Monday, February 21, 2005

It's like Mummy Dearest, but with pie instead of wire hangers

Yeah, that's my childhood, summed up.

Mom was crazy about cleaning. Not in a way that makes sense, and not really in a neat freak way either. She'd not get after anyone all day about not cleaning stuff up, y'know, like their own personal messes with homework, or snacks or whatever. And we never EVER cleaned the kitchen after dinner as a family. She'd just kind of yell at us to do it, and if we didn't (what kid wants to clean up the entire mess a family of 7 to 9 people has made all by his little lonesome?), she'd just kind of ignore it, and not go out into the kitchen until, like... 2 in the morning. Then she'd go nuts. And scream and hollar, drag your ass outta bed and berate you for being a horrible, wicked little child till the kitchen was spotless. There'd be a lot of threats and soul-sucking insults. You know, all the normal stuff parents do to make sure their kids grow up without complexes.

At holidays, it was even worse. You could easily be up till 6 in the morning cleaning the place from top to bottom because the grandparents were coming, and God knew, we had to trick THEM into thinking we were neat freaks. It wasn't like they didn't come over other times during the year and saw the way things really were. Holidays arn't about love and togetherness, they're about illusion, dammit.

Mom was so good at being psycho, it was better than second nature--it was her "on" attitude, her game face. There would be times when everyone would be asleep in the car, her included, and she'd start screaming at us to shut up. I can think of SEVERAL times that happened.

Then there was the pie incident. She got out of bed and screamed at my brother to go down stairs and make a pie. When mom got psycho, you might make small attempts at brushing her off (since brushing her off all the rest of the time seemed to work) but in the end you knew it was much better for your physical well-being to just go down stairs and do what psychomom wanted. So he made the pie.

The next morning mom gets up, goes down stairs, and is all happy and normal. "You know, I had a dream that someone made a pie. Charlie, you read my mind."

Um... not exactly.

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