Observe and Reproach: On Living With Your Parents

Living with parents is nice, except it’s weird to have people constantly observing your every move. “Is that a second glass of wine?” “Who’s calling you?” “Are you going to put the cheese away?” “Why did you sleep so late?” “Why does the dog like you more than me?” “Are you taking another shower?”…“Huh, okay.”

Regular roommates observe your every move too, but they don’t study it like how you might study a very difficult chemistry problem or a stray dog headed your way. They also don’t comment on it, because your roommate knows they themselves are not above reproach. Parents would probably love for you to observe and reproach them, but as you told them just yesterday, I HAVE A LIFE, MOM!

The worst is actually when they don’t comment, because it usually means they are too horrified to fully process your latest affront and will need time to think about it before knocking on your door three days later while you’re in the middle of an episode of The Good Wife— “Are you watching anotherepisode?”—to say, “I’ve been thinking about what you said the other day…” Whenever my mom says that she has been thinking about something I said the other day, I know nothing good is coming. Then she will relay some observation she has recently made and how it fits into some pattern of bad behavior she has actually been observing for decades, but has not been able to fully comprehend until now when I have handed her the last piece of the nasty little puzzle. If I argue she’ll say, “Okay,” in a serene way that suggests you can only lead a 28-year-old to water. You can’t make them fall in love with the nice guy down the block.

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