Every six months I have to drive my mother to an appointment on the other side of the state. It takes an hour and some change, so we leave nice and early and she stresses out the entire ride there. If everyone has a “thing” my mother’s “thing” is stressing about being late for things in a manner that is the ultimate fear of missing out. I used to immediately tune her out but now my method is to put on a book on tape. Right now the current rotation is Bringing Up Bébé, which is surprisingly … hilarious. (I read a lot of parenting books … even though I don’t have kids. I know. But it’s good anthropology.)
Anyway at some point, the author refers to her husband’s habit of making piles of things on the floor as a sign of depression. At that moment, my mother and I both whipped our heads around and gave each other a stare. Not an accusing stare for making piles, but accusing the other person of judging you by the piles you know you make on the floor. And then we both started laughing.