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Now in my defense, it’s not that I didn’t like all the various things The Mom was desperate to call to my attention, it’s that she wanted to discuss them Immediately. Literally the moment my door would open, she pounced upon me, as though I was a weak gazelle and she a fearsome lion.

It was a gradual training process. First I got her to step away from the door, which only pushed her downstairs and as I stood glaring at the espresso machine, willing it to produce coffee NOW, she would creep up behind me.

“You’ll never guess what I just saw on CNN/Katie Couric/Whatever American news show! You have to see it! It’s amazing.” Whereupon she would re-enact the clip. Sometimes, if my being awake enough to get downstairs and make coffee, she’d shout at me and drag me upstairs to watch. And would be crestfallen when I didn’t bust a gut laughing. No idea if I thought these things were funny or not – really just that it was a wall of sound and colour my brain couldn’t process without coffee.

And if I didn’t read the clippings she put at my spot, directly in the way of a laptop and coffee, instantly, she’d hover around, point out the funniest bits and tell me I just had to read it. Now the thing is, I’m not really a person first thing in the morning. I don’t even look like one. And it’s generally the time I ease into my writing day. Coffee, newspapers, and then I start writing. Engaging in conversation disrupts this finely honed process. Living with other people here in England I’m generally the only person up for the first few hours, but at home with her, it’s she who’s had the head start.

But, it is the price that has to be paid, and it’s a small one at that. The thing is, it’s not that I dislike her exuberance. I love it. She’s the head cheerleader at ours, and that’s as it should be. It’s just that I was never keen on pep rallies – if we ever had them at school, I’d just leave and go do something more interesting. So it’s tricky to get me properly worked up about something, especially first thing.

So I trained her. Dinner is a good time to discuss hilarious events, and things one has seen on the internet. And I do believe that eventually, I’d call her into my room to watch funny bird videos on YouTube, or to watch the parakeet watch funny bird videos on YouTube. So, you know, tit for tat.

It’s a bit different now though, as L’il Sis and Crazy D both have jobs. I didn’t have much to do beyond being desperately unwell, ill, crippled with broken wrist and the like. So, you know, not really a rush to leave the house in the mornings. The other two, however, have full schedules and so there isn’t really a lot of time for chat in the mornings.

I recall when L’il Sis told me she was planning on going back home to live with The Mom. I told her that early morning communication would happen and she would have to make an effort to cope with it. Suggest a good time for chat, I said, cocktail hour is always a good one. But the price to be paid for living with someone who thinks pretty much everything with an animal in it is the Best Thing Ever (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called into her room in the evenings to watch a Geico commercial – she adores that gecko), and can’t wait to share it with you is really in no way steep. In some ways it’s as it should be, the only issue is the timing.

Living in England now, early morning chat ambushes aren’t possible. Instead I get a steady supply of clippings, which are quite nice actually. It’s The Mom’s way of curating my keeping in touch with all things Back Home. And I love them. They’re pretty funny and cute. I mean, how good is it that I get sent an envelope once a fortnight or so with pictures of ducks, beavers, penguins, and whatever else is doing something interesting? It’s sort of like the old school version of Facebook or Twitter. Instead of typing at me, she’ll clip something out, circle the important bits, and sometimes add a comment, like Funny!!!!!! or Great idea!!!!! (She loves an exclamation mark, but it works for her).

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