Friday, February 26, 2010

MIL and the Chinese Man

My MIL apparently really enjoys cleaning, and she's very nosy. She used to bring her cleaner over to my house and they'd make a fine old time of it, coming to me every 15 minutes with some interesting object to ask what it was. Or to ask if they could throw it away. A lot of times these things came from deep in drawers where those two really had no business being, but I just went with it. Sort of. More like gritting my teeth and asking myself, "Do they honestly think I don't know where the garbage can is or how to use it? Do they think I brought something all the way from America so I could throw it out here because our garbage cans there aren't good enough?"

The complete and abysmal failure of some people's logic systems never ceases to amaze me. Anyway.

While I was in the US, BE called the cleaner to come and tidy up the evidence of his two weeks alone here without me. He told MIL he'd done this. Naturally, MIL invited herself over to "help." I wasn't home to stop it, and BE admonished her to not rearrange, throw away or otherwise remove a single thing from the house. She's been bawled out about this enough times to get it, but it took a lot of times.

Note: My cleaner, BTW, is on my team on the MIL issue. She reports that MIL "helps" by ironing everything in the house, and making sure to get a good look at everything else. This explains why all the clothes in drawers are inside-out after MIL has been through.


I have this picture on my night-table:

I put the pen there to give you an idea of the size of this picture. It's very small. The picture came from an art history book (and no, I didn't cut it. I don't cut books). It's a photograph of a statue of some god of wisdom. I've had it around since college. It's actually the frame I like most.

Every time, *EVERY TIME* MIL has a chance to get into the bedroom, this picture disappears.

Or should I say gets misplaced? It's always somewhere weird, like behind the bed or face-down under the night-table or like last time, on the floor in the corner under the curtains.

Unlike the fish mystery of the previous post, this mystery is solved, but only partially. It's definitely MIL doing it. Don't blame poor LE on this one, because it started happening before he was born, and his interest in this picture waned months ago.

But the real question here is, why the hell does she do this? Does she just hate the picture? Does she think it's something bad or scary? Is it the long ears? Or the fact that it's a Chinese man? Maybe she thinks he's an old flame I flaunt at my husband by keeping a photo of him at my bedside? Goodness knows.

BE doesn't believe me that this happens when his mom comes through. I asked him if she used to throw away or hide stuff of his she didn't like when he was little, and he said "Yes," yet the idea she's been hiding the Chinese man is inconceivable. It's not just knee-jerk mother protection either, because BE said "I know she's nuts but she's not that nuts."

I, on the other hand, have some serious reservations.


Nomad said...

This sounds like an episode from Everybody loves Raymond. Perhaps thats a grand idea. Bring her over and have her watch an episode and practice your question tags on her by saying, "Well that mother-in-law funny, ISNT'T SHE? But THAT is only a TV show, ISN'T IT? and in real life, people are quite different. AREN'T THEY!?" In Turkish, that's Demi? demi? demi?

Maybe she would get the message but probably not.. territorial respect is not widely recognized here.

Tip: Photocopy the Chin and plaster the dang thing in every nook and cranny of your bedroom. It is also possible to design your own wallpaper I hear.

Stranger said...

Were you here during the whole Semra Teyze thing? There was some reality show, something like "Can I Call You Mother?" where they put several couples with the boys' mothers all together in a house Big Brother style. Hilarity ensued.

Semra Teyze was one of the mothers-- a typical reality TV whore who keeps getting an extra five minutes added to her 15 minutes of fame from the show. Mostly she was famous for being an insane controlling loudmouth harpy. Anyway, the show was on while we were planning our wedding and MIL kept making cracks like "I don't want to be like Semra Teyze" or "This dress isn't too much like what Semra Teyze wore, is it?"

While MIL was nowhere close to the insanity of Semra Teyze (and thank goodness she's much quieter, though she does tend to repeat herself quite a lot-- a lifetime of no one really paying attention to her), there were some obvious parallels that I refrained from mentioning.

Poor Semra Teyze. Her son and the girl broke up despite all their promises to be together no matter what, and then I think he died of an ecstasy overdose a couple months after the show. Semra Teyze re-appears to screech on talk shows from time to time.

A lot of things in my life are like Everybody Loves Raymond, and I don't even like that show.

Nomad said...

Semra Teyze was a sad example of averagely awful people (as opposed to real nasty PITA) getting too much attention. The amazing part- the part I just could never get a grip on- was her inability, after the death of her son, to shrink back into the shadows "from wince she came." I don't mean to blame her for her son's death but, surely a normal person would have stopped and considered their own possible culpability in that situation and retired from the public stage with what (very) little remained of their dignity.
Of course, when it comes to that.. what the hell are Kardashians famous for anyway?

Stranger said...

It's so gorgeously tragic but I still won't watch reality TV. For the longest time I thought the Kardashians had something to do with Cher, and that's only because I got her last name wrong.

Vicky, Bursa said...

I'm surprised she doesn't stick a nazar boncuk on it or replace it with a picture of either Ataturk or one of those quotes from the Koran (of which we have been given many). It's probably a fear of the unknown and worry that he's some sort of mystic/religious figure who's presence will invite the evil eye.

The cleaner thing is very odd - my MIL also insists on being here when we have a cleaner, on the pretext of making sure she's doing her job properly, but really it's to have a nosy and remove things which she thinks are surplus to requirements, such as the whisks for my electric hand whisk.

renai said...

So funny! She fears it's some weird religous thing and because of that, she hides it. They are so superstitous about this kind of stuff. If you put a little nazar boncuk on the frame, I'm sure she'd be happy!

Stranger said...

You guys have a new theory about religious superstition. I hadn't thought of that.

I wonder why she doesn't just ask me about it if it troubles her so much. It's not like she has any issues about being nosy or asking me intensely personal questions.

pisipati said...

I think I know why she is behaving like that.I'm not 100%sure but,she thinks it is a picture of a totem,another religion's god's picture,totem means put in Turkish.The picture looks like Buda actually.Any kind of god or prophet picture or statue is forbidden in Islam anyway.So she thinks it will make good angels leave the house and this kind of thing brings bad karma.I'm not joking:-)In Islam we believe we are surrounded by good angels,totem pictures,naked people pictures make them leave the room or the house.We need their positive energy,if they are gone the place becomes uğursuz(ill fated in English,not sure).I'm not an expert and my english is not enough to explain it,but this is my guess

Stranger said...

Pisipati, you explained it fine. And you're right-- the picture does look like Buddha, though I would be surprised if MIL knows who Buddha is or what he looks like.

I never considered those kinds of superstitions. MIL is intensely superstitious but not especially religious. She's more religious than her husband and sons, but she's religious in a superstitious way, if that makes sense. I don't think she prays much, but she does stuff like fasting on certain days either to thank god for something or to ask god for something.

But yeah, if it has something to do with luck and angels, it doesn't surprise me. I'm surprised she let the picture stay at all, if that's the case.

seamus said...

Have you ever thought that she is trying to drive you mad?

The oddest thing about my MİL is her incredible self righteousness and indignation at her alleged poverty. What ever made her think that she could have 4 kids never work and rely on her unskilled husband's salary less his drinking gambling and smoking. In any country that would equal terrible poverty but to MIL ıt ıs all down to un named foreıgn powers keepıng Turkey poor.

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Hmm, what Pisipati is explaining sounds like Sunni superstition, the Alevi superstitions might be different.

Here's a fun entry in Eksi Sozluk about what they call 'Turkish Religion.'

Stranger said...

I think my MIL is equal opportunity when it comes to superstition. She'd embrace Scientology superstition if she had a chance.

And she's definitely a Türk dini follower (hee!) to a tee-- down to cutting your fingernails at night and the breadcrumbs thing.