Monday, September 26, 2011

The Weekend

I had my fourth and final shower in my hometown yesterday. It was really lovely, relaxing and calm, with food, wine and good company. My maid of honour was there, with another friend from high school, plus all of my aunts. I received some really useful and wonderful things, the sort of items the Dude and I have been in great need of, but have worked around doing without.

The second half of that day was to include going to a tea event, where writers would read aloud from their books. My ticket was a gift from my maid of honour and I was very keen on going. I love tea and I love books. Whether or not to experience the two together was something of a no-brainer. The shower began at 11:00 and we were to leave for the tea at 2:15.

There were a couple people who couldn't make it, some mothers of young children, for instance. One child had a fever and there were other child-related issues. Another family member had to work. However, one of the ladies who couldn't make it was my father's girlfriend. She's a nice woman, and let us know was likely going to be late for lack of a ride. This was fine with me and with everyone else. My aunts were going to enjoy each other's company after I left and if she could get there before 2:00, she would catch me.

My dad, though, intruded on the shower with his own ideas.

The phone rang and one of my aunts answered it. The conversation appeared to be strained as I watched her sentences cut short and her words grow more controlled and careful. She explained the shower was happening now, that I was busy, that I had another planned engagement afterwards which everyone had been aware of. She seemed reluctant to call me to the phone, yet unsure how to handle the terse and angry barrage on the other end of it.

I realized I was likely the only person capable of putting an end to this tomfoolery, so I took the phone and listened to my father angrily explain to me that my obligation for some reason was to stay at the shower so his girlfriend could come, regardless of whether I had another place to be. Explaining to him that this would be essentially throwing away my maid of honour's gift to me and abandoning our shared plans, which was obviously an insulting thing to do and an unreasonable demand to be making, fell on deaf ears.

He looks upon his lady as an extension of himself, and my inability to accomodate her late arrival as a refusal to accomodate him, and any such refusal as a gross act of disrespect, a respect he feels is his due no matter the personal costs to me or others.

I kept my voice firm, my words detached and coolly rational, which is the only way not to be drawn into a futile and emotionally fraught battle with someone whose mental state is as shaky as his argument. He changed his tactic, and in the tone of voice he usually reserves for saying "young lady", he began, "Now, I don't want to ruin your shower, but..." to which I cut him off to calmly inform him he already had. Realizing he would get nowhere, he said,"Goodbye!" with the sort of finality an agitated wife might tell her husband, "Fine!"

I accepted his goodbye and hung up first, which was unusual. Usually he is the one to slam down the phone, but I think he had overestimated the effect of his goodbye, thinking I would rush in and try to placate him and please him so he wouldn't hang up on me, and he remained on the phone, I think, to wait for my remorse.

I'd have felt embarrassed, but I have not kept my father's nonsense a secret with those I'm close with. They know what he's like and I offered no apologies for him and no explanations. I stopped owning my dad's behaviour a long time ago.

One might say the tension in the room after that was thick enough to cut with a knife, but we cut the cake instead and all was well. My maid of honour was understandably horrified about the whole thing. It was her gift that my father had taken issue with, but the ladies were quick to point out this was his problem, not hers.

Our tea event went ahead as planned and we had a lovely time. The readings were really good, and the snacks were tasty. I got a book and had it signed. By 5:00 I was in very good spirits. Despite my father's foolishness, I'd had a relaxed, scrumptious, friendly and cultured afternoon. I was invited out to dinner, but being the introvert I am, I was ready to just go home and absorb my day.

I'm home now, feeling a little tired, somewhat out of sorts. This is not a negative thing. Being very social and travelling between cities so quickly, I just need to readjust and have a quiet evening to re-energize. Despite my fatigue, I am feeling deeply satisfied.

I also had a wonderful talk with my aunt while I was there. No matter how well you may know someone, there can often be layers to uncover about a person under the right circumstances. I think I have a better understanding of her, who she is, how she feels. It's the sort of way I'd like to be with my own mother, if she were here.

Overall, I had a great weekend. And I have five weeks till my wedding. It hardly even seems possible.

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