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Asked To Police Landlady's Adult Daughter's Courtship Habits


R. S. Martin
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I just didn't do it. I decided not to go out of my way but if I happened to notice then I would notice.

 

No big deal.

 

So I thought. Just now the mom came down to put away her suitcase. And under the guise of putting away the suitcase she also asked whether I'd seen the young man's shoes, whether I'd seen cigarette butts--in other words, was he here a while. I just said, "No I didn't notice anything" to all her questions because that was the case. I did not tell her that I don't even try to see stuff. Just so she knows I'm not totally deaf and blind, I did tell about him coming over to get his bike out of the garage.

 

I did not tell her that by the sounds of footsteps and doors the daughter came home before he left, and that there were probably the two of them in the house together for about fifteen minutes. I have no proof of this; I only suspect it. Besides, 15 minutes does not constitute "a while." Telling the mom about this would only open the door to suspicion and grilling. It happened some months ago and I resolved not ever again to get so deeply involved in their family matters.

 

I got grilled over and over as though in a court of law, and in the end I was told that my observations had been wrong. It was hell!

 

She told me, "I don't want to put you in an awkward position but this is the only way I have of keeping track of what she (daughter) is doing. I can't stay home all the time!"

 

My problem is that the daughter is 21 years old. I pay good money to live here. I don't want to become involved in their family feuds.

 

Telling the mom all this might sour the relationship I have with her. I don't want her on my back. I like living here most of the time. Nobody's perfect so I might as well live with this family's imperfections as any other family's.

 

I think the young woman will do fine if the mom stays off her back. I don't know the mom's courtship standards but my guess is that it's very strict no sex outside marriage. She's 60 years old, a totally different generation, and a hard-core control freak to boot.

 

Just to really upset the fruit-basket, the mom once mentioned her own boyfriend who lives in another town. For crying out loud! She divorced the girl's dad and is now seeing another man. And she has problems with youthful hormones?

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It totally pisses me off to hear stories like this. Is it ever about doing right by the kid? No, it has more to do with a parent's loss of control over their adult children, and their pathetic attempts to be in the driver's seat for as long as possible. the poor girl needs to make leaving a priority.

 

Do they argue loud enough for you to hear from your unit? It would seem uncomfortable to sit on your couch and hear an argument that would not have happened if you didn't tell the landlady what her daughter is up to. I'd say just keep your mouth shut. She can't kick you out for not punking her daughter out, and besides, don't you find it a little disrespectful that she'd even put you in such a crappy position in the first place?

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....I got grilled over and over as though in a court of law, and in the end I was told that my observations had been wrong. It was hell!

 

She told me, "I don't want to put you in an awkward position but this is the only way I have of keeping track of what she (daughter) is doing. I can't stay home all the time!"

 

My problem is that the daughter is 21 years old. I pay good money to live here. I don't want to become involved in their family feuds.

 

Telling the mom all this might sour the relationship I have with her. I don't want her on my back. I like living here most of the time. Nobody's perfect so I might as well live with this family's imperfections as any other family's. ....

 

Geez Ruby, sounds like you handled it well. But WTF? Sounds like a classic "None of my beeswax" sort of thang.

 

Also, you gotta wonder if the mom is monitoring you and everyone else in the general vicinity - she has absolutely no boundaries.

 

Good call on your part to stay outta their affairs.

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Thanks for your support.

 

Sometimes I do hear yelling. The first while the mom used to come down and apologize for it. She always framed things so it was the daughter who was in the wrong but one day I heard stuff that told me it's definitely not all the daughter's fault. I'm not discussing blame with either of them. I just try to stay totally out of it. The fact of the matter is that I am learning to respect the young woman. She was very seriously ill when I moved in, emotionally and physically. She seems recovered and she seems to have grown into a mature and responsible young adult.

 

She did move out for a few months this spring. The mom was so upset about it. Then when she wanted to move back in, the mom framed it so that she was giving permission to the daughter to return, and the daughter made a batch of promises (according to the mom) so that she allowed her back. Makes no sense to me. If she wants her at home, just rejoice that she loves you enough to return! That's my idea, but I'm not getting involved.

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Geez Ruby, sounds like you handled it well. But WTF? Sounds like a classic "None of my beeswax" sort of thang.

 

Also, you gotta wonder if the mom is monitoring you and everyone else in the general vicinity - she has absolutely no boundaries.

 

Good call on your part to stay outta their affairs.

 

Oh yes the mom is monitoring me and everyone else. But she knows that if she loses me she will have a hard time finding another reliable tenent like me. It's two years since I moved in and she REALLY likes that I stay so long. She used to get young women who were studying at the university. This meant having to find and get used to new tenents every year, and having the rooms empty several months over the summer. I think that is a big reason I get off so easy.

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It sounds to me like even if you are honest in what you observe, the mom will find a way to twist whatever did happen to be to her liking (or not liking, as the case may be). If I were you, I would try to find some reasonable excuse to not be around during that time.

 

I never really understood why many people born around the 1960's era have such trouble allowing their adult kids to grow up. Is it because their own parents didn't really allow them to grow up?

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It sounds to me like even if you are honest in what you observe, the mom will find a way to twist whatever did happen to be to her liking (or not liking, as the case may be). If I were you, I would try to find some reasonable excuse to not be around during that time.

 

I have reason to think you're right.

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I love the "what you have told me is all wrong". Makes me wonder why she even asks you in the first place if she already made up her mind on what is going on.

 

If she is not a Fundie, she should be, she has the Theory then Facts approach to research down pat.

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I'm sure you are not the only one she's asked to monitor her daughter or even you for that matter. Do you have neighbors? I'm sure she's got just about the entire neighborhood involved to spy for her and feed her information. Just don't play along, since you only one of many.

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I love the "what you have told me is all wrong". Makes me wonder why she even asks you in the first place if she already made up her mind on what is going on.

 

If she is not a Fundie, she should be, she has the Theory then Facts approach to research down pat.

 

I don't talk enough religion with her to know whether or not she is a fundy. The church she goes to could be labeled that way but again, the definition for fundamentalist is very fuzzy and I don't know for sure what all they believe. My own definition of the moment is that a fundamentalist Christian is a person who believes in hell.

 

My MA thesis topic is the history of fundamentalism. One of my committee members identifies as evangelical Christian. He said I had to come up with a definition of fundamentalist. So I did and I told him what it is (person who believes in hell), and that it is based on the author he recommended. He wasn't too comfy with the definition but said if it works for me to keep it.

 

So why did she grill me if she had already made up her mind? Maybe I wasn't quite clear. She asked me for a report on whether or not the young man had been here a certain day at a certain time. Because I thought he was, she did a lot of investigation, and grilled me some more. A few days later she decided that the daughter was telling her the truth. Some days after that, perhaps a week later, the daughter and I happened to meet while she was with him. She told me that he had not been here that day. By then I had already realized that the voices I had heard could have come from the neighbours.

 

It had been the first really warm day in early spring so that I had my window open and the neighbours might have been on their deck. All I heard was voices and it seemed like three people rather than just two. But I did not know at the time that I was supposed to keep an eye on the daughter so I did not remember all the details.

 

So I had submitted to all that grilling and in the end my "testimony" was discounted and the daughter's was accepted. Not that I cared but all that grilling took a lot out of me. Besides, it felt totally wrong. The worst part of it was that the mother requested--made me promise--to keep an eye on things in the future. At times, the only way to get along with her is empty promises and white lies. I think she noticed the other day when she was asking me for a report this time, that I was not exactly taken in with the idea. I was preparing my supper so I talked with my back to her and I did not put any enthusiasm in my voice.

 

Burnedout, thanks for the advice re the legal aspect of it. I seriously doubt that she had the other neighbours keep an eye on things because this is not that kind of neighbourhood. A lot of the neighbours are students themselves, and living in all kinds of relationships. One is a blended family. One is an atheist who has been a bachelor all his life--he's not a student. One couple is Catholic and perhaps shares strict values with my landlady--not students, either. I am probably the only person she was sure shared values with her who is also in a position to keep an eye on things. And she is totally wrong about my values. I just don't discuss this kind of thing with her.

 

One day before she went on her trip I mentioned that the daughter and her boyfriend were well-behaved. She pulled a huge mouth and said, "Depends on what you mean by well-behaved." I said, "I guess it depends whose standards you go by." She agreed. I told her that one day when I was out walking I had met them. He was on the bicycle and she was walking along beside him. The mom agreed that he likes to go biking.

 

Missed my point altogether so I let it go. I had meant that they weren't even touching. It looked like two friends out for an evening stroll and chatting as they walked along. I couldn't believe that I was seeing right, that it was really them. But it was. She had a finger on the handlebar of the bike, just like a friend or buddy might. But that finger was not touching his. If that isn't "purity in courtship" I don't know what it is. I don't know the mother's standards and I don't think I want to.

 

There is the possibility that they had been more closely engaged but that they pulled apart when they saw me coming because they knew the mom has me watching them. I wouldn't know if that were the case. My vision is far too low so that I would not have been able to see if they did that. One day when the mom was out of the house I happened to cross the front hall when the young man was here talking with the daughter. I noted their tone of voice and facial expressions. They seemed more like two people discussing something than passionate lovers. It appeared like they were not totally agreed on whatever they were discussing. Honestly, I don't know what the mom is so obsessed about.

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Ouch. This is why I follow the Prime Directive when it comes to other families' drama: I don't interfere.

 

She's sixty and engaging in this kind of petty BS? I guess age does not equate to adult.

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