Saturday, January 12, 2008

More hilariousness from my family

My grandmother has what experts (I mean me) would call "martyr complex". She thinks that no one, and may I stress no one, has suffered as she has. My aunt, who we don't really talk to now due to a "disastrous" wedding reception last year, has a more severe case of this complex but that's another story. Remember the last time I talked about my grand mother? We were in a sort of cold war then with one side: my grandmother and her cheating theory and the other side: the rest of the family members living in this house who were very well-adjusted to living with an individual who suffers from "martyr complex".

Let me tell you how to handle someone with a "martyr complex", you ignore what triggered their martyr complex outburst and hope that they'll get over themselves soon. It might sound callous but that's the only thing that works with my grandmother (not with my auntie though, that'll be like throwing gasoline into a bushfire). Consoling her just makes her cry more and longer, showing her real cases of people who actually suffered more than she had only makes her angry (something about us belittling her suffering). Ignoring it all together is only a quickfix but it works.

So we were in the middle of our very own cold war under our (and the bank's) very own roof and we were using the tried and true approach to dealing with grandma by ignoring that she's angry with us and carry on as usual. And she was retaliating by refusing to eat properly and holding about 100 sleeping pills hostage against us. So we had a cold war and a hostage situation. After a week of the standoff, my grandmother declared that the war was over. No, she didn't just forgot, she stopped the "war" because she was scared that we would put her in a nursing home. It wasn't actually a threat per se. My Mom just had enough of being worried about grandma and told her that if she didn't let us take care of her we would have to put her in a nursing home for complete strangers to take care of her. It worked like a Zyrtec(c).

So the war ended but that doesn't mean my grandma would stop talking, mainly to me, about my dad sneaking out of the house to visits his mistresses. Her new obsession now is telling other people to eat. One day she woke the Alarmist up at 7 am (extremely early for the Alarmist who is still on holiday from uni) to tell her that she should go eat breakfast immediately and then she can carry on sleeping. The Alarmist, obviously, wasn't impressed.

Another of my grandmother's new thing is calling me by the Alarmist's name, calling the Alarmist by my other sister's name and referring to my dad behind his back as what can be translated to English as "old bastard" or "old man". Vietnamese is strange that way, one word can mean bastard, man and boy at the same time and you can differentiate what the speaker meant by the tone of their voice. The way my grandma said it, she meant "old bastard".

All the name swapping that's going on in my grandma's head makes for a hilarious situation. One day my other sister called home to speak to the Alarmist. My Grandma picked up the phone and said that the Alarmist is not home. The funny thing was, the Alarmist was right there next to grandma, with her headphones on utterly oblivious to the fact that grandma was answering the phone. Grandma was quite right because as far as she was concerned the alarmist's name referred to me and I was out. Funny hey?

One good thing that comes out of this whole grandma situation is that my parents have already sworn off living with any of us kids when they're old. They said that they wouldn't want to live with us even if we invite them to. Oh, and we didn't invite my grandma to live with us, she demanded that she live with us. Old asian people, you can't understand them.

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