Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ch 12 Doris says to my mother – in front of Sly and the world – that she has always thought it best not to interfere in her children’s love lives and I don’t even know what to say but maybe Doris really believes that and maybe Sly has been the main actor in all of this drama, which is not hard to believe

My mom, her gentleman caller, Dr. J., and my brother arrived. We are all eating supper chez nous.

(AGAIN! If you get married, do not do this! Do not feel compelled to provide meals for dozens or even twos of people! THEY CAN FIND FOOD! THAT’S WHAT RESTAURANTS ARE FOR!)

It’s Thursday. Thursday’s plan is for garlic chicken. I threw chicken and 40 cloves of garlic in the crockpot this morning and made coleslaw, which probably isn’t the proper side dish to have with garlic chicken but whatever – I had half a head of cabbage in the fridge and thought I might as well use it up. Primo makes rice and we tell people to help themselves. We sit at the dining room table and eat.

(I tossed the cloth napkins we had been using and have surrendered to paper napkins, which you would think would have Doris ravingly happy, but shockingly, she says nothing.)

(Not because I am no longer principled about cloth napkins versus paper napkins but because we have only four cloth napkins that match.)

(I know. I should have just used unmatching. I am not in my right mind.)

My mom: Doris, Primo is such a wonderful man. I liked him from the second I met him. We are very happy that he is becoming part of our family.

Doris: He is wonderful.

I wait for the traditional response to such a comment – the, “We, too, are so happy to have Goldie join our family,” a statement that will bring about smiles and joy to all concerned and peace in the Middle East and maybe even an end to world hunger. And a cure for childhood cancer. For all cancer.

I wait.

And wait.

Well anyway.

Me: Doris, my Christmas present to my mom the year I met Primo was that I was dating him. I gave her an envelope and told her it was her Christmas present.

Doris: What was in the envelope?

Me: First, I have to give you some background. I was dating this Moroccan guy I had met when I visited friends of mine in Rabat. He was rich and had a PhD from the Sorbonne and was a consultant to the World Bank and he owned a boutique hotel, so I was impressed. But he turned out to be kind of a jerk.[1] My mom and dad had lived in Saudi Arabia for five years, so they had seen Christian/Muslim relationships and knew they didn’t always end well. Anyhow, I gave her a note that said, “Dear mom. I have broken up with the Muslin Moroccan and am dating a nice Lutheran boy.”

Doris the atheist nods politely. Sly doesn’t nod at all. I think the phrase, “Nice Lutheran boy” is not something they ever expected to have applied to their son. Didn’t they raise him right? Where did they go wrong that a child of theirs would ever go to church?

Me: I thought she would be really excited, especially given her experience in the Middle East, but she just said, “Well that’s nice.” An hour later, though, when her friend Pat, from church, came over, she showed Pat the note. Pat read it and said, “We know a lot of nice Lutherans!”

Doris laughs.

Sly does not. Maybe he doesn’t think there are many nice Lutherans? Maybe he thinks that was an ironic statement? I have usually found “nice” and “Lutheran” to be relatively synonymous. 

Whatever. Laughter. From Doris. Twice. Twice in one day! Doris laughs twice in one day.

My mom: I was relieved because Goldie’s father and I saw some of these marriages – of American women to Arabic men – and they did not usually seem to be successful, at least not for the women. The cultural differences are huge.

Doris: Didn't you say anything to her when she was dating the Moroccan? You clearly knew it was not a good idea.

My mom: No. I’ve always thought it best not to interfere in my children's love lives.

My mother's answer is completely unscripted. I did not prompt her. I did not prepare her. I had no idea such a question would be coming from Doris.

Doris: That's probably a good idea. I have always felt the same way myself.

She doesn’t look at Sly as she says this. He scowls. Doris ignores him.

[1] The week we spent together in Paris, he drank two bottles of wine a day, took a four-hour nap after lunch, did not want to do any of the tourist things – he said, “I ‘ave done zat! Eet ees boring!” – and didn’t want to eat out. He was THE MOST BORING, SELF-CENTERED PERSON I HAVE EVER DATED. Primo was a breath of fresh air.

1 comment:

  1. “Doris laughs.” This makes me sad. A little window into who she might be absent Sly. It is SO unfair he didn’t go first, so she could have a few nice years without him.