4.17.2005

1...2...3...4...5...6...7...

It didn't work. I could count to a thousand and my anger at my dear mother would be unabated right now. I detest being manipulated. Words cannot express how angry I am at attempts to press my buttons or maneuver me or what-fucking-ever it is that she thinks she's playing at now. Days like this, frankly, she's lucky I even take her calls. Yes, yes, I'm well aware that she's the only mother I've got, and believe me when I tell you that I do love her, but this shit is unimaginably infuriating.

Here's the Reader's Digest version (yeah, I know: you'll believe it when you read it): I'm going to NY Wednesday night at my mother's express command. Her bosom friend Noofie is ill and has been ill for a long time and it's fairly dire or certainly could be, and when I was in NY last month, Mom said, "Can you come back to go to Noofie's seder?" and I agreed, readily. No hesitation whatsoever, gladly. Etc. I'll be working in our NY office, but I'm taking Monday off and have only made plans for Saturday (yaaaaay: shopping day with Eli & Elaine & HF, and Mamma Mia that night with HF, whom I'm...dragging...to the show), although admittedly I was going to go to the Yankees' game Friday with Rob but we've changed it to Monday dinner so he can stay out of the doghouse. Ok, yes, that's a story for another day, too.

ANYWAY: I get a call from Lili, at whose apt. in Chelsea Mom and I will be staying together. She says, "I'm very concerned about your mother. She's not returning phone calls [a fact that I'd already noticed, vexedly], and when I spoke with her the other day, she said she's not coming to New York. I wonder what's the matter with her." Note, gentle readers, that my mother had not bothered to call me to tell me she's staying home.... But you can bet your arse that she knew perfectly well Lili would call me. And having known me for 30-some (shaddup) years, she also knew perfectly well that I would call her, in turn. Which, against my better judgment, but with resignation, I did today at 5:00 from SNA, whence my flight to SF was to leave at 6:05.

The gist? She's not feeling "up to" going to NY, psychically. Psychologically. Whatever. Nothing's wrong with her, mind you, that a good small steady dose of antidepressant wouldn't fix right up. But she doesn't like the side effects, so she won't stay on a pill. Look here: if you're talking about the side effects of lithium or something, where you literally can't function, or it gives you seizures, or radically changes your personality, ok, then, don't take the drug. I can totally understand that. But don't tell me there's not some prescription medication out there to take the edge off depression, which would make your entire perspective on life change for the better, that's not worth suffering a little sleeplessness, or having to alter your diet, or feeling "jumpy" for a bit. I wish I could be sympathetic to this, and not sound like a callous bitch, but I'd be lying if I said I understood it or, in fact, countenanced her refusal to do what she can to make herself better. (In anticipation of a flurry of counters to this, let me say that she has been diagnosed with mild depression, the kind the new pretty pills are specifically made to treat; it is her stubborn unwillingness to change her life at all that precludes her from getting effective -- or any -- treatment. Not ok. Not if you're gonna lay it all on someone else, at any rate. Unh unh.)

After trying to find out what it was specifically that was making her feel unable to go to NY, I gave up. I just said, "Well, Mom, I'll be there, and I'll be at the seder, and it will be great to see Noofie and her crowd. And while it's not my place to tell you what to do or judge your behavior, since you're the mother and I'm not, I know what you would say to me in this situation, and I would like you to think about that. If one of my oldest friends was fighting for her life, you would tell me to stop being a selfish baby and get my ass to New York. That's all I want you to consider." Then I got off the phone. Called HF -- interrupting The Contender, OH MY GAWD what was I thinking?! -- and flew to SF.

Got up here to a vm on my mobile, wherein she told me that she's coming to NY Thursday afternoon, but will I pay for her fare (of course I will -- what a question!!), and will I "try to" make some time to spend with her -- as if I hadn't already specifically said I would do just that. But here's what has me sooooo steamed: between....literally....every....single.... word.... of.... her.... message.... there.... was.... this.... enormous.... shrieking.... gasp.... for.... air.... as.... she.... left.... a.... 3.... minute.... message.
Literally. EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. punctuated with a sort of asthmatic-on-their-dying-breath shrieking sort of sound, like she couldn't get air. My mom doesn't have asthma. Nor does she have any sort of heart ailment (she recently had an ekg and a stress test, both of which, unsurprisingly since she's only 63, she passed swimmingly -- yay!). What she does have, she says, because I called her to say "Do not EVER leave me a message like that again, EVER EVER EVER", is anxiety attacks. She says. So she gasps. I said, "Wait 'til the attack passes before calling me. Thanks." 'Cause ya know what? Those same little sweet antidepressants that would control the lows? They'd work for the anxiety attacks as well, friends, and that's the truth.

There. Now you know how mean and awful I am, and what a dreadful daughter. Sorry to burst the bubble when you were all so in love with me 'til now. In my defense, I'll just say that as her only child, there's no one else in the world to share the load here. And since menopause, this kind of episode is the tip of the iceberg. Unreal. Peace.

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