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There are three things I cannot stand about my mother:
1. She’s very into the whole “Told you so” business
2. Contrary to her very strong belief, she couldn’t carry a tune if it were strapped down with bungee cords and nailed to a bucket.
3. She insists on making spaghetti dinner about three times a week, but when we try and draw attention to it, she simply denies it with a indignant, “Do not!”

It’s the little things that drive me nutty, though. Like that time that she wouldn’t let me go to Katherine’s party- I got over that; It was a misunderstanding. What I cannot get over, however, is how every morning she wakes me up by singing, “it’s a lovely day in the neighborhood” in that God-awful voice, no matter how many times I beg her not to do it anymore. Or the way she always parks right outside the movie theater when she comes to pick me up so that she can pretend she isn’t spying on me and my friends when we emerge. And the way she always has to be in on my gossip. If I’m standing in Ross, weighing my options between a faux-leather Gucci bag and a ten dollar pair of kicks, she’ll drop by my side and in a very exaggerated whisper say, “That boy over there was checking you out. He’s cute, hmmm…?” in which case I have to clobber her with the shoes and run for cover on the occasion someone overhears and go, Ha-ha, what an embarrassing mother.

The way that everything is a constant nag:

Mom: How was school?
Me: Boring as hell.
Mom: you don’t need to use those words.
Me: I’m emphasizing how terrible it was.
Mom: but still. I’m your mother.
Me: and I’m your daughter. And school is boring as hell.
Mom: my mother would never let me speak to her that way.
Me: your mother is also a deranged alcoholic that threw a hot sloppy Joe at your face when you were eleven. Gee, she should just get on and write a parenting book.
Mom: Lauren!

And then we sit in silence for about two minutes., me struggling to turn the radio up and her struggling to text her friend Carol as she speeds down the freeway. I want to just lie back and fall asleep, but there’s this little monster in my brain telling me to push her buttons.

Me: it’s illegal to text and drive in the state of California.
Mom: I am- (jerks the car slightly to the right to avoid a traffic cone) -not texting.
Me: I can clearly see you texting, Mom. I’m not an idiot.
Mom: Shut up.
Me: You shut up. You’re the one breaking three different laws as you speed down the highway like a maniac texting Carol!
Mom: I am not texting Carol!
Me: of course you weren’t.
Mom: Shut up.
Me: Only because I am right.
Mom: Pffft.

There goes that last word bit. She always needs to have the last word, and will go any great lengths to claim it. Usually when she is all out of words she’ll just grunt or make a noise such as
“Naahmphashh” which is supposed to be laden with all kinds of meaning and contempt. Sometimes I can’t help myself, and I tell her she has a good point indeed, and who’d she hear it from, Carol’s mentally challenged nephew Andrew?

It’s a constant battlefield with this woman, and everywhere I step is a mine waiting to take a limb off. I try the nice card:

Me: So you want to know how school went?
Mom: No, sorry, I’m way too busy texting Carol.
Me: Okay, okay! I get it! You're not texting Carol!
Mom: Told you so.

Ack! I stare straight ahead and lace my fingers and pray she doesn’t go off the road. I figure try again in a few minutes when she’s had time to simmer down with her inconsiderate tone. But alas- that little button-pushing monster has me again:

Me: so when you’re done acting like a drunken maniac, care to give me the time of day?
Mom: oh, ppfft, fine! Tell me about your day.

(This is when the monster pounces)

Me: I don’t want to anymore.

We sit in silence ready to explode the rest of the drive home. She doesn’t let me turn the radio on, and I pretend not to care because if I did care, she’d get that smug little look on her freckly face. Not that I care. We come to a stoplight and she slowly starts and stops the car in this little dance she always does, even though she knows it drives me completely bonkers.

Me: would you stop already! You already drive insanely enough!
Mom: I do not!
Me: In any case you’re just doing it to annoy me.
Mom: Oh, I see. It’s all about you!

We pull into the driveway and she tells me to get my book bag. As if I were so stupid I would just leave it in the backseat. This grates my nerves; I hate when people tell me to do simply mundane tasks. It’s like someone telling me to check the bread for mold, or to not leave thumbtacks lying around where I walk. When I head to the front door, she intercepts me and envelopes me in a big Mom-smelling hug.

Mom: I love you.
Me: I love you too, Mom.
Mom: what do you want for dinner? I was thinking spaghetti.



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