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.