The hunt for a new house is on, as we have to be out in less than a month. This is both a huge relief, and a massive burden. Moving twice in six months when one of you is often in pain and unable to function properly both physically and cognitively is difficult, and being so removed from people who might help is also difficult. And then there’s me, with my sudden crippling anxiety which sees me building myself up to a phone call one day while being confident the next.
That does not mean we cannot do it.
I have packed a few boxes of DVDs and left out the ones Mum watches the most. She hates it, but often the only thing she can do is sit and when her brain isn’t working or she’s too exhausted to function, she watches movies to cope. As Mum sifts through these DVDs looking for something to watch, six months’ time (and two complete sorting-outs and re-storings notwithstanding) has resulted in the DVDs unsurprisingly and infuriatingly encroaching on my computer space.
I have my computer in the spare bedroom, with the empty boxes for our electrics, and haphazard piles of DVDs are spreading across the floor towards my desk.
The other night Mum came in and recruited me in her search for the perfect movie for her mood.
“I need one I haven’t seen for ages.”
“So, a movie we don’t own?”
“Just help me out.”
Basically the conversation then deteriorated into me suggesting a title and Mum telling me she’s watched it recently. Then she said she wanted something she hadn’t seen in the last six months, and I pointed out to her that our lease was for six months and it wasn’t up yet and she’s basically watched every movie we own in that time.
“I know you’ve watched them,” I said, letting my irritation show in my voice but tempering it with amusement because she’s my Mum, and I understand; and if I step outside the situation a bit I have to admit it’s kind of funny to watch my own exasperation. “I know you’ve watched them, because they’re out of the cupboard and all over the floor!”
I have always been very organised with my DVDs. I have always been very careful with them, and I treat my property well. This situation actually hurts me and I’m only coping because it’s my mother.
Mum chose to ignore my statement and continued bemoaning the dearth of good movies. The cat came in and I had wrangled him into a purring heap of fluff in my lap to soothe my irritation. Mum reached for a DVD in one of the many teetering piles beside me. She pulled it from the middle of the pile. Unsurprisingly, the pile collapsed and sent DVDs shooting out across the floor in front of me. The cat flinched at the noise.
Mum looked over at the cat.
“…did you just apologise to the cat?”
“Yeah, the noise startled him.”
“So you were apologising to the cat.” It really wasn’t a question.
“Nothing.” I was for a moment contemplating my twitching eye, but the absurdity of sitting there, coping with the DVD mess and having my mother apologise to the cat for the noise of what she is doing to my DVDs flicked a switch in my brain and I just started laughing. I couldn’t stop laughing, and Mum kept getting annoyed thinking I was laughing at her (I was a bit) and I had to keep reassuring her that it was nothing (not true).
There’s a moment inside you when a situation reaches breaking point, and there are two strings that can be cut: the anger string, and the hysteria string, and it was the hysteria one that snapped first.
Anyway, I ended up falling backwards to laugh, which meant I dragged the cat out of the comfort of my lap and up to my chest. He was not amused, and in scrabbling to get footing on me so he could leap away he stuck his claw up my nostril, which hurt but only made me laugh harder.
I am looking for houses and organising inspections and cleaning and packing and in general coping with my life and the bizarre things that happen in it. I’m certain I’m in for a world of escalating stress this coming month, but I am lucky because I am not at the mercy of the things that happen in my life; I’m at the mercy of my reactions to the things that happen in my life, and I’m almost always finding something to laugh at. It would concern me if I could find time to be more concerned than amused.