Here I am in Barcelona. I don’t really fancy our hotel– no nice receptionist, just a cold foyer with marble steps and dicky doors both getting into the building and to the room. But it’s cheap, so I have no right to complain. I do like our neighbourhood though. We were afraid Barcelona would be too expensive, but our nieghbourhood is reassuringly teeming with fried-food restaurants and Chinese-plastic-junk stores. I am going to wait until tomorrow to take advantage of this city’s famous nightlife, because 1) can hardly afford to go clubbing three nights in a row and 2) am physically and emotionally pretty spent after travelling since 7 this morning with my mother.
It’s not because she’s my mother that it’s difficult, it’s because she’s a person. It wasn’t all that different with Roger or with other friends I’ve travelled with, except it is easier to say no to them than to my mother. She tries, she really tries, but it’s just automatic for her to say, “Buy this. Don’t buy that. Don’t you want this? Stop fooling with that. Come over here. Put that over there. Do that later. Let’s go.”
Earlier today, phrases like “mother overload” , “mother saturation point” and “hang on, three days to go” were flashing through my mind. But then I thought of Roger, whose mother died of cancer not long before we first met. Of Dieudonné, whose mother was killed by a stray bullet during the war. Of Emilie, Paul-Marie, Quiet Michel and Médiatrice, all of whom lost their mothers in the war as well. I bet they’d give everything they owned for a chance to spend three days– three HOURS– with their mothers.
I felt like an egotistical piece of trash.
As a New Years Resolution, starting now, I will be more appreciative.