I don’t know where things went wrong, but that was incredibly stressful.
My dad and I just went out to eat with my mom, who treated us to a lovely meal at the Cheesecake Factory. It was horrible.
Usually I can articulate where things fell apart, but this time, I’m just like… uhh… what a massacre! But, like, I don’t know what went wrong.
Well, my mom was triggering my paranoia by having a conversation with the server at the start of the meal. He was explaining to me that the salad I like was unavailable, and before I could choose something else, she jumped in with, “Oh no, do you have my salad? I want this one,” and on and on and on. Now, anyone who knows me knows that it’s bad to have lengthy conversations with the servers. So while I was patiently waiting for his attention again, I shriveled up into a ball of paranoia and tried to disappear. (It didn’t work, just… in case any of your were wondering.)
After we ordered, my paranoia was “turned on” and couldn’t be turned off. Every time our poor server reappeared, I cringed and faced away from him. I’m just too painfully aware of how visible we are to servers.
But we can’t ask my mom not to have lengthy conversations with servers. It’s always gone unspoken that it’s best not to do that. That’s why she does it. She enjoys triggering me.
Behind our booth was a man seated alone, eating alone. I was convinced he was eavesdropping, so I recited my schtick about how I wish I could bust out of witness protection already and be Sarah Lancaster again. This is what I do when I’m convinced someone’s eavesdropping. My mom seemed concerned (she doesn’t know about my witness protection routine… well, she does now), and I kept glancing over my shoulder to see if he’d left yet. He finally disappeared. By that point, my paranoia was impossible to come back from.
My mom tried to help (I’m being sarcastic here) by asking my dad if he sees his diabetes doctor often enough. He didn’t hear her question. He didn’t hear anything, to get technical. [Facepalm.]
Meg’s mother: “Phil, do you see your diabetes doctor often?”
Meg’s dad: “Yeah, I’ll have the fish and chips.”
Meg’s mother: “No, your DIABETES DOCTOR!”
Meg’s dad: “Oh yeah? What about her? Is she here?”
Meg’s mother: “How often do you see her?”
Meg’s dad: “Once a year.”
Meg’s mother: “But… but… but… you’ll die!! You must see her more often! Don’t you care about your health? You’ll leave Meg without anyone to care for her.” She turned to me. I cringed. “Your brother had one of those horrible things happen to him recently, just like you did.” (She was referring to kidney stones, I believe.) “He said you told him to drink lots of water. Is that true?”
Meg: “No.” I stared at her blankly.
Meg’s mother: “Whaaaaat? He said you told him to drink lots of water!”
Meg: “No.” (I told him to try lemonade. Perhaps my mother wanted me to expand upon that, but my mind was gone.) “No, I didn’t tell him that.”
If I was being recalcitrant at this point, my mom was unfazed. She’s rather obtuse at times. Or, at any rate, she pretends to be.
Meg’s mother: “Phil, if you don’t see your diabetes doctor more often, you’ll die.”
Meg’s dad: “Becky, I can call her if things go wrong.”
Meg’s mother: “How would you know? You never test your blood sugar.”
Meg’s dad: “I just know.”
Meg’s mother: “Is this because your bloog sugar level has spiked in the past?” [See what she did there? She led him right into a trap. The woman’s an obscene genius.] She turned to me again. I shuddered and cowered away. “So, darling daughter, what was the best meal you ate in Prague?”
Meg: “Uh…” And of course my mind went blank. “Oh, yeah, we went to the candy store. It was built into a rock quarry. Sonya said it was a fake quarry, but I thought it was amazing anyway. It had loads of candy. What a great place!”
Meg’s mother: “And Sonya’s between boyfriends?” Her face withered with disapproval.
Meg: “Okay, you can put it that way if you wish.” I shrugged. “Anyway, you should’ve seen all the candy.”
Meg’s mother: “Well, you know what I mean. She’s single!”
Meg: “Yeah, well, she’s divorced, but single, yes.”
Meg’s mother: “And why did she get divorced again? Leave out no detail. I also want to know all about her finances, her retirement plan, and her parents’ level of income.”
Meg: [Deep breath.] “Mother, she got divorced because her marriage ended. I could be wrong, but I think that’s the reason behind most divorces. She earns money from her job and pays the bills with said money. I have no clue how well-off her parents are, but I suspect they’re doing okay. Do you want me to ask her?”
Meg’s mother: “Darling, no, of course not! I want you to find out casually and report back.” She pinched my cheek. “Now, would my special little girl like dessert?”
I’m just sort of blanking on what happened after that point, but it was a massacre. Ugh.