Friday, August 8, 2008

Fodder For Future Therapy

Sometime soon I will discuss what is my favourite reality TV show (as well as being one of my top shows of any type), "Intervention." The Intervention cameras follow around a crack or alcohol or food or whatever addict, who thinks he or she is merely the subject of a documentary on addiction, and not someone who will face an intervention at the culmination of that week's episode.

Inevitably there is one person, be it the addict's mother, father, sister, etc., who acts as an enabler -- who will give them a $20 when they ask for it or even give them a ride to a place where they know their brother, sister or child will meet up with crack or heroin dealer, for example, and get the drugs they need at that moment to keep them from going mad or getting violent or selling their bodies for the needed cash/dope/alcohol. Doing this sometimes tears up the person giving the addict the cash or ride or whatever, but they always explain to the cameras that they don't know what else to do and at least this way they know that for that one day, at least, their relative isn't doing nasty things for money or drugs or if they are getting high or drunk in their house, well, at least they know where they are.

That's what I felt like this afternoon, as another "off day" was melting away as I shuttled my mother to the grocery store, bank, post office, etc. As I sat in the parking lot of the Far Far Northwest Side Dominick's as she took more than an hour to fill her cart with groceries, I seethed at her and her other "children," who cannot ever be bothered to shoulder some of the job of driving her around, spending time face-to-face with her, etc., particularly since going to the bank was not on the agenda when I spoke to her last night, nor was the post office, to return something she inadvertently ordered from some sweepstakes because she believes that if she buys stuff from Publisher's Clearinghouse or whatever, she may actually have someone show up on her front doorstep with an oversized check for hundreds of thousands of dollars (seriously. she thinks this. her other children have no idea of haw far gone she really is).

She kind of said under her breath she had to go to the bank, and I was already so upset with her and her other children that as we were driving back to her apartment I turned onto her street and did not keep going, on to the bank. She then spoke a bit louder, saying she had to go to the bank and I said, 'what for?' to which she replied 'to get my rent money.' I didn't and still don't, believe her. Especially since Thursday when I called her and asked 'what's up?' she groaned and said, 'you don't want to know.' I then said 'oh, been talking to your other kids?' and she said she had been. Which can only mean someone needs money, someone cried, someone presented the most dire of all previously dire pictures to her and there were more tears and more pleas for cash. Also, as soon as she got in the car after filling my trunk with her groceries, she was nervously tapping her fingernails on the armrest.

Maybe she was getting cash for rent, but I tend to think she also withdrew some funds to give to either her 53-year-old daughter or her 58-year-old son -- neither of whom can ever be bothered to ever actually do anything for her and whose dual pillaging of her bank accounts after she sold the old family home led to her declaration of bankruptcy a few years back.

In any case I felt like the mom on Intervention who drives her son to the crack dealer and waits in the parking lot of the parking lot of the suburban Ohio or Missouri Denny's while her boy shoots up or smokes up in the bathroom. But what else can I do? Just Say No and cause more tears? Scream at her? She's 80-something years old and obviously instead of smoking crack or shooting heroin, she continues to fund the lives of her oldest children when though there has to be a part of her that says this is bad (then again maybe she thinks she can, as long as one day Ed McMahon shows up with a big cardboard check).

Or I can hope that a job far, far, away opens up, which I can't refuse, and I can leave them and the psychological damage they are doing to me all behind.

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