Mum has this long lost cousin ….I’m not quite sure why she’s ‘lost’ – she seems to know her way around – but that’s what Mum calls her. Anyway, she came to stay with us last week. She’s one of those people who you REALLY know is in a room.  She’s noisy, she’s big, she bangs into things, she tries to touch you every time she’s near you and she DOES NOT STOP TALKING.

Man. Seriously.

I had to put my headphones on for most of the time she stayed with us.

I’ve never heard anyone talk so much. About anything and everything. It’s just non-stop. But the weird thing is, I don’t really know what she’s talking about! It’s just gobbledy gook. I’m not even sure Mum knows what she’s saying. It’s pretty obvious to me that Mum was trying to be nice, because when the cousin started ranting she just got on with doing her jobs around the house and every now and again just said “oh yes”, or “really?, or “oh, I see”.

The cousin seemed to always want to be the centre of attention. She didn’t really care what my answer was when she asked me a question. In fact, she mostly ignored my answer and just jumped straight back into a story about herself.  It was pretty annoying to be honest. I have  always been told to be interested in people’s answer when you ask a question. Ole cousin seemed to just be interested in her own opinions about things and not give a hoot about anyone else’s.  Mum said I should just be kind, and that the cousin wouldn’t be staying long, and that she’s family so we ought to be ‘charitable’ – I don’t really get what that means, but I think it meant I had to be nice to her whether I liked it or not.

The most annoying thing, apart from all the chatter, was that I had to give up my bed for her when she came to stay. Our spare room is a study, full of a desk and boxes of papers and shelves piled high with books. There’s no room for a spare bed in there, and certainly the cousin didn’t want to sleep on a blowup mattress (she made that VERY clear when she arrived). So I had to give up my bed for her and go and sleep on the mattress in the study.  I didn’t mind too much, coz I rather like camping out, but it’s just that every time I wanted one of my things I had to knock on my own door! And I mostly got a response like this: “Not now, I’m doing …” whatever it was she was doing. Which is highly annoying because it’s MY ROOM! And the worse thing is she made my room STINK! I have no idea what she did in there but it just stank…a bit like one of those old opshops, mixed with some vegetable soup and some weird flowery smell.

Anyway, I got pretty cross on the last day she stayed with us, because I was sick of being ignored, fed up with being spoken at, and bummed about the state of my room.  But I knew I had to be ‘charitable’, so I took a deep breath (rather than yell at her, which is what I wanted to do), and went and sat in my treehouse for a while with Howie. I needed my own space to cool off.  I needed to take some time out. I could tell that Howie didn’t like the cousin either. She kept calling him “dumb dog” which he – and I – took big offence to.

We sat and we sat for over an hour while the cousin packed her things and got ready to leave. I could hear her talking non-stop to Mum whilst she fiddled around. I heard things like “next time” and “we should do this more often”, but I didn’t hear Mum’s response. I was praying Mum just said nothing to encourage her back to our house. The cousin shouted out a “goodbye” from the driveway, just before the taxi drove away, and I couldn’t have been more relieved.

I know people come from different places and act differently to me and my family, but this cousin was a doozy. She invaded my space and took over our house. I was as nice as I could be and made sure not to get in her way because I knew Mum would cop it if I was annoying her. I could see Mum’s face as she waved from the front door – there was a serious sign of relief all over it. In fact it was like the whole house let out a big deep breath.

(Anger, p.9, Choices, p.18, Complaining, p.20, Opinions, p.55, Treat Others, p76 – A for Attitude)

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