Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Parents...Insanity Now, and Even More Insanity Later

I’m not sure what has prompted me to write about my parents...maybe it’s because my jaw has continuously dropped to the floor a few too many times lately in utter disbelief.

I love my parents very much, and they know that because I tell them all the time.  We have such a good time together and I feel extremely fortunate to have the relationship I do with them.  So everything I am about to say is in good humour...and humour is exactly what I am finding in all these “situations” we seem to be experiencing, along with   astonishment, and at times, frustration.  Maybe it’s the generation?  Maybe it’s the pressure to fit into a new tech-savvy world that has been thrust upon them?  Maybe it’s us as the kids that are creating expectations for our parents that they just can’t meet?

They really try their best to adapt to the world of technology.  The other day, my Mom insisted that she just missed a call on her cell phone from me, even though it was 5 hours later.  And that’s when she actually has the phone with her or if it’s actually on.  My Dad’s answer to anything these days is “We can just Photoshop that”...yes, he happens to be a professional photographer, but Photoshop doesn’t apply to anything but photos last time I checked.  When you’re using that phrase for everything, that becomes a problem.  It’s also a problem if you can’t use Photoshop effectively when using the teeth-whitening tool--he sent me a “touched up” photo of him and my Mom from Christmas, and I just about fell off my chair given they both looked like a bleaching experiment gone bad.   

The bulk of the population can book airline tickets on line--not much can go wrong, you just follow along with the screens.  So when I get calls from my mother describing that the computer “just did something” and when asked what happened, she just kept repeating “I don’t know--it’s so stupid--you’ll just have to come over and see--I, I can’t describe it.”  Then my Dad feels he has to add in his idea for a solution, and that’s just to go right to the airport and buy the tickets there.  I didn’t even know how to respond to that one.  

And then they got a tablet for purchasing their cable, internet and phone all in one go...why?  There should be an age limit for giving those things out.  I would personally like to thank Telus for making my life more difficult now--it wasn’t bad enough that I get the usual computer calls weekly, but now there’s a tablet involved now too which means twice as many calls--that’s just great. 

My parents have always been loud…and not just because they’re losing their hearing—they literally have no concept of how loud they are in public and nor do they care.  Whenever I go on a trip, my parents always insist on taking me to the airport and sending me off with a proper goodbye.  My Dad felt that checking my luggage was a more than noteworthy photo opportunity.  And, thanks to the early onset of deafness, everyone in the check-in line with me got to hear my life story—I actually got the “Wow, I feel sorry for you” look more than a few times.  Another time, my Dad dropped my Mom and I off at the cruise ship terminal when we went to Alaska.  The terminal is fairly simply laid out, but the hard part was Dad parking the car and him trying to find us again inside the terminal.  Once he did, he created a HUGE scene to let everyone know what bullsh*t the entire system was and somewhere in there, the Canadian government got blamed.

Apparently the filter just completely disappears when you get older as well.  I went to the movies with my parents last year and I watched them treat the movie theatre as if it was their own personal living room.  They talked to each other through the whole movie, in a non-sound reduced way...fabulous.  And because of the losing of the hearing situation, they couldn’t hear me or anyone else shush-ing them throughout the entire movie.

I don’t know if stealing also becomes a problem with age, but when I was over at my parents place last, I opened a cupboard and out fell about two dozen Starbucks napkins  and an inordinate number of sugar packets, stir sticks and take-away cups.  Upon closer observation in their home, I noticed, to my horror, they had many items scattered around that are given as complimentary by coffee shops, restaurants, etc.  When I questioned them about it, all they could say is that it was there and free, so they took as many as they could.  Of course, why buy those things when you can just steal them?  That instantly brought me back to the days when we used to fly to Hawaii back in the 70’s--the age of tight pants (enter Tight Pants song from SNL).  My Dad would go into the washroom on the plane and would come out with as much of the little wrapped bar soap he could stuff in his tight pants as possible.  And you could see the outline of it all in his pockets, thanks again, to the tight pants.  We never had to buy all makes sense now.

My Dad is one of the smartest people I know.  He reads tonnes of scientific literature daily and also has single-handedly turned the Starbucks in Steveston into his own personal social house.  Everyone knows him there.  I can’t meet him there anymore to have quiet father/daughter time because random people just come up and sit with us.  

I think along with age comes a certain level of stubbornness too.  When my parents visit me, they park in my extra parking space in the underground next to my car.  One morning after their visit, I was leaving for work and noticed fresh oil where my Mom parked the night before (and I know the look of clean (and dirty) motor oil given my Neon had multiple fatal leaks in her dying days).  So, I called my Mom to let her know and she would have none of it.  “How do you know it’s oil?  Did you put your finger in it?  Have you smelled it?”  I don’t know about you, but I’m really not ready to stick my finger into something that emanates from a car’s engine just for the sake of proving a point.  

I can only hope to hell that there is no loss of mental faculties...or has that already started?  My Mom called me the other night to casually let me know that she heard on the news that the birth control pill I am taking has been rendered ineffective and women taking it are getting pregnant.  After my heart jumped through my chest, we quickly discovered that she had the name wrong--heaven forbid you may want to double check the name before you hit your daughter with something like that. 

I hear it from my friends in my generation too...everyone has a certain level of frustration dealing with their aging parents, and they’re only just boomer age in most cases.  God help us when they get into their 80’s!  I know from my line of work some of the challenges that the aging population and their children face, and the concerns are all too real.  And perhaps one day, it won’t be a laughing matter, but for now, with my parents, I shake my head in disbelief.  And, as I said above, I just try to find the humour, because if I don’t, I might just lose my mind, and then where would my parents be? 

Love you Mom and Dad xox 


  1. LMAO! Love this piece - hilarious but with a gentle and serious nudge at the end. I'm in the same situation and your blog puts things in perspective - THANK YOU!

  2. Thank you so much for the compliment--very happy you enjoyed it! There's so much more, that I might have to do a Part 2! Thanks again!