“You know, you repeat yourself a lot.” I said, in a matter of fact voice (at least I hope it sounded non-judgmental or bitchy). Miss Cathy had just finished telling me something that she’d told me several times already; in fact I’d already heard the “exact” same story twice that day. I just thought she should know-thinking maybe it was something she didn’t realize she was doing.
“Oh really?” she said, seemingly unfazed. “Did I tell you that I called Adele to wish her a Happy Birthday?”
“No, you didn’t tell me that.” I answered.
“Well good, I’ll try not to repeat that one.” She said and we both laughed.
Cute, right…well, I thought so, and that was pretty much the way it’s been between us since I got back from my little “holiday” last weekend visiting my brother, Tony and his family. I was just gone one night but it gave both of us some time apart to re-charge. While I was away I checked in on Miss Cathy everyday and she was seemed to be having a great time.
I was feeling so “great” about everything that I spontaneously asked Miss Cathy if she wanted to go to the arts and crafts store yesterday to buy some artificial flowers for a vase that Ron (one of her many other “sons”) had given her for Mother’s Day. She’d been talking (a lot) about wanting me to select flowers for the vase because she liked the way I decorated the apartment and “put things together”. Since it was Father’s Day I thought there was a bit of symmetry to the outing and was happy that she accepted the invitation.
She seemed happy enough to be going out, we hadn’t been out together for anything other than doctor‘s appointments so it was nice to be doing something purely social. Since the arts and crafts store has a reputation for discounting things I was hoping to combine two of my favorite hobbies-shopping and bargain hunting.
No sooner had we left the complex and I turned the car in a direction she wasn’t expecting when she said, “Why are you going this way?”
“I’m going to the Beltway” I said.
“The Beltway?!” she exclaimed as if I’d suggested we walk. “Why are you going on the Beltway? All you have to do is get on 193 and take it all the way down. You’re going the long way there but it’s your gas.”
“Well, the Beltway is the way that I know so that’s what I’m going to do.” I said, not quite regretting my suggestion of the outing but getting a feeling I might. The last time she had me deviate from my mapquest printout we were leaving the “Grand opening” of a supermarket (at 7 am on a Wednesday no less), forty minutes into the turn she insisted I make she confessed that she didn’t know where we were going so a fifteen minute drive home took us an hour and a half because I listened to her. I made a vow to myself not to do that again and I was going to keep it.
The drive was quiet, more from the classical station being on and the windows rolled down so that we could take advantage of the cool late morning breeze than anything else (or so I thought).
I did miss one turn but it only added a few blocks to our final destination. For some reason, having Miss Cathy in the car makes me nervous, it might have something to do with the fact that she sits in the car with a death grip on the door handle and her head is constantly whipping looking for an oncoming collision. We’d already had it out about her ‘back seat driving’ so she sat silently (for the most part) but her body language was screaming directions, corrections and suggestions all the way from point A to point B.
Parked and ready to have at the clearance table I spied sitting in the front of the store I was hurriedly putting the handicapped tag over the rearview mirror when I heard, “when we go back just turn right at the light and go all the way down, I’m not going back on the Beltway.” “Makes no sense driving so fast, with all those cars.”
“Where’s that coming from?” I thought to myself but I said, “Well, I’m not going back that way, sorry.”
“See, that’s your problem, you don’t listen.” She said after she finally managed to lift herself out of the car and was toddling toward the entrance. “You just don’t listen,” she repeated,” you have to do everything your way.”
“I didn’t ask for your opinion,” I said to her back,” Jeez, I though I was doing something nice by bringing you out here.”
“I know you’re sick of me, “she shouted, startlingly me by this response, “I know you think I’m a nuisance and you don’t want to be bothered with me, I’ve known that for awhile now.” ‘Well, I’ll get my own damn car and you won’t have to worry about taking me anywhere, I’ll take my own damn self.”
“Well, I wasn’t sick of you till you started all of this,” I said retrieving the vase from the backseat” this day sure went to sh*t in a heartbeat”, suddenly tired of it all. Now that I was getting closer to the sale tables I saw that silk tulips were on sale for 60% off (usually an aphrodisiac for me) but they could have been free and I’d still want no part of them-that’s’ how turned off I was at that moment.
I wanted to be anywhere but there so I started to hand the vase to Miss Cathy and said, “Here you go, knock yourself out, I’m going to be in the car.”
She looked at the vase without taking it and said, “take me back home.”
Since things had been going so well and we’d been getting along so well I was surprised (to say the least) by her outburst. I’m sure it was a combination of her condition, what she perceived as my “speeding” and her inability to control the situation (which makes her anxious and irritable). Still, knowing all of that and remembering not to take her rants personally, I gotta say, it still hurt my feelings.
“Fine by me.” I thought, throwing the vase and what was left of my good mood back into the car.
Happy Father’s Day!