“Darling, do you think I’m a drama queen ?” Dorothy bustles into my kitchen and places a hello kiss on my cheek in good Belgian manner.

Uh how am I supposed to answer that ? Of course she’s a drama queen. We all are to some extent. So I just smile in guise of a reply.

“Well I must get if from somewhere. You know my mom likes to play pretend ? I think she’s schizophrenic. I’ve been reading a lot about that lately and she fits the description.” Dorothy is death serious.

“I though you said the other day that she’s narcissistic. You made the comparison with her bahaving like a witch when she’s in one of her psychotic moods. And how she sends out your brothers and stepdad to do her dirty bidding, just like the flying monkeys.” I can’t help but reply.

“Yes of course, she’s narcissistic too. Just like my ex-husband.” Dorothy is adamant.

“And we’re perfectly normal, of course?” I’m desperately trying to keep a straight face.

“Yes of course… why ?” Dorothy’s innocence is to die for.

“Normalcy is a wonderful place to live, isn’t it.” I smile pleasantly.

“Oh yes it is. I just love my Little House on the Prairie lifestyle.” Dorothy acquiesces.

“More like Big Little House on the Prairie.” I point out. Both Dorothy and myself live comfortably, it must be said. “But really dear, we’re not skilled to go around labelling people like a pickle bottle, you know.”

“We’re not ? But what about all those online tests on the internet ?”Dorothy looks serious.

“You know, psychiatrists have trained for years on mental conditions. They seem to be talking to you normally, but in fact they are asking very directed questions that you don’t even pick up on. And based on your reactions, they are fast in picking up if anything  is amiss.”

“Really ? Do you know any psychiatrists ?” She looks at me a bit wearily.

“One of my good schoolfriends is in fact a skilled psychiatrist.” I point out.

“So better watch out what I say when she’s around ?” Dorothy murmurs.

“In fact Dorothy, to tell you a secret, it’s not that much the words you say but your actions which will give you away to any trained eye. People with a disorder are often living out what’s going on in their mind. You can actually see them doing it. That’s when you know something is seriously up.” I make my point.

“Aha, like the military stance my mother took on our way to Stonehenge ?” Dorothy asks.

“Yes, that might be one example.” I confirm. “But we all fall in one category or the other at some time in our life you know.”

“Really, like what ?” Dorothy asks.

“Okay, this is a pretty straight forward example. Shopping, for example, is a good way to watch out for behaviour. You like shopping, don’t you Dorothy ?”

“Oh yes, I sure do.” Dorothy beams.

“Well look, normal people will spend less than they earn, and they will save up for something big they would like to buy.” That’s me, I think smugly.

“Then there are people who love to go shopping. And they will go to each and every shop. They will snoop around and look at everything. Even try on half the store. But they’ll end up buying nothing. Zip, nothing, nada. And if they do, they’ll probably return it at a later date.”

“My mom’s like that ! She prefers to scrounge clothes second-hand off other people.” Dorothy points out.

“Yup, she’s the typical neurotic shopper. Remember all those clothes she once ordered via a catalogue. It was so out of character for her to order clothes for the children. Of course when the said clothes arrived, they were all too small because she had inadvertently ordered the wrong size. Too bad, huh. She had to send them all back. Phew. See, very typical neurotic behaviour.”

“Oh yes, my mom the neurotic mess.” Dorothy is happy now.

“Then you’ve got the compulsive buyers. This person will buy a lot of stuff continuously. Often things not needed. This can seriously strain a budget.” I point out, giving her a meaningful look. “And finally there’s the psychotic buyer who will go in overdrive in times of psychotic mood swings. This is when there are serious financial repercussions and big debts involved.”

“Ah you mean like the time my mother had signed to buy a house for my brother Bobby. But of course she didn’t have the means to actually let the deal go through. You mean those kind of things?” Dorothy looks thoughtful now.

“Yes, something like that. She must have been triggered off at that time by something happening in her surrounding, which got her spinning in a psychotic mood. Doesn’t last long, luckily. I mean, she still functions pretty normally to have kind of okay relationships with the inattentive observers around her.”

There is a deep pause as Dorothy mulls it all over.

“Besides, I don’t think there’s anything seriously wrong with your mother. Apart the fact that she’s cold calculating and pathetically manipulative. If you want to dance along to her tune and round and round the mulberry bush, then all is fine. But that’s not your cup of tea, is it Dorothy dear ?”

“No it’s not.” Dorothy murmurs.

“So let bygones be bygones. I told you before : just love your mother for who she is and be grateful.” And with those words of wisdom, I think it’s time to indulge in some dark chocolate.

 

What do you think ? What kind of shopper are you ? Let me know in the comments below.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

 

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