Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Let Me Throttle That Genie

How does that saying go, "Be very careful what you wish for"? It seems that I have been invited away for the long weekend, to J's mother's home, (in a popular vacation destination town). Now, I've been wanting to be introduced to his family for the longest time, and within the past couple of months, I've met nearly every person who is important to him: I've finally met his sister-in-law, her mother, J's nephew (I'd already met J's brother pretty soon after we'd met), as well as J's ex-wife and her live-in boyfriend. And I took all this to be very pleasant progress in our relationship, and was happy to meet and spend time with each and every one of them. However, meeting his mother seemed to be a gigantic stumbling block.

She had come to town to visit a couple times in the past, and it would've been easy enough to bring me over to the brother's house for a short visit, but for some reason, J kept hemming and hawing about introducing us. Now, please, I KNOW that some people think that is the most gigantic step in the world, introducing someone to your parent, but he claimed that he wanted us to meet, but then one lame thing after the other would always get in the way. I even gently sounded him out about why he kept making excuses not to get us together. After more stammering and stalling, I finally just came out with it. "You don't think that I think, if I meet your Mom, that means we are getting married or something, do you?" I blurted. "Oh, no, nothing like that at all," he claimed, but he still resisted divulging what was going through his complicated cranium. I backed down, and didn't pursue it to the point of nagging, because I figured the best thing was to be patient, gently prod him on occasion, and when he was ready, he'd let me know.

Well, to my astonishment, he's finally ready. We are definitely going on Friday. And she's looking forward to meeting me.

Oh God, am I ready?

I'm actually going to meet her, at her home, and it's not like it'll be a dinner and then I can go exhale. Oh no, this will be four entire days living in his mom's house. Talking to her, hoping that I am passing muster, without knowing what the criteria are. The only possible known quantity by which I may be measured is against the ex-wife, and I fear I will come up lacking.

His ex was beautiful and talented and smart and... okay, a little nuts. They were married young and were together for a long time. They are friends now, all of the bitterness has dissipated, and from what I gather, the ex is still in contact with his mom. I'm getting the distinct feeling that he hasn't brought anyone over to meet his mother since they split, and it's just now occuring to me that it would be very natural to make comparisons. Well, his mom will have no problem noticing that I share the ex's propensity towards nuttiness, and although I concede that I lean a little too heavily on self-deprecation at times, the fact is that in many ways, the ex is really a tough act to follow. And I wish I'd thought about some of this before doggedly steering him towards this course, but now, as you have already summised, it's too late, and there's not much I can do about it.

Yes, yes, I know. "Get some fucking backbone and just go be yourself, Carrie. All will be fine." And even if she doesn't like me, if perhaps she is deeply offended by where I leave the wet washcloth after showering, or the way I eat peas, or the way I might laugh at jokes at her favorite political party's expense, whatever, all is not lost. J would probably find her dislike of some of my ideals and opinions endearing even, since he and his Mom are not on the same sides regarding many issues. Still and all, I find myself suddenly desperate for this woman's approval. Not having parents of my own anymore, I would really be grateful if his mother ended up liking me.

You know how in all those jokes about finding a genie and getting him to grant you three wishes, there always seems to be a kicker if you aren't incredibly specific when wording the wish? Like you might be granted money and fame, but it'll be as a dispised dictator, and you are in every assassin's gun sites? Well, I didn't remember, when I was simply wishing to meet his Mom, to put in a stipulation that we would end up liking each other. Didn't I learn anything at all from that movie, "Bedazzled"? (The old version with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, looking very George Harrison-y, of course.) Like how the devil kept granting poor Dudley his wishes, but each one was marred by some missed loophole that the devil found in the wish? I thought I was paying attention.

Movies can be educational, as well as entertaining, if only we'd learn their important lessons. For example:

  • When you hear the moaning and chains coming from the scary looking house - DON'T GO IN. I don't care how curious you are, you are going to loose a limb in there, I promise.

  • If you are a 20-something year old guy, and you spend hour after hour talking with your best friend, a pleasant looking brunette girl, about how you want, need and must have that popular blonde girl, you should just give up your quest for the blonde. By the end of the movie, you will end up in love with the brunette best friend anyway, so why not just cut to the chase?

  • Contrary to the rule just above, if Meg Ryan is in the movie, the male lead should just fall in love with her already, since he's going to anyway, and he may as well get that over with, before she cries. She's good at being able to cry on command, by the way, so special note to police officers: I wouldn't trust her if she's bawling her eyes out trying to get out of that ticket. You just keep on writing, officer.

  • Most importantly to the point, here: When the genie or other supernatural being offers to grant your wishes, call a lawyer and draft a loophole-free document, leaving no aspect of the wish uncovered. Really think it through, too, because once you get what you asked for, there is often no looking back.

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