The further adventures of Stan -8
It was my weekend forvisiting my daughter Sarah and her family in Sheffield. I was a bit
anxious as things between us had been uncomfortable since her challenge to Stan's continued presence is my house.
I always take the train when I go to there – as it is convenient, inexpensive, and means I don't have the worry of traffic. Sarah's house is within walking distance from the train station, but she often comes to pick me up, and her daughter loves trains, so there is the added bonus of her seeing a train or two come in or go out of the station.
Sarah has a lovely house and garden – nearly as big as mine – and she is very proud of it. She spends much time and money on improving it in any and every way possible. She had recently had the lovely Scandanavian wood floors all resanded and polished, and they looked like new.
After lunch we went for a long walk and on the way back the subject that I had dreaded came up.
“Is that boy still living in your house?” she asked.
“Yes, Stan is still having room and board with me, and I don't expect that is likely to change in the near future.”
“I was rather hoping he would see sense and move out to somewhere more suitable to his age and occupation.”
“That's a rather snooty thing to say. Why shouldn't a house painter live in a nice house with a beautiful view?”
“Oh, you know what I mean Mother. Don't try to make this more difficult than it already is.”
“I don't see why it should be difficult at all. I have more space in my house than I need. Stan needs a place to live. We enjoy each other's company and don't get in each other's way. Where is the problem?”
“I don't think you have looked into the long term of this. You are becoming dependent on his presence there. You are treating him like he is one of your children. You will end up leaving the house to him, probably.”
“You sound like you're jealous of him.”
“You seem to spend more time with him than you ever did with us.”
“What do you mean, spend time with him? I see him for a few minutes in the morning when we're eating breakfast and for maybe half an hour at night when we are having dinner. Sometimes not even that much. On occasion we watch a programme on TV together. Hardly a close relationship.”
“It's your possessive attitude. You think of him as more than a lodger. You think of him as a friend, and maybe even more than a friend.”
“First of all, I have no intention of altering my will to include him, no matter how nice a man I think he is. I certainly am not going to marry him, if that is what is worrying you. He thinks of me as an old woman and I think of him as a very young and often immature young man. But for some reason we get along fine together – and as a result, we are both less lonely. I don't think that is such a crime.”
“Before long he will get a girlfriend and then you won't see him at all. He will move out as soon as he finds somebody else to leach off, who is more to his liking. He is using you, if you are prepared to admit it or not.”
“No more than I am using him. But I prefer to think of it as mutual help, rather than using. I benefit from having company – and I feel more secure with someone else in the house. He does odd jobs for me, which save me having to hire an odd job man. He listens to my stories, and I listen to his. I offer him food – but it's the same food I would have been cooking and eating anyway – so no extra effort involved. He has a nice room in a nice house without worrying about getting kicked out. I do find it extraordinary that you seem to see this as a problem, rather than a mutually beneficial friendship.”
“Well I have said my piece, but mark my words, there will come a day when you will regret having him there.”
“I hope you won't feel it is necessary to keep bringing up this subject. I am of sound mind, and perfectly capable of making my own decisions about who I have as friends. I know you are concerned about me, but I don't interfere in your life, and I would prefer it if you didn't interfere in mine.”
So having both had our say, the subject was dropped, at least in terms of vocalising. We had
a nice enough weekend, but I was very pleased when Sunday afternoon arrived and I was on my way home again.