Mom vs. Work: I Choose Work


Surprise, surprise, it’s Day 4 in the middle of the fucking night here, and I am full-on livid. My mother drives me goddamn insane. Let’s start from the beginning, bc I know you care. First order of the day was to set up a new bank account for my maternal grandfather. The other night, when J and I took mom walking in the vicinity, we came across a bank. It was on the north side of the park. Yesterday evening, when my mother told my dad we were going to the bank, he probably spent 30 minutes trying to give her directions on where the bank was. Finally, I told him to stop micromanaging everything and that we would get her to the bank.

So this morning, my mother is insistent that she knows where the bank is. My 90+ year-old grandfather comes along. We get outside, and I tell her I’m pretty sure it’s on the north end. No, no, no, she knows where it is. So we walk all along the south end of the park– a pretty good distance in the humid, muggy heat. Guess what. The bank is in the northeast corner. I mean, sure, we’re allowed to make mistakes bc that’s part of the growth mindset. Just uh, if you are so goddamn insistent and my grandfather is hobbling along, can you please be sure you’re right? Fine. At the bank, everything takes for fricking ever. Flashback to my days in China…

We finally are done and head back. We stop by the 7/11 downstairs to get lunch bento boxes. I’m already exhausted. While everyone sleeps, I go out and explore around: buy some stamps for mom and some soft serve ice cream she’s been talking about. In the afternoon, I take my mother to Costco, which is down the road. Again, she tries to be the backseat driver even though I tell her I read the map and know how to go. Pretty much every other turn, she advises the opposite direction of what I’m supposed to do. I just ignore her.

Costco appears pretty similar to the US version. Everything is at least $10 USD. We get home, and the oldies are famished. I can’t get food on the table fast enough for them. God, is this the hustle involved with feeding a family? By 7p, I am fucking exhausted again. Throughout the day and night, calls come in: from my dad, from two aunts, from my cousin… back and forth. Logistical shit about groceries and the required paperwork for my grandfather’s health insurance here. Blah, blah, blah. It’s kinda like my dad is the CEO and then all the relatives are his employees getting shit done. It’s too damn much. Again, this is why people like my mother and brother are unable to do shit on their own, bc they are constantly babied. My father argues that there’s an efficient way to do things. Well, I don’t want to be involved in every fucking detail, so let people get things wrong so they can learn it themselves. This dichotomy in philosophy has been a point of contention between myself and my family since the very beginning. I’m all about efficiency, but fuck man, I’m also about self-sufficiency, empowerment, and independence.

Other logistical debates center around money and currency exchange and depositing money. Old people: sometimes they are distrustful of banks. Long story short, 8p rolls around and I am beaten down. I go to bed. Then, at 2a, I awake. Do some work: guidance to a student intern who’s creating a video. Then my mother wakes and tells me my fav cousin, Hong is dating a new lady. My family is hyper gossipy and is always obsessing about the single folks getting married… I don’t want to get involved and say just that. Then, my mother asks me if I like my cousin!!! And she isn’t meaning as a friend. I about lose my shit. “What are you talking about? We’re close cousins. Yes, I like him.” WTF???? Then she says, I seem unhappy that he has found someone. I tell her that I haven’t even spoken to him at length about anything, so I don’t know what his situation is. “Oh well, you should ask him.” It’s like look: people can be single. You don’t have to harass them about their status all the fucking time. Maybe they are ok with it. If not, your added pressure does NOT help. And second, I’m not going to fall into your bullshit gossip circle. If I talk to him and he mentions it, then I’ll listen. What, bc I don’t immediately jump for joy about him possibly having an interest (whom we’re not even sure he likes), then I’m interested in him? Then she says all this shit about my marriage and that I need to support it. OMFG, are you kidding me? You, who practically has a parent-child relationship with your spouse, are giving me marriage advice? LI-VID.

Here’s the thing: I know some people are not on board about me having guy friends whom I’ll stay with overnight. I know that’s sometimes a difficult or counterintuitive concept, and people are doubtful or suspicious or whatever. It’s an old question of whether platonic opposite-sex relationships are legit. Whatever. The thing is, though, at the end of the day, it’s MY BUSINESS. And then for her to suggest something inappropriate with my COUSIN??? I’m completely enraged. It just adds to her overall cluelessness about everything! Part of me wanted to be sarcastic and say, “Yes mom. I’m having an affair with my cousin.” But she gets confused easily, so I just said, “Yes, we are close friends. Just bc we’re close doesn’t mean we are having a sexual relationship.” I am sickened that I even have to spell this out. Do you see what I mean? Does she even KNOW her own daughter?

I tried to calm myself down by thinking about my friends who have made comments before about my friendships with guy friends. They ask and want to know. Why do I have the patience to explain to them, and yet when my mother asks, it’s an absolute outrage? I don’t know. I feel like I explain to my friends, and then it’s done. With my mom, she responds by saying all this extra crap like, “I just want you to treasure your marriage. I say all these things bc I care about you.” Fucking bullshit. You just worry about what other people think. And you yourself have watched way too many soap operas.

Whatever, then the conversation evolves into trying to pressure me re: the amount of money I’m gifting. She says that I need to save money for myself, bc I don’t have kids and none of my nieces and nephews will care for me when I’m old. I really don’t give two fucks about getting old. I don’t want my nieces and nephews to take care of me. I really feel like once I get to that point, I’ll be ok with assisted suicide or whatever. Anyway, round and round. Like I said, she’s paranoid and neurotic. I told her our finances are fine, and I’m going to leave my job soon. I don’t want her calling me every damn day harassing me about my job status. Yup, in my fit of rage, I forgot my plan to just leave my job decision secret. I was going to pretend like I was still working… Oh well. Gone down the drain.

Clearly, I cannot stand how fucking polar opposite we are. I told her that I don’t live my life with all that distrust of people and debilitating fear, so I am not going to take any of her advice bc it does NOT apply to me. I swear to god, she misreads EVERYTHING. I didn’t show curiosity/interest in my cousin’s dating life so automatically that means I’m jealous bc I want him for myself???? ARGH!! She is CRAZY!

After she finally left me the fuck alone, I just sat in the dark trying to pipe down. I wanted to call Bubbey but he’s at work bc it’s midday in California now. I keep thinking to myself: she’s mental. Can you fault people who are sick or ill? They can’t help it. But holy fuck, sometimes I HATE HER! I know I sound like a freaking high schooler slamming doors and stomping my feet, but why is she is so frustrating? What is the right way to cope with her? Like the cousin scenario. Was I supposed to just calmly reply. No, Mom. I do not have the hots for my cousin. I’m thrilled that the aunts set him up (matchmaking is big here) with a suitable person. Maybe he can finally settle down and have a family. More grandkids for my uncle and aunt. Yay!! SMH.

Then all day she’s been bitching about her mobile phone. It’s not the most user-friendly, that’s for sure, but all she needs to know is how to answer, hang up, check missed calls, and dial. Well in Taiwan, there are a shit ton of spam text messages. The messages are purportedly from Taiwan Mobile, saying you haven’t paid your bill. So she’s freaking out. I told her to call and ask the company. Of course, in my family’s typical fashion of over complicating EVERYTHING, it’s registered under my aunt’s name (hand holding central!) so she can’t get into the account. Blah, blah. Last time this happened, my aunt called, and the rep said the messages are spam. Well, clearly mom doesn’t accept that answer, and she insists something is wrong. I tell her that tomorrow we’ll go visit my paternal grandfather and then she can go to the store who set it up for my aunt and show them the messages. She wants ME to go. Meanwhile, I can’t read and I only know conversational level Chinese. WTF. I’m not going to solve your problem for you. I will drive you there and go with you, but I’m not going to be your messenger. She says she doesn’t know the terminology and the technology. Well, neither do I.

I can’t fucking do this. Why can’t she just be a normal fucking person?

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