Friday, August 15, 2008

It's Not a Cultural Thing, It's Just an Age Thing

Having Motherinlaw here has made me think that perhaps some of Grandmother's quirks are not just due to her personality but also due to her age.  Grandmother is 92, Motherinlaw is not quite sure how old she is but it's in the range of 80ish and it is absolutely astonishing to me how alike they are in some of their behaviors even though they are nothing alike in their personality and are from two very culturally different places (Australia & Iran).

One example is when they are shopping.  They both like to push a cart.  I chalk that one up to age because their balance is not great.  But they are oblivious to other people in stores and take up the entire aisle, not moving aside for others who are shopping.  When we were at Target, they walked SIDE BY SIDE pushing carts, moving at a snails pace, and holding up everyone else in the store.  I finally had to tell Grandmother to MOVE because no one could get by her and she looked surprised - like she hadn't noticed there was anyone else there!  (I don't speak enough farsi to have told Motherinlaw so Grandmother got it.)  

Another thing they both do is interrupt.  No matter who is talking or what is going on, they will interrupt if they have anything to say, regardless of if it is pertinent to the conversation or not.  And everyone around them is expected to stop what they're talking about to listen to them.  Now neither one of them is a big talker so this is really less frustrating than it sounds and we laugh about it.  But it's curious how they both do it.

Many of their quirks are similar to little kids.  Grandmother can ruin an entire evening for everyone there if she feels she has been slighted and Motherinlaw bursts into tears if she is feeling left out or lonely.  Sound familiar to any parents out there?  Maybe as we get older we just think Fuck everyone else, I'm gonna go back to thinking everything is all about me - I've earned it.

I wonder if my own parents will morph into some of these behaviors as they get older.  My Mom has told me to whisper "grandmother" into her ear if she starts up and I suspect Stepmonster would cut my Dad's throat in his sleep should he ever try some of the shit that Grandmother and Motherinlaw do but it will be interesting to see if there is a magic age for obnoxiousness now that I am actively paying attention to it.

At least my life is not boring.


EmBee said...

I believe there's this little area in the brain, it's known as the G.A.S. gland... When we're little the G.A.S. gland is quite small and under-developed. It reaches it's full size around the age 22, then it begins to diminish. By the time one reaches their late 60's the gland is nearly dried up, a condition otherwise known as D.G.A.S. or 'Don't Give A Shit!'... Very annoying to those of us whose G.A.S. gland it still going strong, yet I believe it's quite liberating to the elderly.

The Girl Next Door said...

yeah who says there's nothing good about getting old? You get to say whatever the heck you darn please.

Jason said...

Oh, Katy. I know. My MIL lives with us for about half of the year. I'm torn. Part of her behavior is because she's getting old and can't help it. Part of it is because she knows she's getting old so she thinks that excuses her behavior.

How do you keep your cool with these two?

Katy said...

Embee, I love it! The GAS gland. I'm totally gonna use that acronym in front of Grandmother the next time she's being a pain and she won't know a thing. A good blow off steam system!

Girl Next Door, I am waiting to be old enough to drive my children bonkers. ;-)

Jason, Motherinlaw is only here for a month. I can handle almost anything if it's a finite time period that isn't TOO long. Grandmother has a full 1 bedroom apartment that takes up half of the first floor of our house so she has her own space and I have mine. That helps a lot. We do spend a lot of time together because I take her to all of her appointments and shopping expeditions so I've learned to bite my tongue sometimes. And if something is REALLY bothering me, I can talk to her about it and we work it out. Plus I drink a lot of wine. ;-)

Shelly... said...

You are a Saint. Have I mentioned how glad I am "grandmother" lives with you and not us??? I think we will owe you for the rest of our lives! :)