Thursday, June 6, 2013

In which I attempt to ingratiate myself with Sly and Doris

Did I tell you guys that at Christmas, Sly and Doris went off into a drunken tirade about me and threatened to disinherit Primo and I thought, Please, please do it! Please just get out of our lives! Please leave Primo alone and don't bother him with your threats of suicide and your talk of despair and your pressure that he is the only thing that makes you happy. Please stop telling him what a horrible person I am because I don't eat bacon right/don't address thank-you notes right/don't grovel. Please. Do it.

But they won't. Then they wouldn't have Primo to torment any more.

I asked Primo if I should write a note expressing my penitence.

He said it couldn't hurt.

I said that it would put the ball in their court. "They'll just use it as ammunition against me."

He agreed. But pointed out it would give me more blog material.

Now that the election is over, I can use more material. (Although I still have political material, as running for office did not get it out of Primo's system, as I had hoped. Now that he has tasted freedom - his sabbatical in 2011 and the leave of absence in 2012, he wants more. And he wants to quit his job. His job that pays him nicely. We are not rich, but his salary, especially now that the alimony is over, is enough that we do not have to worry about replacing the furnace or getting the car repaired. I like not worrying about those things and am not a fan of this proposal that he quit his job. But more about that later.)

(That's called foreshadowing. Or maybe it's a teaser. I can't remember. But the idea is to keep you reading. Will it work? Only time will tell.)

So. I said I would write a letter.

But I have delayed and delayed because really, who wants to write a letter like that? If the letter were honest, it would say,

Dear Sly and Doris,

I am sorry that you are such jerks that we have never gotten along. I have never said or done anything to you to deserve the way you treat me. Primo has never said or done anything to you to deserve the way you treat him. You are mean and spiteful and backbiting and gossipy and it's no wonder you have no friends. 

You are angry at Stephanie for "cutting you off?" Did you ever consider that perhaps you had something to do with that? You never say anything nice to her or about her. You insult her and me by wondering in disdain how the two of us could possibly be friends. The fact that we are both Catholic (i.e., that we are stupid morons who believe in God and therefore not worthy of any respect from you) is not the reason that we are friends. And yes - I am well aware that Stephanie did not go to college. I choose to be her friend anyhow because guess what? It doesn't matter to me that she hasn't been to college! I don't require a BA from my friends. As far as that goes, your son has a BS and I have a master's degree. Does that mean I shouldn't have married him? Wait. Don't answer that.

You are unpleasant to be around. You are unwelcoming. You are hateful. You have nothing nice to say about anyone. You start drinking at 4:00 p.m. every day and then you get worse. You have said mean things about my mother. You have never shown any interest in me. You have implied that there is something wrong with my family - we are not "close," which is why Primo should spend all holidays with you (including Christmas and Easter, even though you are strong atheists) instead of with me and possibly my family. 

You will probably die even more lonely than you are now. If you lived up north, nobody would shovel your sidewalk for you because you're too mean. 

I have no interest in trying to ingratiate myself with you. I just want to stay away and I want to keep Primo away. 

But I can't write that.

Here's what I wrote and sent to Primo for his input:

Dear Sly and Doris,

It really bothers me that we have such a horrible relationship. I had always envisioned being close to my husband's family. This is not how I wanted things to work out. I don't want to be estranged from my husband's parents. It's a loss for me and it's hard on my husband - he's caught in the middle and it causes him a lot of pain.

I don't know how we got off on the wrong foot. I wish we hadn't. I am truly sorry for anything I might have done to cause this rift. 

The three of us have something in common: we love Primo and we want him to be happy. What can I do to repair our relationship?

Now, this is all true. I am bothered by this relationship. Ideally, I would have nice inlaws. I would have inlaws I want to see.

I am not bothered that I stay away from Sly and Doris. I have a policy in my life that I do not spend time with toxic people. They are toxic. But I wish I had nice inlaws.

Primo answered.


Maybe something short is good.

I know how we all got off on the wrong foot:  because I gave them the address of your blog, and because of that they disliked you before you even set foot in their house for the first time.  The negative feelings were started by them, not you -- but of course you won't be writing anything about that.  Still, I wonder about their reaction to a sentence like "I don't know how we got off on the wrong foot."

They seem to believe that it's the job of a future daughter-in-law (or even a girlfriend) to honor her elders and work hard to earn the respect (and, if she's really lucky, the love) of her partner's parents.  My mother apparently had to do that with my dad's parents, perhaps because they thought she was a homewrecker.  (My dad certainly didn't have to do that with my mom's parents.  He always criticized them, but I doubt that any negativity started with them.)

I would also replace "my husband" with "Primo" in the sentence that begins "It's a loss for me and it's hard on my husband."  The use of "my husband" in the previous sentence is effective.

You might also want to write "What can I do to begin repairing our relationship?" instead of "What can I do to repair our relationship?"  Thinking about full "repair" without qualifiers seems awfully optimistic!

How much does it really bother you to have a bad relationship with my parents?  Does that bother you on its own, or is it only the effect of that bad relationship on me that bothers you?

Primo and I messaged on FB last night about strategy.

  • when should I send the email to your mom and dad?
    Or should I write a note by hand?
    and send it to "Drunks?"

    • Primo
      And sign it "Digger."

      • Gold Digger

        • Primo
          You can write "Dear Sly and Doris," but the envelope should be addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. S. Drunks" or "S. and Doris Drunks."

          • Gold Digger
            How about, "their majesties Mr. and Mrs. S. Drunks?"

            • Primo
              I was thinking of e-mail, but maybe a handwritten note would be better. I wasn't expecting you to do that.
              Yes, that would be even better!

              • Gold Digger
                And sign it, "Not worthy to be in your presence, not even worthy to be spit on by you"

                • Primo
                  How about "Reverently"?

                  • Gold Digger

                    • Primo
                      "Humbly and reverently, Gold."

                      • Gold Digger
                        "Not worthy of the name 'Drunk'"

                        • Primo

                          • Gold Digger
                            "Head hung low in shame"

                            • Primo
                              Maybe after this exercise you will finally be worthy of the name!

                              • Gold Digger
                                Dear mighty superior beings whose toes I am not worthy to lick

                                So. I will let you know what happens.