I suppose that I could easily summarize yesterday’s entry by saying that Elly believes that if she doesn’t have to think about bad things happening, they won’t happen. This reckless way of looking at the world seems to be the only thing that explains her otherwise baffling refusal to keep track of what her children are doing. As an example, she’s still convinced that she did nothing wrong after her discovery of how easily April could open that gate; since she never foresaw the alleged toppling, it’s a-okay that she sat there blathering to Connie about her blasted vacation. Also, the results of paying attention always seem to be unpleasant. Whenever she does have to focus on what a child is doing, she always finds something to either enrage or depress her.
The problem that this fear of having to notice what’s going on around her makes for her is that her children end up acting in ways that she does not expect. We’ve already discussed her lasting refusal to see that most of why Liz sought out Miss Edwards as a source of advice had to do with her not giving Liz what she needed; what is less well known is that her inattention to what’s going on in Mike’s life is most of why he acts in ways that alarm and anger her. For an example of my premise, I’d like to share with you this pointless little confrontation. It seems to me that a more attentive mother would be alert to the possibility that someone nice and suggestible like Michael would be so ready to take his behavioural cues from the flickering blue parent that he expected everyone to behave like a character in a sitcom. Since Elly’s preferred state is to avoid noticing what’s going on in her children’s lives lest she get sucked into them and suffer a loss of adult status, she simply thinks that Mike is bad for badness’s own sake.
What is really annoying is that this odd failure of hers to anticipate how other people will react doesn’t stop at the front door. Her inability to pick up on what’s really going on around her has also affected her career ambitions. It seems to me to be the case that whenever Elly reads an issue of the Valley Voice, she probably thinks that it was on Mrs Walsh to flat-out tell her that they couldn’t afford to pay her much. It’s much like how it’s Connie and Annie’s fault that Elly can’t shut up about what they do; once again, her inability to notice that the one friend doesn’t want the other to know her business is not her fault.
The inability to notice what’s happening around her is still probably bearing bitter fruit. By now, I’m sure that Lizthony’s Perfect Son has gotten himself into some amazingly horrifying scrapes because Grandma Elly simply can’t be bothered to get sucked up into his life.