Monday, January 05, 2009

I Can Be A Real Jerk Sometimes, Part 38

Generally, I despise categorical oversimplifications, but when it comes to talking about sex with mothers there are women who confide everything, and women who would rather die. I fall in the latter category. It is not that I am prudish about the topic of sex, sex is a fabulous topic, but that is the tenor of my relationship with my mother as it was irrevocably set many years ago. So when my mother sent me a link about orgasms during birth a few weeks ago I decided that because it was an unprecedented breech of contract I would just do us both a favor and ignore it.

But this morning there was a new email, subject "Birth orgasms / basic science" and in the body of the email, a link to this video.

I drafted a legal notice of reprimand, deleted it and instead just sent her this simple note:

quite honestly, i prefer to go the rest of my life without you ever
talking, or typing anything to me about orgasms, or anything related
to orgasms or orgasming - mechanical, emotional or scientific -ever
again.

i'm gonna go bathe in lye now, then call my therapist.

Surprisingly, this letter was not well received. Like just about half of the things that come out of my mouth when I am talking to her, it scorched the earth. We have a very, um, pandemonious relationship full of both admiration and tumult. But when I think about this kind of exchange with a different cast I have to wonder What the hell is wrong with me? Who sends emails like that to their mother?

Seriously.

I emailed her to say that, No, I really really didn't want to "clear the air" by calling on the phone because "active listening" makes me feel hopeless and tangled, and from now on I would start using emoticons in my emails.

Naturally the whole episode made me feel like I deserve a boot print on the middle of my forehead, and put me in a considerably irritable mood. I went to a coffee shop and ordered a large hot tea. The barista placed a lone chamomile flower in a 20 ounce ocean of hot water. I stared at a tiny, ineffectual swirl of tea color and tried to tell myself to shut up but I already knew that was impossible.

IF YOU CANNOT BE GRACEFUL YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET ANY SATISFACTION FROM THIS SITUATION SO JUST LET IT GO.

But instead, fatalistically annoyed, I pointed out that there were three prices for three sizes of tea and apparently the only difference is that the more you pay, the more watered down your tea seems to be. That I got another teabag doesn't matter a whit; the moment was uncomfortable, defeated and prickly and anyway, a field of chamomile wont sedate me when I am in a fit of mother-induced pique. What I wanted to do was throw my tea on the floor and get all Twisted Sister about it but instead I wedged into a deep chair and refused to take off my ten layers of winter clothing until I was pink in the face.

I decided I was a jerk and that humans were a hopelessly complicated endeavor. I made it three and a half days into the new year and I want to take it all back. People are innavigable landscapes.

I need big trash bins, a claw hammer and bolt-cutters. I need hypnosis and meditation. I need to hear a predator in the brush. I need to laugh hysterically and I need way more grace then I ever thought.

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