I have two new elderly companions, two dotty old bats who drive me nearly 'round the bend with their incessant complaining and bickering among themselves. Their names are Granny and Mamaw and they're the kind of old ladies that make you want to take them to Bingo down at the AmVets hall and leave them for four or five hours. Or forever.
Granny and Mamaw are with me constantly, their querulous voices hounding me throughout the days, strident over the clicking of their knitting needles and the repeated bangings of their canes on the floor. I can't even go to the bathroom for a private, relaxing wee without them standing outside the door, insisting that I listen to their litany of grievances. I have tried turning on the exhaust fan and even the tub water; I've even stuck my fingers in my ears and hummed "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," a song for which I ordinarily entertain a very limited fondness, in an effort to drown them out.
But I can still hear them. And let's face it: You have to come out of the bathroom sometime. no matter how often you plead with your husband to just push a peanut butter sandwich under the door; try as you might to be content with your water supply and access to towels and blankets. And when I come out, they are there waiting for me to run their gauntlet:
"Mommy, why do I have to wear these dumb boots? I hate boots. They make my feet feel all sweaty."
"She took my hoop earrings, Mommy. She didn't even ask. And she'll probably lose them, just like she loses every other thing in the world that isn't nailed down."
"Mommy, why do we have to have stupid chicken for dinner again? I'm sick of chicken. What do you have against chickens, that we have to eat them all the time?"
"Make her stop, Mommy. She is the worst pest I have ever known, like ten thousand mosquitos. She jumped out of the closet and scared me and so I pinched her and now she's upstairs crying like a big baby and saying she's going to 'get me.' How am I supposed to stand this?"
"Mommy, she is so mean. She is the meanest, biggest, dumbest big dumb head I have ever known, just like a big bunch of buttered bees. And you want to know why?..."
"Mommy, why do I have to read The Yearling? Why? Nobody else in the world has to read this stupid book except me. I hate it. All about this...this...fawn. And this boy. And they are so boring nobody could ever care in the world about their dumb swamp and...."
Is there someplace in Florida that I could send these two too? Or better yet, is there a place where I could go? I would even consent to go to The Villages, Florida's Friendliest Hometown for People With Leathery Suntans and Unattractive Tennis Visors. Just for some peace. P-e-a-c-e.
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