Saturday, August 08, 2009

8/8/09 Steve's Birthday

Sitting at MVA...on a Saturday.

Walking in, there was an older woman walking out with a dull-looking teen in a backward-facing ball cap, horizontal striped polo shirt and long, loose denim shorts.

"She can't find it, because she never keeps her papers in order." Her thin wrinkled face wore a grim expression, and her husky voice and Baltimore accent reminds me of my mother-in-law.

We wind up sitting in the second row. Within a couple of minutes the grim woman and the dull-looking teen join a woman sitting in front of us, who appears to be the teen's mother. Apparently Maryland requires multiple evidences of your identity before allowing you the privilege of a drivers license, and the two women are griping back and forth about the papers required and what it will take to meet those requirements and not have to return. Or rather the older woman snips and gripes and the younger one occasionally defends herself or tries to get a word in edgewise.

Their discontent and animosity toward each other is making me ill.

From the lines on the older woman's face, it's obvious that she has spent much of her life unhappy and upset. The younger woman keeps her face turned away from her most of the time, and from their manner toward each other it is clear that this is just a new chapter in an old quarrel.

I can't figure out who these people are to each other. This could be mother-in-law/daughter-in-law or mother/daughter. I don't know which thought makes me sadder. Just having both these women tied to each other in some way is sad enough. It appears that they all live together, as grandma leaves briefly and returns with a copy of her lease to prove the address of the boy.

As I watch them the reason for the boy's expression becomes clear. Remaining disengaged is his way of surviving this constant state of misery. Living in his own world is his way or avoiding his grandmother's wrath and caustic words. It makes me sad to watch what is part of a continuing drama. Even though the players seem accustomed to their parts and their reactions dulled, there is a sad and pained expression on the face of the mother. Her eyes carry a sheen of unshed tears and her face is beginning to set in lines of pain and disappointment.

Watching them I want to reach in with my Jedi mind trick: "You aren't angry at her any more." I whisper toward the old woman, waggling my fingers toward her. "She doesn't bother you," I am at the younger woman. They are not receptive to Jedi mind control.

Then their number is called and they head to the counter, taking their oppressive and depressing mood with them.

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