After seven full days of solitude filled with prayer, meditation, self reflection, and mindfulness, I have been catapulted back to reality. The Olds have returned, and, as a special bonus, my sister is visiting. My solace is that she brought her husband with her, plus, now there are people here who know how to put water in the Keurig. The downside is, being alone has lowered my defenses and this can be dangerous when certain people are around.
For example, here is one of my sister’s favorite activities during her visits:
She steals my cell phone and then posts as me, on Facebook. So far she has only done it once this visit. Usually she manages at least two to three posts a visit, of varying degrees of revoltingosity. Topics are usually related to bodily functions or sudden, insane political changes of heart. Or both.
The worst part is, the minute she hits “post”, approximately 75 of my closest friends comment “Hi Laura! Guess Wendy hasn’t learned to use a passcode yet! You are the funniest person ever and I am glad you aren’t MY sister! Keep up the good work!”
Or some such nonsense.
This encourages her, and is not helpful. It also means that she is so pleased with herself that she becomes almost unbearable.
My only recourse in these situations is to bond with her husband, who is a lovely, patient man. Very patient. Extremely so. Unbelievably, even. He enjoys hearing stories of her childhood, for they give him many insights as to how early in life she developed certain character traits. He can then use this information to understand and even tolerate some of her strange behavioral quirks, such as when she insists on wearing one piece of clothing for weeks on end. Otherwise he might not know that she has been doing this kind of thing for a good 30 years.
When she was maybe 4, she developed an attachment to vintage slips from the 50s. No. Do not ask me why we had such items of clothing in a 1980s household, for I know not. I merely accept, and turn it over to Jesus, as one does. At least Jesus saw fit to supply us with two slips, for she wore one every day, as a dress, for about a year, and this meant that we could wash one while she wore the other.
And, the slips were actually much less startling than the furry hot pink jacket she has been wearing now for a week, both in and outside the house. It looks like it has a fever, which I assume makes it feel even warmer than it is.
As if guarding my phone with my life was not enough, I now also have to deal with the capricious and often petty mood changes of the Olds. I was glad to see them for at least an hour. But then, one of them got a little obnoxious while she was washing the greasy roasting pan I cooked a chicken in for a very small dinner party on Friday. While she scraped the bits of carrot and potato out of the bottom of the pan [along with quite a lot of hardened chicken fat and skin] she continually sighed and muttered to herself. I did not need her negative attitude clouding up my balanced aura and inner peace I achieved last week, and I told her so on my way through the kitchen.
After that, she repeatedly banged together what sounded like the baking sheet from Wednesday night, the pasta and sauce pans from Monday, and the inside of the rice cooker from Thursday as loudly as possible.
I think she may have been doing it on purpose.
Even so, I asked her very nicely to please keep it down because I was going to take a nap next door in the living room. She did not even have the decency to reply. As I settled down on the couch, though, I am pretty sure that I heard her mumble more words I did not realize were in her lexicon. I have rarely been called things like that, even when I deserved it. But, I am a generous person, so I did not mention her comments when I shouted for quiet from the next room. After all, I had had to get to at the crack of 10am having only had 9 hours of sleep, and I was worn out. I had fed the dog, myself, and watched seven episodes of Criminal Minds so far; was it too much to ask that someone, who had spent the past 8 hours just lounging around in cars and airports and airplanes, shoulder a part of my burden??
Apparently people who have been traveling since dawn feel like they can just march in the door, drop their suitcases, not bring me a thoughtful thank you gift for all of my help holding down the fort, and proceed to spend the rest of the day lying around sighing about how exhausted THEY are. And of course my sister always takes their side, because she thinks I am horrible and selfish and ungrateful. I have told her that the true glory of humanity is how we are all different and each of us is a different and fascinating assemblage of behaviors and emotions that are all equal in God’s eyes. She said that this would be more convincing if I were not such a godless atheist that I even got kicked out of a Unitarian Universalist church, but I told her that she needed to open her mind to Possibility or some kind of crap like that.
Have just realized that I do not know where my cell phone is. Oh no.
One response to “The Returning and also the Visiting”
I can’t imagine there are words you haven’t been called. Didn’t we have that competition in 8th grade to use ALL THE WORDS?
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