Let me clue you in on a little secret: I’m always stressed.

These days, where my mother wants to shop, but isn’t ready, making me wait and wait, and then roll her around — a strenous activity — and keep track of my father and gifts and all, then come home and slam dinner together, well, they are very high stress.  You may have noted that I’m not writing very much, for example.

But here’s the other part: it’s vital that I never, ever, ever let my tension show.  My father just gets upset, and trying to process is impossible. 

My mother will take some tension, as long as I process; for example, when she pushed the cart I was trying to pull past her chair, forward away from her chair, I was clear that it not only frustrated what I was trying to do, it put the cart out of my reach and my control, so I could not then clear the blockage from where I was.  She listened and understood and it was over fast.

But I tried to clear the refigerator fast so my father could leave the loo, and he stopped me to enquire what the mess was, the mess that was beyond where I was and beyond where he was, a mess in the dark twelve feet in front of me, on a path that he was blocking.  How the fuck could I know?  Turns out I hadn’t properly sealed the soy sauce bottle and it had tipped in the door of the refigerator and spilled a bit on the floor, and I was supposed to have known and understood what it was but (and here cometh the lesson) since I move so fast and never think, I created the problem.

He was upset, wished he went out to eat, because he gets jangled and uncomfortable. 

I understand the rules.  Jangled and uncomfortable is bad, so it must be avoided.  Problem is that for me, there is no way it can be avoided, rather it can only be swallowed and submurged.   I am stressed, and much of that stress is about consuming my own stress so it never shows, because my mother doesn’t have the energy to process it, and my father doesn’t have the cababilities to process it.

When my father makes the wrong turn, it’s important that I say “I thought we would turn down Route 50, but that didn’t happen,” rather than saying “You made a wrong turn.”  There is no value in blame, so I just recalculate based on on what did happen.  Not something he can think to do.   I eat the stress, he spreads it.

Nothing here is planned, so getting ahead of the game is almost impossible.  And my job is to make it work and clean up after.  So I get all the stress, but the key is never letting any of it escape, always barreling it tightly so no one is jangled.

Only one more way I need to die, and like the poor fella who fell in the Mohawk and died today, I hope it comes soon.