They can’t drive you crazy if you don’t give them the keys…
What a great title for a book! I saw this when I was browsing through the book selection while volunteering at our local VA. It reminded me of Mother and our dear stepmother Beatrice, both of whom loved nothing more than driving us crazy with or without the keys. In fact, keys have always been a concern in our family.
When we were young, Mother would stumble in from another drinking binge, set her keys down somewhere and naturally never remember where she had put them later. When she came to the next morning, the mad hunt began for the all-elusive keys. Hungover and feeling surly, Mother would bellow out in her loud and irritating voice:
Who the hell has my keys? I am so sick and tired of you kids playing this game. Find them and I mean now!
My sister and I would begin scurrying like squirrels hunting for acorns but to no avail. Mother became louder, if it’s possible to raise your volume above that of a train whistle. The more she yelled and bellowed, the faster my sister and I scurried. We knew the sooner we found them, the sooner she would shut the hell up.
Now you may be wondering why it was our problem since she was the one who threw the keys down in her drunken stupor the night before. Interesting fact about both Mother and Stepmother: any problems, especially ones that inconvenienced them, were always the fault of the kids. Not taking or accepting responsibility worked pretty well for them. The more out of control they were, the faster we tried to put an end to this miserable existence.
In the case of Mother and the missing keys, once the keys were located, there was never a thank you or an I’m sorry. That would be perceived as a sign of weakness in the battle of life with the Macon County Mama. And the same held true for the second Macon County Mama, our stepmother. Drama was their middle name and trauma was their cry. Whether missing keys, cigarettes, even our very existence were valid reasons for them to lose it.
Drive us crazy? Yes, they tried even when we had our own set of keys!