03 January, 2010

Vignettes of a man driven crazy by his relatives

3 January 2006

R. Linda:

I have not been sleeping well. No, not at all, because of the two outdoor cats that own us. They are allowed in the kitchen in the evening, but nowhere else. Me sainted mam thinks it be a crime we don't let them roam the house at night, but after me episodes in San Francisco and Halifax, there be no way any cat (I don't care how cute they be), is going to share me bed.

Each night for the past month, I have locked the little bastards in the kitchen and take meself off to me comfy bed. And each night me mam sneaks down and lets them out. On top of this we have a humidifier running (as if that isn't enough), because me father has trouble breathing and the air in me house is dry, so the noisy humidifier be running day and night. This machine makes a sound like a horde of crickets in the summer serenading in the night. Yours truly has developed a certain ringing in the ears as a result of the quiet being broken by the dastardly machine. Last night, I thought me ears were ringing really bad, until I realised there were two cats on either side of me head purring in stereo.

I couldn't sleep after that. And why in me room? Me parents sleep with the door open to get the humid air (and make sure no "funny business" be going on), the furballs could have gone there, but nooo, they were with me, the person who least likes them. Tonya, who isn't phased by such things, they don't bother with either. Just me. And well, why should she be bothered by them? They have made their bed next to ME on ME pillow, not hers.

I came slamming down for breakfast that morning, not in a good mood. I was told by the wife and the mother to go to the store and buy some items they needed to make soup. Now I wasn't in the mood for a shopping list, it was snowing and every time I go out in that stuff, something terrible happens to me. I wasn't looking forward to it, and I said I'd go out more towards four o'clock when the roads be clear. Well now, after some discussion, me mam decides I be not trusted to go to the store on me own, I might bring back inferiour ingredients. Begorrah. So she informs me she is going along and would I please T-bone the Opera person's show.

I hadn't had me cup of coffee fully drunk and so I thought it was me. I thought because of the constant ringing made worse by the stereo cat twins, that I did not hear her correctly. She repeated it and even Tonya stopped in mid pouring of coffee, to look up at the ceiling as if what me mam said was written out clear for her. Nope it wasn't up there, so then she looked at me, when suddenly it dawned on her.

"Oh," she said, nodding, "TIVO the Oprah show. That's it."

(Shaking head here)

In the meantime, I needed wood for the wood stove and that meant I had to get meself dressed and out in the snowy weather to chop, chop, chop. Sean wasn't going to do it, he was still a-bed and he was a "guest" as me mam put it, so I couldn't ask him to help according to her, he would have to volunteer, and well I knew he wasn't about to -- EVER. I took meself off and by the time I got back to the kitchen dressed and ready there he was, in his pajamas having a hot chocolate with me mam singing Frosty the Snowman at the snow outside.

For sure a lovely scene if he was 6 years old, but this is a grown man of 29. I grabbed me hat and gloves and left them to it. BUT the fecking song was in me head. I found meself out there swinging away to the tune. then I realised something. It stopped me in mid swing it did. They had been singing this:

Frosty the snowman was a happy merry soul,
with a corn cob pipe and a button nose,
and three eyes made out of coal!

Yes, there it was, "three eyes made out of coal." I was disturbed by this, yes I was. I stood there scratching me head under me hat, thinking that had to be wrong. YET, it sounded plausible. But impossible! So in a fix of bewilderment I took meself and me axe into the kitchen where they instantly stopped talking, and sat back from me and the axe.

Not a sound from them, so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

"Sing for me one time that Frosty the Snowman song you were belting out, Mam."

Me mam squinted at the sharp axe blade, then at me as she sat far back from me in her chair and she shook her head no. I realised then, stupid arse I be, she thought one note and I'd chop off her head, silencing the song forever. Now this is me mam I be talking about, any normal mam wouldn't act like I was an axe murderer. I put the axe down and still she sat mum. I put the axe on the back porch and as I turned both of them, her and Sean, were nervously singing away. Me wife came in and was holding the door frame up as she chomped an apple.

Each time they got to the third line, I'd stop them and say, "Again please."

Well, they accommodated me more times than I can count until I looked at Tonya and put me hand up for silence.

"Ton, you ever hear it sung that way?"

She looked blankly at me and shrugged like why?

I sighed.

"Let's sing it shall we?" She asked the two songsters at the table. With big smiles they started and when they hit the three eyes thing, Tonya almost choked on her apple in realisation of what my problem with the song was.

"Where's that axe?" She asked in an agitated voice.

That got the two table singers on their feet in a hurry. There was a lot of talking over each other until I could calm them all down and explain that the song words were, "Two eyes made out of coal not three. That's all I wanted to say, you are singing it wrong and it got stuck in me head so I came in to correct it."

They looked at me, Tonya with her eyebrows raised like she was asking silently of them, OK?

You would never in a million years guess what the two of them said to us. They started to argue they were RIGHT. That it did say three eyes, because as me very intelligent cousin explained:

"Gabe, listen to me you must hear me out. As me Auntie Maudie knows, you mother that is (like I wouldn't know who she was), when Frosty was a wee snowboy he had glasses. That means he was a four eyes. One day the town bully Salvatorie DelVechio from down the road, hit him in the eye with an ice ball and he lost an eye. By me count that makes three left."

Me mam was sitting there nodding to the dolt's story. Tonya, being sarcastic naturally, which is usually lost on them, said to me, "Imagine that, Frosty was Italian. I didn't know there were Italian snowmen."

OMG! Forget the three eyes thing, now we had moved on to the little known and probably untrue fact (that's an oxymoron right there), that Frosty was Italian!

I cannot tell you how frustrating it be to get suckered into stupid arguments about stupid stuff.

Me sainted father finally roused to come out and shout to at us to close our cakeholes because we would wake the neighbourhood. Pretty hard to do when you have no neighbours. Quietly, I explained to him about the Italian snowman (his reaction, a smile and a shake of the head as he said, "Imagine that, I thought he was an American"), and to the three eyes? He said, "Well duh Gabe and Tonya, everyone knows a bully threw an ice ball at him and he lost and eye." Then he held up three fingers and counted them to me and Tonya like we were the idiots here.

I should tell you Tonya went shopping instead of me because she wasn't staying in the house with "them" and I chopped a whole cord of wood in an hour I was so annoyed.


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