Before we went to the movies the
other night (we went to see Lore, if you're interested; it was very good) we went out for dinner. As usual these days the tables at the restaurant were all jammed up very close together and therefore, as usual, I found myself listening not just to our conversation but to that of the table nextdoor (is this a form of mental illness or does everyone do the same?)
At the neighbouring table there were two women sharing a meal. One was telling the other about her childcare arrangements. It appeared that she was divorced and her children were at school already. As she worked full-time, her mother filled the gaps for her, picking up the kids, taking them home, making them dinner and getting them ready for bed.
'It's brilliant she can do that', the woman's dinner companion commented.
'It is', agreed the other. She took a mouthful of laksa before she went on.
'Mind you,' she said, 'I had a massage the other day - you know one of those relaxation massages, where they use aromatherapy and everything and by the end you're just so open and energised and in touch with your feelings.'
The other woman nodded. She was obviously familiar with this new kind of activity.
'Anyway', the first woman said, 'at the end of it, the lady who was doing it asked me a question. She said, "If there was one thing you could remove from your life to really reduce your stress, what would that thing be?" and without hesitating for an instant I told her, "My mother". Because you know she is just so annoying. The kids love her so much and she's always so obliging and she never complains about it and it drives me up the wall.'