Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Once in a while I have to remember to take my Chill Pill.  This is no mean feat (as opposed to the meat feast I'd much prefer and which goes down a heckuvva lot easier) because my genetic make-up does not provide for chilling very easily.  I come from a long line of irritable, short-tempered, cantankerous, narrow-minded miserable bastards relations whose main enjoyment in life appeared to be the witnessing of someobody else's misfortune.  You could tell my Grandfather either the most sophisticated humorous tale or else the basest, simplest joke and he would no more raise one side of his lips in a smile than he would swap a pound for a Big Issue. (Sadly, yes, I also have the Tight Genes).  But if he happened to spot Mrs Cranberry from over the road slip on a piece of potato peel and fall arse over Playtex into the rest of her rotting vegetable heap, then he'd live off the image and the retelling of the vision for the next year or so.  Never mind Mrs Cranberry spent the better part of the next three months head to toe in a plaster cast, oh no, this merely served to make the story THAT much funnier.
My mother, I may have mentioned, took a particular dislike to Himself (up There) and accused Him on several occasions of Ruining Her Life.  Even now my brother and I will throw our hands up in despair and wail "Oh God, now it's RUINED!" (in jest - although...) in memory of her favourite expression.  Everything was against her.  Actually, rain mostly.  Which He is clearly in charge of.
My mother would invent scenarios in her head - which were frequently projected into her daily life and, inevitably ours.  She would expect  Bad Stuff to happen.  In fact, sometimes it felt she took a kind of perverse delight in it.  It made her right in her expectations.  "See?!  I told you it would rain.  I said it would!  Didn't I tell you?!" Weird.
And she'd smile in her victory. A crazed, wild-eyed, demonic smile.  Remember Anthony Perkins in Psycho? There y'go.
My father could frown for England.  He didn't so much wait for bad things to happen like mother, but he'd growl and snarl and seem to make it his sole purpose in life to be the Butt of every irritation known to man. His favourite phrase? "Typical!".  Which meant pretty much everything from us unwittingly bringing dog muck into the house on our shoes to Leeds United losing 3-2.  In our house, hands were thrown into the air and slapped back down onto the thighs with Morris Dancing monotony.
And seething.  Seething was Big in our house.  Just the noise of air passing through clenched teeth was enough to send my brother and I stairward to the sanctuary of our bedrooms for the duration - at least until the next mealtime.
Mind you,  I have to remind myself that all this was probably during an age when "Relaxing" was a little-known pasttime - indeed luxury.   Especially with twin-tub washing machines that started off in the kitchen and ended up in next door's porchway, frisky fishmongers who thought nothing of calling round unannounced and slapping their wet Halibut on mother's draining board and days of the week with a "y" in them (especially rainy ones).
So you see, it's no wonder that I find chilling a difficult thing to come to terms with.  Yes, I get incidents that annoy me; things that I'd much rather hadn't happened or wouldn't keep on happening.  But I have to learn that unless it's within my power to actually control these events myself, then there's not much I can do about it, is there?  I have to learn to go with the flow - to let the mop flop where it chooses - to take my chill pill and relax.


Michele said...

My parents must have went to the same school of hard knocks as yours. Right now they're in Key West, Florida where the weather should be hot, 30+ and very sunny. It isn't any of the above. I told my sister I was glad I was 3000 miles away cuz I only want to be near them went it's sunny, hot and no breeze at all. It just isn't worth the hassle. And don't even get my father talking about winter. "I hate IT!"

Debs Riccio said...

Must be 'the generation', Michele - all great material though in hindsight!

Deb said...

Ha, ha, Debs! I come from a family of, what-will-the-neighbours-think? Not that I gave my parents anything to worry about what the neighbours would think - or at least I don't think I did! So everything in my family was conducted in a safe and stated manner, because otherwise the neighbours might think we're weird, abnormal, psychos, take your pick. I have to say though that despite this inherited gene, I have pretty much learned to chillax, but that's mainly thanks to The Teenager who offers it as an answer to everyting: The dog's shat on the floor, again!, aw, chillax, Mum, no one's died have they? The council tax hasn't been paid, again!, aw, chillax, Mum, no ones died, have they? It's been drummed in to me now to shrug and walk away from it all and sod what the neighbours might think:)

Debs Riccio said...

Same here, Debs! and although I *heart* the way our lovely girls think, it still makes me feel like I'm watching those trapeze acts at the circus having a whale of a time - and I am that safety net beneath her wings!