I quite surprised myself this morning. I vented about five decades of aggregate seething frustration. This unusually prolonged bottleneck of dissatisfaction was quirky for another reason – it was directed at my mother. This may at least explain my prior disinclination. There are after all not many who take particular delight in what is normally considered egregious conduct toward one’s mother (and I imagine less so when she is too old and frail to make it really count). I can however tell you that for me the deferred experience was nonetheless relieving and inspirational.
Considering that my elderly mother may not recollect my muffled explosion and temporary lapse into the vernacular, it may be a stretch to characterize this dubious victory as an accomplishment. Yet as with any uninhibited complaint the measure of utility is not its effect upon others but rather upon oneself. All my life I have harboured what I consider to be a typical reluctance to contradict one’s parents. This doesn’t of course mean I never had the desire to do so; in fact I frequently felt the desire to do so. Unfortunately for me it was only when I was stamping outside the door or speeding away in my car that I allowed myself the liberty of calling them down or banging on the steering wheel, by which time the effect was all but lost. The only residue of such behaviour which I mistakenly preserved was the hope that the so-called offending parent would subsequently apologize for what I thought to be annoying. This never happened. My tantrum and anxiety were entirely unrequited! Today however I took no such chances nor presumed such refinement. I enunciated my undisguised sentiments. And in the bluntest of terms. There could have been no misunderstanding whatsoever about what I meant, no taradiddle, no misconstruction. The powers of self-government had decidedly recessed!
Yet as I say the elucidation turned out to be more for my benefit than anything else. Almost within moments of this ventilation my mother and I were to all intents and purposes conducting an agreeable conversation which – happily for me anyway – now revolved around what I had hoped for in the beginning. I suspect this laughable result is not unusual, that it wouldn’t be the first time a child effectively wasted his or her breath on what turns out to be undetected and unexpressed vindictive. Yet for me the liberty to have done so placates my erstwhile haunting discontentment. As my father is now dead I lost the opportunity to do so with him (though I admit I was very close when he was virtually on his death bed but such is the potency of restraint). Perhaps today’s adventure was a double-whammy for that reason alone! One wouldn’t want to make the same mistake twice. It does after all require a certain stimulus and the confluence of propitious circumstances.