Caller: I know we talked about it before and you said you didn’t want to do this…But I’d like to fly you down to
from December 23rd to 28th. Orlando
Me: Mmmm, no, I don’t want to do that.
Caller: I’ll buy your ticket. I really really want you to come.
Me: No, it’s not about the money. I am just not willing to go to
for Christmas. Orlando
Caller: Oh, I’m so disappointed!
Me: I know that, Mom, and I’m sorry, but I’m not going to.
Some days I am not sure if a lifetime of dealing with my mother is what shaped me into a dominatrix, or if being a dominatrix is what enables me to deal with my mother. Either way, I am now going to vent about her a bit. No sexy today, just family dynamics. Leave now if you’re not interested.
The usual disclaimers: my mom is a wonderful person. I love her. By all rights she should have sold me to the gypies as a child, but she refrained from doing so in spite of what I’m sure was strong provocation. She loves me very much. I appreciate all that. You can employ the Search box in the upper left corner to read all the nice things I have said about my dear mamma over the years I’ve been blogging.
However…she is a steamroller. A five-foot, 110-pound steamroller, but a steamroller just the same. And if you don’t push back, she will roll all over you, baby. She’ll do it in the most loving and enlightened way possible, you understand, because my mom is – you have to love this – a therapist. I’m not kidding. And she’s not the kind of therapist who just nods and says things like, “How does that make you feel?” No, she’s of the Dr. Phil school, wherein she will tell you what you’re doing that’s not working and what you need to do to fix it. She expects you to do it, too. My mother is rather like Napoleon in a
’s tunic – if Napoleon had had a Master’s degree in emotional manipulation. Chico
Whoops, did I say emotional manipulation? I meant to say: she expresses her feelings very clearly. And she can think of lots of very good reasons why you should do what she thinks is best. I am sure her clients make rapid progress, because she has an intense energy and she’s rather compelling when you’re in the room with her. Once she decides that she wants something, part of her brain will work ceaselessly on the problem, creating and examining possible solutions to the obstacle, until she gets what she wants. Those are traits I’ve been accused of inheriting, and I can think of worse characteristics. But it means that I have to be very straightforward with my mother about my wishes. Polite evasions will not suffice, because she’ll come back with an answer for whatever smoke screens I throw out.
And I definitely do not wish to spend Christmas in
Orlando, which is the ugliest and most sterile bit of . (I’m sorry, Florida people, but you know it’s true. I grew up in Orlando Tampa, I know . And Florida is terrible. Even Orlando , a strong contender for horribleness, at least has the ocean nearby.) But my brother works for Disney, and my mother has lately decided that she would go visit him for Christmas this year, and that I should come down there. This in spite of the fact that I traveled last year, and it’s someone else’s turn this year. The idea of leaving my home, and my sweethearts, to go sleep on my brother’s lumpy fold-out couch is only minimally appealing at any time. But Christmas week in Mousetown? It’s absolutely insane – tourists overrun the place, it’s like a zombie attack. Zombie families, I should say. You can’t go anywhere or do anything in any sort of peace. I’d rather have my brain eaten than wait in line for a wobbly table in Appleby’s while sleep-deprived and over-stimulated toddlers scream and strew cracker crumbs six inches from elbow. Jacksonville
Never mind the fact that my mother loves nothing as much as a bargain on airfares. I shudder to think of the tickets she’d buy me. My mother would purchase airline tickets flying from
Atlanta to Seattle via if she could save fifty bucks. To be fair, she does this when buying tickets for herself, too. Talk about zombies - I have seen her stumble off planes looking like one after some hellish series of connections and delays and stopovers. This woman is not poor. Quite the contrary. And if there is one thing that money can make infinitely more pleasant, it’s air travel. Yet when I suggest to her for the forty-seventh time that she should get a non-stop ticket, she tells me all about the great deal she got on FlyingSardineCan.com or wherever. This baffles me. New Zealand
Okay, after having written this little rant, I can feel my indignation jag subsiding. I love my mom, and it’s okay for her to want what she wants. But she’s the one who taught me that it’s also okay for me not to be willing to give it to her. This is why I laugh whenever people try to coax and wheedle me into doing something I don’t want to do. They have no idea I was trained by a professional.