Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Curious Case Of The Remote Control

It was very late at night. I was alone watching a movie on TV and wanted to raise the volume a bit and discovered that the remote control was lying down in its quarters at its home, on the table, precisely where it always likes to sit. Reluctantly I went to get it, not because I am lazy but because there is always that feeling of “may I touch the remote control please?”

I got it, it sat on my lap but I could not shake that feeling of discomfort, that feeling that I am doing something I should not do, and using something that is not rightfully and legally mine. I even felt a bit of animosity from the thing towards me, you know a foreign hand touching it and pushing it’s buttons. I could almost hear it saying “stop touching me there”

And that my dear readers, if any, is the silly case of the remote control. Not a biggie even I would tell myself, only it is.

It is a big thing when you are 40 something and conditioned to exist in a room only as a visitor where the controls are in the hands of someone else. You see, we have this -------- (fill in the blank) custom in the Middle East whereby if you are single most probably you are living with your parents at home. I know maybe if I do have an American or European reader they would laugh, but sorry this is the case. You have the odd him & her that have decided to break out of this (--------) norm/custom and live alone, but mostly people will be living in their parent’s house abiding to most house rules and regulations and not having a place that they could call home, a place that they could identify with and that identifies them. A place where they are free to sit naked if they wish to do so and have total freedom to use the remote control at a whim.

The problem that I believe is bigger than the syndrome is that codependency emerges and becomes the reason why both sides put up with each other, each getting fringe benefits from a relationship that is continuously and progressively becoming strained and unpleasant. The parents have someone to keep them company and take care of the evolving needs and phobias of older age, and the children get all the freebies that come with the territory, laundry, food, cleaning sometimes even money etc…

But I have also watched people that made that historic decision and moved out evolve and become better people with even better relationships with their parents and siblings that stayed on at home. It has to be the case, can you imagine a bunch of 30, 40 and 60 something year olds living together, each with his/her preset ways, minds and needs and all having to compromise, with the compromises becoming bigger, and deeper with each passing day until they feel that they do not even know who they are anymore, and all of this under “this is the way it should be” slogan.

“Why would you want to move out if you are not married?” Parents ask in this part of the world. I keep telling parents including mine that perhaps there is this innate need in all of us for some privacy and some personal physical space?

Aha, the magic words, privacy, personal space, AKA sex.

Would any parent (who is not in a total state of delusion or denial) believe for a minute that their dearly beloved child still living with them, well into his/her 30’s or 40’s is waiting to move out or get married to have any form of sexual experience? Is not having your own apartment your excuse for being a virgin or is it some other problem? Would living at home make me more of a “pure” person practicing abstinence? Would living at home make me less of a candidate to be the subject of social scrutiny?

Living alone and social scrutiny, are they connected? Not sure but definitely the subject of another post.

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