This post was sparked by a phone call from my mother-in-law so, to be fair, I should dedicate it to her. However, given that I'm now going to insult the heck out of my in-laws, I'll leave this dedication anonymous.
Here's the thing: I really like my in-laws, and normally don't go in for bashing them.
Hmm. OK, it has happened on occasion.
But today I got a phone call, as I've already told you, from my mother-in-law and... well, here it is:
B2: [Knowing it's my mother-in-law by the caller ID display, I nonetheless always feign ignorance of the caller's identity] Hello?
Mother-in-Law: [Even more morose than usual, as though she's just seen a family of puppies run over by a bus full of dead orphans] Hi, [B2]. I'm still here with your dad at Kaiser, and I went to get a Pepsi, but... have you seen your dad?
B2: [Knowing that they have been at the hospital again, since they hang out there on weekends now that my father-in-law has beaten cancer. It gives them something to do] Uhh... no? Isn't he there with you?
Mother-in-Law: I went to get a Pepsi, and when I came back he was gone and I checked all the rooms and I went into the men's room but he's not around and I just don't know where he could be.
B2: Did you ask a doctor or a nurse?
Mother-in-Law: They said he was here, but he's not.
B2: Did you ask anyone else? How many doctors or nurses did you ask?
Mother-in-Law: He was right here, and I left to get a drink, and I just don't know where he is. Did you pick him up?
Mother-in-Law: ... O.K. Well... if you see him...
B2: Did he take the car?
Mother-in-Law: I don't know. If you see him, or if he calls, let me know.
B2: OK. Bye?
I feel it necessary to add (it heightens the dramatic tension to have left this detail until now) that neither is that old, nor feeble, and have never shown more than the usual in-law craziness (too many pills, salon appointments being classified as an essential, no food in their pantry). So is this just the beginning of the slide into dementia?
I mean, this is real old people stuff, right? Wandering away fom the hospital? Mother-in-law misplacing father-in-law? He showed up eventually; he said he's been down the street at a Quizno's, but still -- this is just not what I should be hearing, right?
[Promotional consideration provided by PepsiCo and Quizno's.]