To be objective.

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Yesterday, during a telephone call, a friend asked me how things were going for the LSO and myself. Although I refer to this person as a friend she actually knew the AP before me, meeting her about 16 years ago. The AP would have been about 84 years old then, still driving, active both physically and mentally and generally doing pretty well for her age. In retrospect I think my response was too honest. There is no way anyone can have any idea what we live with or what this person who lives with us has become unless, of course they have been down the same road or have stayed long enough to witness her manipulative ways and self interest.

The response I got was interesting and when looked at afterwards I realised that some things would have been best left unsaid, not strangely enough for them but for me and for the LSO. It was obvious that they think we exaggerate when in fact we tend to understate the problems. The AP can keep bluffing in the short term and appear to be what she always was but once they have gone the real person emerges. They only hear what they want to and because they all see so little of her or only communicate on the telephone, talk is of the past and any information given on present circumstances comes out very muddled later on. The AP can deal with the past, anything now or recent is forgotten, confused and mostly wrong and that is just a problem of old age. The LSO and I can cope with all that.

I guess in future I will limit my responses not that is, to pretend things are hunky-dory and going swimmingly but I do believe that for some they suffer an element of guilt that perhaps they didn’t do enough, or didn’t see what was coming. They don’t want to believe that the person they thought was sweet, intelligent and kind can also be devious, difficult and cruel especially to those closest to her.

They ask the questions but don’t really want to hear the answers. I have no doubt we are all guilty at one time or another of hiding behind a glass wall but for the LSO and myself the truth is not just out there but living with us.

Think.

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Think. To employ one’s mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation. As a verb it means to have a conscious mind, to have some extent of reasoning and the ability to make rational decisions. To also consider something as a possible course of action as well as to invent or conceive something as in, have a plan. Probably the definition that most springs to mind for me is to have consideration or regard for someone, to think of others first. There is also the belief that something is true of someone or something as in ‘to think evil of the neighbours’ and there are many more.

There are the idioms too, such as, to think better of, to think fit, to think nothing of, to think twice. All this is assuming that the person doing the thinking has all their faculties intact.

Where is this going? Well the AP’s latest affectation is to use the word ‘think’ employing a sarcastic tone of voice when she cannot remember a word and substitutes some nonsense instead. This latest happening was during a discussion at the dinner table about the tennis that led on to her saying that ‘another one’ must be starting soon. Not sure what ‘another one’ was we asked and the response was a sarcastic ‘think’ what game is played with a ball and a stick. Well we could think (that word again) of quite a few and asked which game was she referring to? The screwed up face was the first response followed by ‘ you know perfectly well what I mean’. Of course I guessed it was the snooker the AP was referring to and she had forgotten the name temporarily but to try and imply that we were somehow in the wrong was just plain silly.

As a one off I could see the funny side but there appears to be a pattern emerging here. This morning I am preparing a second batch of marmalade when the AP bumbles into the kitchen. I decide to update her on some of our movements next week and ask her if she would like a particular friend for lunch next Thursday. She thought (that word again) that would be a good idea and would ask her today. After a bit of a conversation about the time she was being picked up she announced that she would ‘have to put the thing in the thing when she got back later’. This time I had no idea what the AP meant and ask what ‘thing was she putting in what thing’? Now that was foolish of me, the response was, yes you’ve guessed, ‘think’ said with the attitude of are you thick? It was Oscar Wilde who said ‘sarcasm is the lowest form of wit’ and he was not wrong. I’m not sure which is worse though the present use of ‘think’ or ‘joke’ when the AP has been truly insulting.

Unfortunately this morning I wasn’t amused and pointed out that I had no idea what she was talking about and not to to tell me to ‘think’ in that way. It could have been anything really, put something in the bin, put a teabag in a cup, put her water bottle in her bag, put her stick in the car when I realised what she probably meant was to put the dates for next week on her calendar.

These unpleasant outbursts are all part of the AP trying to manipulate and control us but it will no longer work.

I think the moral to this sad little tale is that The LSO and I should have ‘thought twice’ and to have weighed up things more carefully before making our decision four years ago. We should have thought about what we were doing in much greater depth before taking on such a huge responsibility.

Ah, the value of hindsight!