Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ex. Asper. Ated.

Every day, I remind myself more of my mother. During trial prep I heard myself say to my lawyer boys, several times, "Everything's fine," and "Don't worry, I'll handle it." Those are Mom-isms from way back. Then just a few days ago I called my sister and said, "Your mother is driving me crazy." Which is, of course, exactly the thing my mother does when she's annoyed with my father. It's "Your father is driving me crazy" when she's annoyed with him. When she's pleased with him, it's always, "Dad" or, sometimes, "That man of ours." I took a look at myself in the mirror and I'm rapidly becoming a composite of both parents. Mom's face with Dad's hair. Well, that's a cool combination, anyway. Dad's hair is very thick and, though shot through with grey, still all there. And then there's my nose. It's my nose. Nobody in the family has a nose like mine. So I have this original, classic nose. But I digress.

I have a sick relative. My mom used to be a nurse, and I guess once you're a nurse you're always a nurse, kind of like there's no such thing as an ex-Marine. So my mom is taking care of this relative. This is a relative I've spent a fair amount of time with, gone on a number of trips with, etc. And I'm exasperated out of all reason that nobody will tell me what the hey is going on. Or rather, the persons who know won't tell me what the hey is going on. Neither will the relative. Every time I'm on the phone with said relative, the conversation is always hello, how ya doin', fine and goodbye. Every time I'm on the phone with Mom and I ask about said relative, she says, "Everything's fine" or "Don't worry, I'll handle it" and changes the subject. The more pointed I get with my questions, the more obvious the changes of subject. As in, take the hint, Jen. I've always been lousy about taking hints.

It could be that nobody actually knows, that all the test results are coming back negative or, worse, confusing. It could also be that this relative doesn't want anyone talking about it, hence the radio silence. If somebody would just tell me that, I'd probably be fine with it. (Probably. Not necessarily. I'm not promising anything here. I'm just saying probably.) It's the fact that nobody's leveling with me that's driving me up the wall.

I should, of course, be used to this by now. I'm Scandinavian. Way before everything else of interest about me (gay, female, a little loopy, American, writer, paralegal), being Scandinavian is the brightest color in the palette. It's the religion (Lutheran), the background, the whole emotional quality of my life. Scandinavian folk don't talk about anything Serious head-on. We. Just. Can't. Do. That. We hint, we evade, we say "That's nice" a lot. (And then we spend years in therapy wondering why in hell we're wrenched with chronic anxiety all the time. Go figure.) Trouble with me is, I didn't actually spend my entire formative years in North Dakota, and I got exposed to normal-type people who, you know, YELL when they're angry and CRY when they're sad and LAUGH when they're happy and weird stuff like that. Small wonder I'm so mixed up. But anyway. I have much less patience for Chronic Evasion Syndrome than my parents do. Hence, source of conflict. Hence, serious frick'n exasperation.

So I'm reduced to picking up fragments of the story wherever I can, piecing together hints and allegations and things left unsaid. I'm almost to the point of calling another relative, who would probably know more, but I kind of hate to do that because even though I know this person would know something, I'd just be calling because I know this person would know something, which is a rotten reason to be calling somebody, even though I'd also be calling to say hi.

Dilemmas, dilemmas. Is it too late to go back in time and be born Mexican-American?

Cinematic brilliance alert! Go see "Unstoppable." Awesome movie with an unbelievably cool chase scene, even if it's between two vehicles that are unable to make turns and top out at around 70 mph. Highly recommended!


wolfwhosings said...

Heh. Know what you mean. On top of my wiring, I too was brought up in what I call the Vulcan Catholic Church.

As a funny book I ran across once said, "Lutherans don't have confession because God knows what you did and doesn't want to talk about it."

Jen said...

Hee! That's brilliant - or, as Lutherans would say, "Well, that's nice."

There was a guy at the Mensa confab last weekend lecturing on "The God Virus" (excellent book, BTW.) I told him I grew up a Lutheran in Salt Lake City. He said, "I'm so sorry."

Cele said...

A small suggestion that I suppose could backfire on you, but maybe you should throw a guilt trip to get the information you want/need.

It works with my mom... most of the time.

Jen said...

Good idea but I'll probably pass. What I'll probably have to do, much as it might suck, is be a mature grown-uppy type person and just accept it. I just hate it when that's the best among very few possible choices.