I now see them as portends of doom.) She burst into hysterical sobbing because she couldn’t get her damn credit card out of her purse. I parked my eyes in the permanent “up” position and refused to quit rolling them. The payment woman had to get out a huge box of tissues while I stewed.
At that point, Mommy got called back, and I got the hell out of there. I was supposed to pick her up an hour and a half later, which I did.
- Upon returning, I found her with a young man who was helping her try on readers eyeglasses. She asked me to pay for her, so I took her credit card and went over to his desk while she sat in a waiting area. I don’t remember how it happened this time, but she wound up standing next to me at the guy’s desk, sobbing her eyes out. “Where’s my prescription?” she wailed. “I don’t know where it went. Oh why, God, why?” I groaned and held it up. “You have it?” she sobbed. I nodded. “What about my receipt? Do you have my receipt?” I raised my other hand, which held her receipt. She made a huge fuss about getting them put into her purse, and then we left, walking away at a snail’s pace.
- We got out to the parking lot, and Mommy lamented that it was raining (it was a light rain) and that she didn’t want to get all wet. At this point, my normal good manners had flown the coop, so I told her rather abruptly that she was darned well going to get wet, and I didn’t care. So then when we got outside, she refused to step off the curb on her own. “You can do it!” I cried out as I rushed over to unpark my car. No, she couldn’t do it. I hardly understood the issue. I thought she meant she didn’t want to wait on the curb herself, because I was exhausted and confused. So at any rate, I drove over to pick her up, and she appeared to be facing away from me. So I honked. (She was two feet away… on the curb.) No response. I honked again. No response. A kind passerby pointed to my car and told Mommy that I was honking at her. “I can’t step off the curb!” she wailed. “Oh, I have no one to help me.” This man helped her into the car.
- I started driving. At this point, the plan was for me to bring her here for dinner. My dad made chili, and I’d spent a week cleaning the house. She was meant to finally meet my pup, Big Woof. But I was royally pissed off. “You owe me two-hundred dollars for today,” I said, “and eighty-seven dollars reimbursement for the stuff I shipped for you.” She got angry and accusatory. How dare I snippily ask her for money?! “Just take me home,” she wailed. “And tell me all about how horrible I am.” I did take her home, even though it meant driving across town and back in the rain during rush hour. I didn’t tell her how horrible she is, because I almost crashed trying to merge onto the highway.
- She asked if I had the tracking info for the stuff I’ve shipped. I told her yes, and that I insured her Mary Lou Hess collection for a thousand dollars. (She’d begged me to ship it carefully.) She freaked out. “What?! Why’d you waste my money like that? Her artwork is irreplaceable.” Well, at this point, if her artwork doesn’t get delivered, she’s not getting the thousand bucks. Oh, hell, no. That’ll be Meg’s money. I did, however, tell her that her favorite artist has a web site from where you can order her prints. [Eyeroll.]
- She sobbed some more and said, “At least show me a little sympathy!” I told her I had shown her a little, and that was hours ago. She wailed, “You haven’t been brain-damaged and had strokes and grown old!” I didn’t flinch. The thing about my mother is that she’s been a chronic victim and energetic vampire for my whole life. The old-age excuse is just that–an excuse. And not a credible one by any means.
- Then, after I dropped off her sorry [bleep], I braced myself to drive home under the bad driving conditions. (I don’t do rush hour.) While I was driving home, Mommy preemptively called my dad and acted concerned about me, as if I’d been having a bad day and projecting my issues all over her. My dad bought into it hook, line, and sinker. Until I got home and set him straight. I was so upset I couldn’t eat even a bite of his chili. He wound up buying me chocolates.
I told my dad about the ordeal as he ate his chili. He said, “I’m glad it was you and not me. I’d rather take a beating than have to escort your mother to the doctor.” Given my violent, abusive childhood, it was hard to believe he could mean that, but there you go.
We discussed how frantic she is over having not yet received her social security tax document for last year. I told my dad that she’d had her Louisville mail forwarded to New England, and her New England mail forwarded to Louisville, thus perplexing the post office into not knowing what to do with her mail. And furthermore, her home health aide left right when I arrived today, so why couldn’t she have taken Mommy to the doctor? My mom magnificently manufactures all this garbage because she enjoys destroying me for kicks. You know why? Because she’s a [bleep]. Oh well.