For many years, I have hated with fiery passion when my mother did the following things:
1. Stare pointedly at the bath mat on the floor and the open shower curtain and yell at me for not picking up the mat and closing the curtain. "I'll just do it," she would say, ever the martyr in the fight against mildew. Sometimes I would be on my way to do it, others I would have just forgotten. There has never been a single time she said it where I haven't wanted to jam something into her ear canal.
2. Bitch at me for draping my jacket over the top of the coat tree. "Nobody else can access their coats when you do that," she would say..."And besides it makes the tree tip over." Though not as awful as the bath mat litany, the coat tree diatribe was terrible. Sometimes, for example if you are rushing in the front door in desperate need of the potty, you just don't have time to carefully hang your coat on the little hook. Sometimes you are just pissed off at a bad day and it feels good to hurl the thing over the top.
I haven't lived with my mother for years, but those two peeves of hers continue to plague me even on brief visits home. Instead, I now live with Corey. My cookie-pie. The love of my life. And, on top of the numerous other things I find to nag him about, I do the EXACT same things as my mother.
I was actually on the phone with her this evening when I started to yell at Corey about his coat tree mess. We only have a coat tree because we lost the mirror with hooks where our jackets used to hang nicely. Now, I have have three jackets hung by their little loopies on hooks evenly spaced around the tree so it won't tip. Tonight he threw his enormous ski jacket over the top and it's leaning against the wall on two legs.
I caught myself with my mouth open to repeat my mother's worn speech and I was really upset. Why had her peeves become my own? Why am I subjecting Corey to the same punishment I loathed for so long? Will I ever inherit the wonderful things about my mother or just her strange nagging habits? Aren't I too young to care so deeply about coat tree arrangement?
The worst ending to this story is that I marched straight into the bathroom, where I was unsurprised to be bothered by the open shower curtain and the bath mat crumpled on the floor with a big, muddy shoe print in the middle of it.