The dialog(ette)s or conversations that comprise my mother’s communication consist of the following topics. This has been consistent for the last 10ish years:

  • While listening to music, of any flavor, she’ll start tapping her knee in a syncopated rhythm and explain how she figured out, some years ago, the ‘beat’ is on the up tempo. She’s hearing the beat to any song as syncopated. There’s no point correcting her on this, or agreeing half way. We acknowledge what she says and move on.
  • The same family lore, tales and stories, much of having to do with how rotten her mom was.
  • Driving in LA.
  • Cleveland car lore… She asserts there were 300 brands of cars manufactured in Cleveland when she was a child in the ’30’s.
  • Stories about the Ranch, and her riding prowess.
  • The family drive from Cleveland to Phoenix when she was 16, which includes lots of angst about her mother. 
  • Riffing on my paternal uncle, hard.This is one line of conversation that I put a stop to when it rears its ugly head. My uncle is politically and religiously conservative. Mom has decided he is the world’s biggest anti-Semite… Literally. My uncle honored my request to stop emailing me right-wing rhetoric. When we talk he signs off saying he prays for our family, and I thank him. He is not an anti-Semite. When mom walks down this path I tell her, “Mom, you never have to see your brother-in-law again. Ever. Let it go…” She concedes that this is so, but then gets on my ass for disagreeing with her.
  • Complaining about the food she’s served. When this started up, it drove me mad. I’d serve her things she taught me how to cook, only to have the dishes critiqued. Then it grew to restaurants, and now her AL community dining room, whose chef was (I’m sure I’ve mentioned) swiped from one of our renowned regional resorts. Turns out, this, like everything mentioned above, is a method of socialization (probably also mentioned before!). She can’t initiate conversation anymore… Complaining is easy, while she eats what she’s complaining about!

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