Top five irritating things about my mother
She talks loudly and constantly all day long, giving a running commentary on everything she does. And this isn't just talking to herself: she requires those around her to pay attention and respond from time to time, otherwise she gets upset that no one listens to her.
She has a habit of asking a question, then halfway through the first sentence of your answer she says something completely unrelated that cuts you off, and then moves onto a different topic. When she doesn't do this, she interrupts the first few words of your reply with "Eh?" and you have to start again. Sample conversation:
"What did you do at university this morning?"
"Well, I went to a --"
"Do you know, I haven't been able to find my glasses since I put them down after breakfast and I think they might be in the bathroom."
"Actually I saw them --"
"Never mind, I'm just going to dash off to the letterbox to see if your mail has arrived."
She refers to all Asian people as "Chinese" unless they are carrying a camera, in which case they are "Japanese". When I suggested a couple of days ago that the "nice Chinese man in the grocer's" might not have been Chinese, but maybe from one of the other 30-something countries in Asia, she replied that she thought he probably was Chinese, because "They work in places like that". Then for the rest of the evening every time she mentioned him (which was a lot, because she had to keep retelling the story about how he tried to sell her more cake than she wanted to buy), she called him, "the Chinese man, no wait, we aren't allowed to call him Chinese, are we? Because he is actually from a town three kilometres out of the south-western province of Korea -- oh, is that North Korea or South Korea? Maybe we should check with StyleyGeek since she knows all about Asians." Then giggle giggle to show she was only teasing. (I don't take teasing very well, which is probably a character flaw, but if I show I'm upset she then teases me about not having a sense of humour.)
Despite her very tight budget, in honour of which I have made an effort to take her mainly to the free tourist attractions, she makes a beeline straight for the gift shop at each place and spends wildly on tacky souvenirs. Case in point: yesterday we had just an hour at the botanic gardens before we had to head off to meet Geekman, but she spent half of that time in the gift shop and came out with three cards, a fluffy toy kangaroo, five fridge magnets, several books, some exorbitantly priced handcream and a notepad with a picture of a labrador on the front (because it reminds her of her neighbour's dog). Then she complains about how expensive it is to go on holiday and wonders where all her money has gone.
She points people out on the street and comments in a loud stage-whisper about their weight, how badly they are dressed, their ethnicity, or speculates about their sexuality. If we suggest that the person in question might have heard her, she says that they ought to know they are making a spectacle of themselves and if they didn't want comments they wouldn't eat so much, dress that way (or, presumably, be so aggressively Foreign).
Top five good qualities my mother has
She makes friends easily and continually. She is happy to go up to complete strangers and start asking about their lives and telling them about hers. Although maybe 60% of people approached like this run off in terror, the other 40% turn out to be lonely and glad of the attention. She makes a lot of bored salespeople, people at bus-stops and random old ladies feel good about themselves this way.
She is not afraid to stand up for herself when necessary. She always gets a good deal in shops or her money back. She doesn't let herself or her family be taken advantage of. Con-artists, scammers and corrupt officials, beware!
She bounces back from adversity quickly and easily. This year she has been through hell (including deaths and near-deaths in the family, Dad leaving her for another woman, and going from a good income with a big house and nice cars to living on welfare in a one-bedroom apartment), but she is not only surviving, but looking towards the future and planning how great the rest of her life will be.
She is creative. She can paint and draw, makes nice jewelry and writes beautiful poetry.
Despite the things I've complained about above and in other posts on this blog, I still look forward to her visits.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Top five irritating things about my mother