Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Woman Has A Case of Crazymouth

Matt's mom Betty is visiting us, and she had a close encounter of the Frenemy kind this evening. I eagerly collect stories of other people meeting Frenemy Neighbor and thinking she's as strange as I do. Like, "Look world, it's not me, it's her, RIGHT?" Anyway, Betty took Hank up to the pool to swim before supper, and Laura was already up there swimming with Frenemy's daughter P.

Betty, because she has the social skills that we expect from adults, engaged Frenemy in conversation, asking her if P was on the neighborhood swim team. This should have been a perfectly safe conversation starter, as it is not demanding and it enables Frenemy to talk about her kid. This would normally lead into both parties saying, yes, how nice that these neighborhoods have swim teams, what a great opportunity for the kids, how fun for them, Laura and P are such lively and accomplished girls, blah blah blah. I mean "blah blah blah" in the nicest possible way, as I regard such bread-and-butter smalltalk as the actual glue of actual civilization.

But it did not go down that way. No my friends. Here's how it did go down:

Betty: So is P on the swim team with Laura?

FN: No, we don't do aggressive.

OMG. Pause. "We don't do aggressive?" What in the sweet fancy hecks? But here's where I love my mother-in-law. Whereas I have a congenital need to always appear to understand the utter nonsense that is coming out of someone's face, Betty is completely willing to play dumb when needed. I think this is where Matt gets it. We have a game we run on my doctors that we call Smart Cop, Dumb Cop. That's a whole 'nother post. Anywah . . . let's wade back into our scene, where Frenemy has just said that P doesn't do swim team because they don't do aggressive.

Betty [squinting]: Are you saying that swimming is aggressive?

FN: Yes, and it's all about winning, and the parents get so competitive and aggressive. We don't care about winning and losing.

Betty [all astonishment]: Do you think that Becky gets competitive and aggressive??

FN: Well . . . no.

At this point in the conversation, Betty said that Frenemy "began mumbling something about golf." Her daughter P, she explained, plays golf. Because apparently golf is a model-in-miniature of Utopian social relations and how they could burst into full flower if we would all only control our aggressive impulses and vain strivings for personal glory. Also, while playing golf, the ten year-old P is unlikely to encounter poor people. Or persons of color. Not so fast, Tiger.

So there you have it. First, let me explain. Here are three things: shit, shinola, and what goes on in swim team. These are three things that Frenemy has no idea how distinguish between. She doesn't have the first notion of what swim team is like. P has never been on swim team, despite the fact that Frenemy has spent money on one-on-one lessons for her. I remember that P has, in the past, even expressed a desire to do swim team. I think FN probably said no for two reasons:

One, for the five or six weeks that the swim season is in full swing, it takes a lot of time. Practice every day and meets every Thursday night.

Two, when one is swimming with a large crowd, especially with children from other neighborhoods, one is immersed in fluids with people whose church home may be unknown to you.

But the fact that Frenemy has been steering P into golf ever since she pulled her out of school to home school her is the perfect emblem of that child's isolation. And also an emblem of her mother's striving for class security. I'm sure P goes to play golf or hit golf balls with her mother, and NOT with other ten year-old children. I can guaran-damn-tee you that. (Oh I said "tee"! Titter titter!)

Lord, why am I such a bitch? Oh yeah, it's the dexamethasone. And come on, you love it. I just cannot stand when people talk nonsense and get all smug about their nonsense, ESPECIALLY when it is in response to politeness, like, "Oh you thought you would ask me a nice question and boy did I make you sorry! But listen to this important Thing! That I Think! I Thinked a Very Important Parenting Policy Thing!"

In conclusion, moments like that are why I think my mother-in-law is so awesome. She will not suffer your bullshit, your total frenemizing bullshit.

In further conclusion, my fourth and last chemotherapy infusion is tomorrow. By which I mean, Wednesday the 23rd. Waiter, may I please get a "Woot"? Raise the roof y'all.

And in an epic example of awesomely great planning, I am also having Hank's 4th birthday party tomorrow afternoon, after the chemo. It just worked out this way, and I'll be feeling fine, but I may be making goody bags while they're hooking up my IV. Also the air conditioner guys are coming some time between 12 and 6. I like that window. Like, "We are coming some time between the Treaty of Versailles and the release of the iPhone 4. We'll call thirty minutes out."

It's all good.

Anyhoo, that's what cooking in Crazytown.


Amy said...

I am gobsmacked. Wow--crazymouth AND no social skills! I could see, maybe, saying something like that if your kid was on the swim team and you were like, "Wow, it's funny how competitive they are at such a young age!" But when you are not involved and really have no clue? When you are talking to someone you really don't even know? Hi, mayor of Crazytown!

Betty IS awesome. I would've totally wimped out and she totally took it to the next level. It's awesome when folks get called on weirdness like that.

Huff! That said, hope tomorrow goes smoothly. I think it's especially rich that you're having Hank's party on the same day as your chemo! Life does go on, doesn't it? And hopefully, you'll be super-efficient from the dex!

Marie said...

You go, Betty!

Becky, you have touched on one of my pet peeves! Somewhere between 12and 6 ??!! Are they kidding? Tell them you'll mail the check sometime between June and January!

I do wish you the best tomorrow.
Love you dearly!

Bonnie said...

Hurray, your last chemo! Cancer gone, hair coming back -- all good!

A Day That is Dessert said...

Fourth and last!! To say that must be a relief would be the understatement of the year. I can't believe you're having the party the same day...happy birthday Hank! Where does the time go?

Your MIL sounds awesome!

A Day That is Dessert said...

Fourth and last!! To say that must be a relief would be the understatement of the year. I can't believe you're having the party the same day...happy birthday Hank! Where does the time go?

Your MIL sounds awesome!

Michele said...

I love your Frenemy. She makes my neighbors look normal. Not that I know my new neighbors, yet but my old neighbors. Like the Lawn Nazi. He seems a little closer to normal when compared with Frenemy.

Woot! Woot! And, around the world finger snap for the last chemo infusion.

Jenni said...

I LOVE your MIL. LOVE. Can I borrow her? I need her to go lay the smack down on my dad's wife. I also love FN just a little for her little doses of crazy.

So, last chemo treatment, child's b-day party, an air conditioner repairman all in one day? You know how to pack 'em full.

Oh, and raising the roof for ya up her in DC!

Viki said...

Good luck with your last chemo.

Cassie said...

I don't even have words to express how funny this post is. Might be my new SubMat favorite.

And oh my Lord, I love Betty.

Hoping and praying all goes well today! xo

Maggie said...

Super funny post!!!! May I please borrow your Betty? She really could come in handy up here with me.
I hope the bday party goes well. It doesn't seem like Hank should be that old. Time flies.
I will be thinking of you on your last chemo treatment. I am so glad that this journey is almost done for you.
Hug yourself and the fam for me. Love ya.

Maggie said...

Super funny post!!!! May I please borrow your Betty? She really could come in handy up here with me.
I hope the bday party goes well. It doesn't seem like Hank should be that old. Time flies.
I will be thinking of you on your last chemo treatment. I am so glad that this journey is almost done for you.
Hug yourself and the fam for me. Love ya.

Megan said...

I agree with Cassie. That is the funniest, most spot-on post yet... and that's saying something. No, wait: That's Sayin' Something That I'm Sayin'!

Good luck with the party, and have fun with the chemo!! Wait, strike that, reverse it...

Beth said...

Yay for last chemo treatment and for feeling well enough to do the birthday party! Also yay for mothers-in-law who rock...may we be like them some day.

Casey said...

I swear one day I'm going to pack up and move on your street. But only IF you promise to gossip with me instead of about me. Cause we's cool, yo. That chick is just whack.

Stephanie said...

Fourth and last chemo! Here is the woot you asked for, WOOT!! I'll also give you a HOLLA!
I'm like you, when someone starts spouting off nonsense like that, I engage them. I think I'm too shell shocked to use Betty's approach. What an awesome exchange. OMG your neighbor is crazy. Thank you for being the shining light of hope for P.

Michele R said...

This was a great story and fantastic post! I love how Betty stripped away the nonsense statement from Frenemy. As in, aren’t I here because of this 4 year old and this 9 yr old is on the team, and do you think my offspring are aggressive, so what the he** are you talking about does of reality. You are spot on about Frenemy trying to justify why P is not doing swimming. Although thank goodness she brought her to the pool. I think F has narcissistic personality disorder.
Yay to Hank on his 4th b-day celebration and yay to you, mama, for this last date with chemo.

Elle said...

I agree with you about bread & butter small talk, such that I would be into it if only people could handle it, which here, they do not. I feel like -- generalizing wildly -- in the south people know how to small talk on ther surface, skimming nicely & then extracting. In the midwest, people know how to zip lips and there is no offense meant nor taken in the quiet-keeping. But here, God almighty!

People like to chat chat chat chat chatter chat chat your balls right off and drive all over your business and look inside your windows and ask one million questions and all before they ever stop to introduce themselves or ask your name. It is taxing. I keep meaning to post about it, but it is so enervating I find I can not bring myself to think about it too deeply when it is not actually happening.

I am so excited for yr last chemo thingo, but not as much as you! xo

Keely said...

Woot! Woot!

Sweet jeebus, even I could navigate that small-talk situation and I totally suck at it. (Which you shall establish for yourself in August.)

Crazy people make great blog posts, though

Ash said...

Oh my word. That woman needs a lobotomy.

And I had to laugh at her thought that golf isn't aggressive or competitive - she should see Hubs and his friends go at it. To really freak her sh-t, a couple of them are even minorities.

The horror.

The neighbor is a complete lost cause. I cannot help but feel for P though. Poor thing. She'll probably be covered in tatoos and run away with the pool boy before she's 16. Run girl, RUN!!

Hope today went well. Happiest of birthdays to Hank and yeah for last chemo!

Veronica said...

WOOOOOOOOOT!!! Last chemo! And Betty is awesome. And Frenemy Neighbor is cray-to-the-z, but oh so entertaining. And happy birthday, Hank.

Rebekah said...

I agree, your mother-in-law is awesome and deserves some accolades for that conversation and her retelling of it, which I'm sure was good too. I have a friend who is hooked on your blog now too and she is Guppie Queen Mom and we have to come see you and raise the roof in the ATL as soon as all their practices and meets are over!

Anonymous said...

kick ass

Sara said...

I was wondering when fourth and final was- Good Deal!

And Hank turning 4. Four is a good number for you these days. :)

Would've loved to have seen Betty in action in person. She has a gift.

And *totally* on the Dumb Cop, Smart Cop!! Useful in so many situations, right?

Poor Frenemy. She is the bestest of blog fodder.

clear screen said...

aaah. i love this post. it's refreshing to me, for some reason, to read other people's articulately worded rants. thanks.
been thinking of you often . . .