The story of the kitchen towel is a great example of the reoccurring moments of getting a weird 'present' from NM.
We met, and NM became very cheerful, announcing that she intends to give me a kitchen towel as a gift.
(Note: It is difficult to find good kitchen towels. Most of them look nice, but don't absorb water, which I would want to use them for. I have only 2 that can be used for anything other than decoration.)
The kitchen towel she waves in front of me looks like the old-fashioned water-absorbing one, but I get suspicious. So I ask whether it is an old one from her collection of 'good kitchen towels' (which I would really like to have). I then tell her that I don't need another kitchen towel to consume space in my wardrobe, only if it serves its purpose.
NM is surprised. She becomes sad and wants to know why I refuse accepting a gift. I slowly repeat the sentence above.
She gets more confused and then proves me that it in fact does absorb water, by pouring water on a plate and then wiping it. I become even more suspicious.
I sort of blurt out OK and tell her that if that is the case, I do accept it, and think that I might get rid of it anyway.
The punchline: She explains that it must have belonged to someone else who hung it on a clothesline to dry, since she found it in the dirt. The proudly announces that she managed to wash it three times, so it must be clean. And adds, in an I-will-be-deeply-hurt-if-you-reject-my-wonderful-gift voice that of course if I don't trust her washing abilities, I can reject her gift, and she will be very sorry and sad.
Minus points for me: I took the freakin' towel.
Plus point for me: I will give it to the homeless, along with the clothes that she sometimes dumps on me.
To practice: Saying no for 'gifts' like this.
Why didn't it seem this weird when it was actually happening, as it seems now? I mean how disgusting this whole idea is? Giving your child a 'gift' that you actually stole from someone else (I know, it fell off, but still, what if they weren't home and would be looking for it? And now I sort of feel responsible), and it was on the ground, in the dirt, and you want them to use it on your clean dishes that you eat from? This is gross on so many levels.