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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
A Woman Obsessed (with dishes)
In just five days in Florida at my parents house, we must have had at least 42 conversations about dishes. By the second time we had the dish conversation, I was over it, but I knew the saga would not end.
It all started when my Mom decided that her dish set, a cherry bloom dish set that she always loved and still does, is far too heavy. Corelle dishes are far lighter and less breakable. So begins her shopping journey.
Now, for you to fully understand the madness to follow you must know that both of my parents have OCD and are a touch insane. I think every piece of furniture in their house was originally sent back due to some imperfection. Growing up, I considered curtain shopping with my Mom a version of hell. I could never understand how or why someone was so obsessed with curtains and needed to go to every store that sold curtains and get samples and ask every one she knows what they think. She would ask me a million times.
“Which one do you like best?”
“Are you just saying that so we can stop curtain shopping?”
While Dad has no patience or care for shopping, he is an anal as anyone. On the rare occasions we’d go out to dinner growing up, he’d point out which picture frames in the restaurant weren’t level. When we’d point out how crazy that was, he’d accuse us of not being observing enough. Yes. Because THAT’S the issue here. The list goes on and on. Like 70% we left the house, my dad would get down the block and drive back to make sure the garage was shut. It was maddening perfectionism, some of which bled off to me and surely explains why I’m a little nuts myself.
Anyway, back to the plates. My Mom had chosen two sets of plates and went with the dish set my Dad liked better (who confessed he never really cared and would eat off paper plates every day of his life, it made no difference to him). But when it arrived she wasn’t sure about them. When I got there, she showed me the other set, which I admitted I liked better. Her sister and my sister said the same thing.
This sent my mother into something I could only really describe as a “retired person’s spiral.” She was taking pictures of the dishes, sending them out to people for approval. Showing them to anyone who came over. One day she spent hours on the computer, site after site, looking at dishes, asking to me to come look which grew annoying as I was trying to work at the time. The only time I’d be this invested in plates is if they sang and danced, “Be Our Guest.”
“Mom, just get what you like! No one cares. Literally. No one cares about anything that is not theirs. Dad doesn’t even care.”
“I don’t,” he says, as he monitors the stock market. This is his retired hobby. Watching and obsessing over stocks. He knows a lot actually. When he latches to something, he becomes an expert on it. I suppose I have this trait too. But, he will go on and on about stocks and I’ll listen to about the first 90 seconds before I tune it out. I don’t have money to invest in stocks, so I care about stocks slightly less than I care about dishes.
You can see the indecision in her eyes. As if these plates define a part of her. My Mom is a very good cook, so I kept reminding her that no one cares about the plate as much as they care about what’s on it.
Eventually, after a total of 8.1 hours of talking about plates all week, she decided to return the ones she got and get the other option, which she liked more from the beginning anyway, but went with what my Dad said whom they both agree has little to no interior decorating skills.
The dishes saga is, thankfully, over. Though, I wonder what will be the next home obsession. Could be a rug, a comforter, even a picture frame. And every time, my response will be the same… “whatever makes you happy, Mom.”