Sunday, December 02, 2012


My mother and I don't get along.

Back when I was a teenager living at home with her in Azle, Texas, I recorded a diary entry of wanting to punch through the newspaper she was holding up in front of her face. I also recorded wanting to actually punch HER in the face, which was especially disturbing to me because my father was physically abusive to both my mother and me, and I hated/hate him profoundly. And yet I also wanted to punch my mother.

I escaped in 1983 when I was 18, to go to college. The next time I was forced to live with my mother was in 2010, for 3 months, after I couldn't find a job in NYC and had to come home to Texas. She was as nasty to me for those 3 months in 2010 as she was when I was a kid. Nothing at all had changed.

What happened this last weekend was just a mirror image of the past 30 years.

For Christmas this year, I'd asked that she have a Joan Crawford art print of mine framed at an art store. Which involved me and her going to the store, and choosing the frame/matte, etc. Then she'd take it home and wrap it up and give to me on Christmas.

First, we had a huge problem getting to the art store. Shades of her being unable to drive to my birthday dinner back in August, when I nastily YELLED AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS at her because she repeatedly made wrong turn after wrong turn, despite my telling her WAY ahead of time EXACTLY where to turn...

This weekend was the first time I'd been in a car with her since August. With that August horror in mind, this time, I told her, "I'm just along for the ride! I'm so sorry for how I acted on my birthday. You get there your way. I'll just sit here and be quiet..."

My mom couldn't find the art store, though she said she knew exactly where it was. Since the store was a place where my sister-in-law had been several times, I finally suggested that my mom pull over and call my sister-in-law for directions. Nah. So we drove and drove and drove. We finally found the store. But my mom then couldn't figure out how to park her car. There was an empty space right in front of her, but... no. I bit my tongue this whole time. Didn't at all want to be the nasty person that I proved myself to be back in August. (RE her horrible driving: While we were trying to park in the art store parking lot, someone else had to HONK at her because she pulled out in front of them, almost causing a wreck.)

Once we got in the art store: We, after searching, found a ready-made 24 x 24 black frame that would fit the Joan poster that I had. But the poster still needed to be held in place by a matte or whatever (backing tape?). There was no one in the framing area to help us, so I led us to the main counter, my mom yammering all the way: "Why are we going up here? This isn't where the framing is done..." ME: "Mom! There wasn't anyone at framing; this guy up here can call someone." After the guy at the front told us to go to the framing area and that he'd call someone to help us, my mom said, "See? I told you so! This wasn't the right place." ME: "But this guy is CALLING SOMEONE to help us!"

Once in the framing area with the helper: I discussed with the guy how best to keep the poster from slipping-and-sliding within the 24 x 24 frame. My mom had earlier suggested double-sided tape. But I didn't want to ruin the poster with that. So when the store-guy suggested double-sided tape, I said "No."

My mom shut off then. Walked 10 feet away from where me and the store-guy were standing, made a creepy sour face. I asked her a couple of chit-chat questions from afar, trying to involve her, but nothing.

Me and the store-guy went off and looked at matte-ing. Which he said would cost $35. I told him I didn't want to spend $35 just on that, the double-sided tape would have to do, I suppose. MOM: "I SAID I would pay for it." ME: "But I don't think it's worth $35; I think I'll just do the double-sided tape." MOM: "I SAID I would pay for it." [BIG SIGH, SOUR FACE, DRAMATIC TURNING AWAY.]

At this point, I'd had enough. I'd dealt with her shittiness for all of my youth. I'd dealt with it again for 3 months in 2010. And I was goddamned if I had to deal with it again at this point. I snatched my Joan Crawford poster off the counter and told her, "I'm catching a bus."

I walked the near-mile to the nearest bus-stop. My hurt ankle hurt, but I didn't give a shit: "I'm done, I'm done, I'm done" is all I kept saying to myself the whole time: "She always turns everything to shit. Even a Saturday outing. I'm done with this shit."

I'd hoped for a "normal" mom-n-daughter Saturday shopping excursion, maybe a lunch after... I'd always hoped for this. I have NEVER, EVER gotten such a pleasant thing. NEVER. I'm 47 years old. I have NEVER, ever had a pleasant mom-n-daughter excursion.

I hobbled the mile to the bus-stop and sat there for a while waiting for the 320 bus that would take me back near my apartment. Mom, surprisingly, drove up after about a half-hour...How she figured out the bus-stop, no idea. I got in her car, not wanting to yell "Fuck you" to her at the bus stop.

Oddly, or not-so-oddly, the dream I had the very night before: 3 young women threw me into a room and locked me in. I was fed up at that point, yelled at them: "I never had a relationship with my mother. We never did anything together." The 3 took pity on me and let me out, but started crying in the meantime.

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