Monday, November 24, 2008

The instant wind-up

I may have mentioned before how easily I lose patience with my mother. It's always been this way, as long as I can remember. Whether walking deliberately across my train set, accusing me of taking her address stamp, or mis-remembering past conversations, this aspect of our relationship has a long history and has remained constant for as long as I can remember. She can make me blow my top with a single sentence. Which for someone as normally even-tempered as myself, is even more annoying and frustrating than if I were the sort of person who regularly "goes off on one."

So I was grateful for the slowly falling snowflakes yesterday morning as we rose early and drank our morning coffee while staring out into the garden and wondering whether it was worth striking up a conversation with someone who can't remember what we've said from one minute to the next. Because those flakes gave us a ready-made excuse to beat a hasty retreat. "Don't want to risk getting stuck on the tops," I said, knowing that we wouldn't be taking the high road home in any case and that the risk of encountering any snow was minute. "We'd better get going."

It's still hard for me to bite my tongue when faced with the kind of provocation we encountered this weekend. It would *almost* be worth the two-hour drive home at midnight after the Chinese to avoid it. But then, there's the element of "duty." More on that another time, maybe. For today, it was tongue-biting, and leaving as quickly as possible, before it became unbearable. The path of least resistance, I think they call it.

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