I'd been proud that I'd managed to not blow my stack at my sister the entire week. I love my sister. I worry for her. She also drives me right up the wall at times. Much of it she can't help, some of it she can. Sometimes I'm not sure which is really which.
Tonight the hotel left letters under our doors letting us know of a taxi strike taking place tomorrow, at about the time we'd need to get to the airport, and offering to help with alternate transport. I was in the room when my sister came in. She was dropping off her purse before going back out for a walk.
"Uncle J -- is at the Blackjack table. He freaked out when I told him about the taxi strike," she said.
"Here. Bring him this letter, so he can read about the hotel's offer to find alternate transportation."
"I don't want to interrupt his game."
"You won't interrupt his game. Just hand him this and he'll read it when he wants to, and since the desk is right there, he can take care of it."
"He probably has one in his room." She was balking.
"Yeah, but he's not in his room, so he can't read it. Just bring this so he can read it sooner rather than later, so he can address it earlier."
Head shaking. "I don't wanna."
"You will not be bothering him. Is Ma with him?"
"Then give it to Ma."
More rapid head shaking. "I don't wanna."
I'd had it. I'd had it not with the inability to problem solve, but with the lack of empathy for all the pain-in-the-assness it was causing, and the lack of appreciation for how her unwillingness to do things she was perfectly capable of doing was inconveniencing others. Me. The ease with which she switches from capable adult who demands the right to have her own choices accommodated to emotionally volatile (and therefore manipulative) scene-maker, insisting on her inviolate right to avoid discomfort, even at the expense of others. She is so very difficult to describe accurately, and it's so hard to explain why she's frustrating in spite of being lovable, without sounding like an asshole.
A good friend of mine who works for an agency that serves mentally-challenged adults did warn me that empathy is not a quality often found in the mentally disabled, but my sister does appear to have empathy, and takes pleasure from pleasing people, although that may be more a case of her being pleased at finding ways to receive positive feedback, learning how to elicit good responses and avoid bad ones, but I don't think so. I've sen her complete 20-mile fundraiser walks "for the hungry children," despite getting tired to the point where she cried the entirety of the last three miles, and despite ending up in an ER after puking uncontrollably after one. And when the supermarket she works for asked for volunteers to load donated food on a truck, my sister was the only one who answered the call.
Today she brought us free snow cones at the pool, and keeps reminding my uncle that she owes him a drink. She's not completely selfish or without sensitivity. I firmly believe this, and see evidence of it all the time. The trick is to find the line where you aren't holding her accountable for things she's inherently unable to deliver, while at the same time not conditioning her to think she gets a pass just because something strikes her as difficult, unpleasant, or unappealing.
At any rate, I'd had it.
"I AM NOT GOING DOWN TWELVE FLOORS AGAIN WHEN YOU ARE ALREADY WALKING RIGHT PAST HIM."
Her face started to crumple, which happens with reallyreallyreally irritating speed and ease. "But he has one in his room. He can read it."
"IS HE IN HIS ROOM?"
"SO HE CAN'T READ IT NOW, CAN HE? WHAT IF HE DOESN'T COME BACK TO HIS ROOM UNTIL 1AM? WHAT IF HE WAITS TOO LONG AND WE CAN'T GET A RIDE TO THE AIRPORT? BRING. HIM. THE. LETTER."
She went into the bathroom, managed to pull it together, came out, and in a perfectly normal voice told me she'd give the letter to our mother.
"Perfect. Enjoy your walk, and be careful."
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Saint Francis. Give me strength.