Thursday, August 26, 2004

My Aunt Frieda - Queen of the Nile

I started this post last week, but never finished it because it's been madness around here. There are many stories about my Aunt Frieda, and occasionally one pops into my head. I was walking to work the other day, and saw some bumper stickers that reminded me of my Aunt Frieda.

Aunt Frieda has three beater cars that all should have been sent to the junkyard years and years ago, but she persists in driving them anyway. They all have a constant rash of bumper stickers across their rear ends, mostly of a smug, didactic nature.

A few of my favourites have been the AA stickers. Aunt Frieda is not a drinker, but was married to an alcoholic for many years, and subsequently is a rabid Al Anon member. My favourite AA bumper sticker of all time has got to be "Denial is Not Only a River in Egypt". Aunt Frieda can spout the twelve-steppin' lingo with the best of them, but interestingly enough, none of it seems to apply to her own life. Hence, My Aunt Frieda, Queen of Denial.

Aunt Frieda's quest to be justified through Al Anon once resulted in my sister and I being dragged as 8 and 9 year olds to the AA RoundUp in Kindersley. If you have never been to an AA RoundUp, it's a conference of alcoholics. Hundreds and hundreds of AA members getting together in a room for a day of inspiration. Probably a great experience for adult alcoholics. There I was, though, at age nine, listening to grown men describe hitting bottom, in graphic detail. Young children do not need to hear graphic details about hitting bottom. As a child I knew this on some level, but life was very weird in our family, and so it took years for me to become enraged at her decision to take us there.

Nowadays, I am occasionally ill-behaved (e.g. inappropriate tantrums, snippiness, etc.) and feel very bad about it afterwards. One of the ways I deal with it is to remind myself that I come from a background of chaos and am really quite high-functioning in society, all things considered. And I fancy that every time I have a tantrum, it is smaller and less embarassing than the last one. One can only hope.

Or live in denial. But that's not me. That's my Aunt Frieda.


Blogger argotnaut said...

I think your aunt trumps my dad, who took me to bars with him "so I could see how other kinds of people live." Har, har, har!

7:22 pm  
Blogger liz said...

It's all just a natural reaction to an unnatural situation!

2:56 pm  

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