So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

29 July, 2007


Some fascinating discussion of interactions between women over at Daisy's Dead Air has me thinking about my mother. So a little solipsistic wander down memory lane ...

So I had finally cleaned my room, not my strong point as a child. Especially that room, which had this brilliant red and orange shag rug in it that ate small objects. But I had gotten everything off the floor, put on shelves or in the cabinets at the base of the shelves (I had a set of pressed-board bookcases with cabinets in the base, one of which had a fold-down desktop). It was tidy, it was in a state of what my father called "found the floor", things were put away.

But what had to happen was that it had to pass my mother's approval.

And she was in a rage that day, partly because I was not good at cleaning to her standards -- which was partly because her standards were superhuman, and thus no seven-year-old could reasonably be expected to master them.

Her response to my accomplishment was to sweep things off the shelves, empty the cabinets, heap them all up in the center of the floor heedless of what damage she might do, screaming about my inadequacies, wanting to know how dare I consider that clean while dumping objects onto the pile. And once she'd made the heap, she snarled that all that needed to be put away -- really away -- a distinction I did not comprehend, as it had been -- or she would bag it up and throw it out.

And she left me there to cry, all my work buried in wreckage.

I think somewhere in there was where I gave up, determined that I had no idea how to win her praise, and thus it wasn't worth trying at all.

I also can't throw a damn thing away. I think that's related too.

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