Time marches on, and things you never want to see come to pass ….

“There was a time”
“What? Excuse me?”
“I said, ‘There was a time.'”

The opening line of a movie called ‘Lucky Number Slevin’, This line leads into Bruce Willis’ character describing ‘The Kansas City Shuffle’ to some schmuck who owed too much money to the wrong kingpins. The next appearance he makes in the movie is in one of their freezers.

This is relevant because sometimes life seems like a Kansas City Shuffle ….
You move right, they look left, that’s the Kansas city shuffle …

And as our enterprising hit-man points out …. You can’t have a Kansas City Shuffle without a body….

It’s coming up on 15 years ago I started work at a Nursing home. I took the job because I needed paid work, teaching at the university wasn’t giving me the hours I needed to pay the bills, and I had an in with the company, my mother was a recreational therapist for the same nursing home.

Not that we ever ended up working together. I was in the …. well let’s just say it was the ‘less than independant’ section.
Because I needed to pay bills, I didn’t turn down shifts, which meant I ended up getting steadily more and more shifts in the locked dementure wing.

Let me tell you, there is nothing more eye-opening regarding the effects of a degenerating brain than working in a dementure wing. Nothing. And there is little more depressing than slaving away day after day, being mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, nephew, neice and cousin to these people. People who have often lived long and interesting lives, people who often don’t know who or where they are …. People who, if they are lucky, don’t realise they don’t know who they are.

I worked there for 3 years before moving across the world to the other hemisphere ….

That little story is really just for context, and to explain why the Kansas City Shuffle reference hammers through my head …..

Now we jump forward over 10 years

Yeah yeah yeah – so my brain thinks with sound effects, live with it, I have to …

After moving to Canada, contact with my blood family became … well spotty at best.
I refuse to expend effort contacting my father. He has made it very plain on many occasions just what he thinks of me, and rather than roll in that mud I choose to simply walk away. I think it is endlessly entertaining how he tells my kid sister how hard he has been trying to reach me, yet he has not lifted a finger.
Which brings us to my kid sister. While relatively computer savvy, she is entirely social network phobic, a product of nurturing in the juices of my fathers many conspiracy theories and whackaloon claims. So contact with her is through skype and e-mail primerally. And when I attempt that, I am ignored about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time I am given the ‘smile and nod’ which is tantamount to being ignored.
Ohhh, and there is the christmas card… In our family, if you recieve an annual christmas card with a letter in it (kept to one page and folded into the card so the card may be sent ‘card only’ post which is cheeper) then you know that you have been evicted from the dog-house because there is a ‘more deserving’ black sheep.

(I tried to explain the significance of the card and letter too my wife a few months ago …. she didn’t understand)

And there is my mother. My mother is an abysmal letter writter, and even worse when it comes to keeping in touch by phone …. as for the internet …. Phew – Fuggetaboutit!! I have never come across someone as technophobic about the internet as her. To be fair, she has made some attempts …. these attempts have all been utter failures bar one, and that one is the only time there was a video skype chat between mine and my kid sister’s accounts.

Now don’t let this fool you, my mother is no fool. She is, in fact, highly educated, with something like 4 diplomas and 2-3 degrees, mostly attained later in life. She also has the distinction of having been the head chef at a number of distinguished hotel restraunts in Sydney and Brisbane. Taking it further back, give her enough time and she’ll proudly tell you how she peeled potatoes for the queen …. The point is, she’s smart, educated, and tough enough to make old nails look like melted butter.

So after many years of attempting to establish a regular contact between ourselves and my mother (and my kid sister) I had given it up for a dead loss. Much to my wife’s distaste. Unlike my ever patient better half, I am not particularly close with my family …. well these days that’s not an entirely true statement, but that’s another story.

So I was entirely surprised when I got this letter from ‘home’ and from my mother specifically ….
Then I read it. First red flag, it was typed. My mother HATES typing.

The next thing, it was spelled in the manner that a 5 year old would spell …. I should clarify, that an AVERAGE 5 year old would spell. (by the time I was 5 I was reading ‘The Foundation Trilogy’ by Asimov and correcting the teacher’s spelling, even if I coudn’t do readable handwriting to save myself).

The next thing was the content. I’m not going to go into exactly what she said, but it is apparent, that my mother is, or is fast becoming, one of those zombies that I used to care for.

And I honestly have no idea what to do with this information….

There is nothing we can do from the other side of the world, not without WAY more money than we have. And I don’t trust my kid sister with this. But I also have no choice.

Bah – And putting this down in pixelated text hasn’t given me any insights either … Ahhhh well …. till next time ….


~ by scawalrus on October 30, 2013.

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