Tag Archives: psychology

Your slip is showing

Lacking motivation or inspiration to come up with my own topics, I’m joining in today with Kate and some other folks and we’re doing a weekly theme, a shared topic each Wednesday.  Today’s is “Freudian Slips”.

This just goes to show how dry my creative font is.  Even though I was a psych major and still pick up my textbooks to read for fun, the only thing I can really think to say about a Freudian slip is that I didn’t know that Freud was a transvestite.  Thanks, I’ll be here all week!  Try the veal!  (Not really, veal is mean.  Try the penne vodka.)

I don’t have any stunningly funny stories about my own Freudian slips, and I can’t even muster the mental fortitude to remember something funny that happened to someone else.  Actually, I could link this topic back to parenthood.  But shit, I seem to link every topic back to parenthood.  As much as I love my kids I got sick of ‘hearing’ myself blog about them constantly, and I find my kids infinitely fascinating.  Or at least more infinitely fascinating than any other person on the planet would find them.

Well, darn it, I’ll go there anyway.

I slip up a lot when I yell at Jake.  He is, 98% of the time, an affable, friendly, independent, happy little guy.  Occasionally though, he pulls out the big guns and does something like write with a Sharpie on the wallpaper in the hallway.  Or color his whole hand in with a Sharpie.  Or other destruction, Sharpie-related or not.  When these things happen I am obligated, as mothers are, to yell.  (OK, I know some moms don’t yell.  And I’m all for natural consequences.  But really — if you do something dumb and destructive, I think a perfectly natural consequence is dealing with someone else getting upset about that boneheaded thing you did.)  Only I find when I go to yell at him I often don’t call him Jake.  Sometimes I call him Lane first…. which sort of illustrates who I’m usually yelling at.  And now that my brother’s living here, I will occasionally call Jake “Mark” when I yell at him… which sort of illustrates which other male in my life has supplied some of my most frustrating moments.

And speaking of Freud, let’s touch for a moment on the dream I had last night, which I’m sure Freud could have a field day with.  I don’t often wake up remembering a dream, so last night was notable for that, if nothing else.  But it was a weird couple of days… Lane’s been sick, I worked last night, I found out my friend Abby is expecting baby #2… and not that all that is weird but it made the last couple days a bit beyond run-of-the-mill.

(Edited to add a couple, in my opinion, pertinent details, for those who may be visiting for the first time:  my mom passed away ten years ago, and before I became a stay at home mom, I worked for seven years in human resources for a major pharmaceutical company, where I gained a healthy respect for the business and the products they make, but a general disdain for the currently popular sales model that most pharmas use to peddle their products.)

So… the dream.

I’m in the hospital with my mom.  Neither of us are IN the hospital, but for whatever reason we are hanging out there.  My mom tells me she thinks I should take a pregnancy test.  I don’t see why, I don’t think I’m pregnant, but whatever.  Lo and behold someone shows up, who functioned in the dream as both some sort of nurse AND as a pharmaceutical rep, wanted me to take a pregnancy test that for reasons unknown would cost my insurance company like $40.   I completely freaked out in the dream, yelling at this nurse/rep and telling her what a scam this was and there was no reason a pregnancy test should cost that much money, get me a $5 Target brand test and I’ll take it but I’m NOT peeing on a $40 stick.  She says, “would you really trust the results of a store-brand pregnancy test?  Do you think that’s the best decision for your baby?”  and I start yelling at her more, that she can’t make me feel guilty and like a bad mother for this decision and then I kick her out of the room.  That was about it.  I never did take a pregnancy test in the dream.  Your thoughts welcome!  🙂

Blabbity blah blah swollen glands

We had a make-up Easter dinner at the in-laws’ today.  It was OK.

So, there’s this thing with my in-laws.  They are from the Czech Republic; they came to the U.S. in the late 60s.  They met here, married, had my husband, and in that time found a whole network of Czech people to be friends with, who also mostly came here as adults in the late 60s or early 70s.  Thus, everyone they socialize with is Czech and speaks Czech.

Except me.

(They all speak English, too… but none have the conversational English skills like they do in their native tongue.)

In most circumstances this isn’t a big deal.  When it’s just us, my in-laws largely speak English.  However, the more Czech people you add, the lower the likelihood of conversations taking place in English.

Today’s dinner wasn’t just us.  It was also my husband’s aunt & uncle (both Czech) and another woman they are friends with (also, Czech).  The gobbledy-gook abounded.

After being around the Czech-speak for years and years now, I can make some of it out.  I can listen to most Czech conversations and figure out the general subject, both from the smattering of Czech words I know and the occasional English words that lack suitable Czech translations thrown in.  (The first time I heard Frank speak Czech was on a phone call from college to his parents, where he was telling them he had mono.  The conversation went something like this: “Blahbitty blah blah mono blah blah health center blabbity blah blah swollen glands.”)

So anyway… today = lots of Czech people = not so much English spoken.  Frank, lovely man he is, often tries to steer the conversation back to English.  But if he’s not involved in the conversation, or isn’t in the room, there’s little hope for me.  I know that there is no malicious intention here.  These folks are most comfortable speaking Czech, and it’s just sort of their default setting.  And I’m outnumbered.

This all used to make me feel nothing but outrage, and scorn, and rejection.  Part of me realizes that really, my attendance at these social gatherings pits me as a stranger in a foreign land.  I do still feel like there is a level of rudeness in their negligence to not try to actively include me in conversations, like where I’m sitting at the dinner table with them and they are blabbering on in Czech… but it’s been so ongoing I’m sort of numb to it, too.  I have made a habit of sort of staring blankly into space when they speak in Czech, and I find it’s quite effective to switch them back to English, at which point I start paying attention and smiling and looking engaged and interested.  (That psychology degree does come in handy sometimes… operant conditioning, anyone?)

It does help that I know it’s not malicious, and they do make an effort: it’s not like I sit there for four hours without a word of English being spoken!  I would say that today, it was maybe 60% Czech, 40% English when I wasn’t being directly spoken to.

Anyway, I’m getting all rambly and I’m sorry.  After these gatherings I always feel a little disorganized and out of sorts, and just generally blah at not feeling like I have a solid place in the inner circle, or something.  Then there’s just the general frustration at the language barrier thing.  How do I fix it?  Do I become a bratty diva and insist everyone speak English around me?  Do I take all my oodles of free time (note of sarcasm here) and try to learn more Czech?  Should I just make sure my kids don’t learn Czech so I always have at least someone to talk to?