My mother-in-law is a hippy-dippy type and whenever she visits she claims that she feels the presence of an unhappy spirit in our guest bedroom. Who does that? Even if I believed in ghosts (which I don’t), what am I supposed to do with that information? Am I supposed to call Ghostbusters or some sort of shaman to cleanse my house? It’s barely a year old and no one has died in it. I have suggested to my husband that she might be more comfortable in a hotel, but he says she can’t afford it and that I should ignore her. She is visiting in a few weeks. What should I do?
- Annoyed not Scared
First of all, knucks to you for actually having a guest bedroom and a mother-in-law. You seem to be doing quite well in life. There are a lot of people out there whose in-laws have to sleep on a blow-up mattress in the living room between the coffee table and the musty-smelling sofa where their grandchildren were conceived – also known as “fuck this shit we’re staying in a hotel.” In short, other than being haunted by an unhappy spirit, your house is too accommodating. Now, I will admit that getting a hippie in-law to stay at a hotel instead of your guest room is much more challenging than say, a socialite from Highland Park. Hippies are unfazed by things like neurotic head scratching (borrow my tea tree oil?), huge cockroaches (they’re really Palmetto Bugs!) or the smell of burnt toast in the morning, which, to just about anyone not raised in a plastic bubble, kicks in an immediate trailer trash sense memory. As an olfactory register of skid row social status, burnt toast ranks just slightly above the smell of crystal meth or maybe week-old dried urine wafting from the trousers of a homeless man. Even still, it’s not enough to drive a hippie into shelling out $34.95 for a Motel 6. You could live like a king for months with that kind of scratch at a Rainbow Gathering.
So, rather than being annoyed by the idea of an unhappy spirit living in your guest room, perhaps you should embrace it. After all, it seems pretty clear to me that (if only occasionally) there is at least one unhappy spirit in that room: your mother-in-law. She might be troubled by the ostentatious size of your home (my bet is that it’s not an old school bus with peace signs spray painted on the sides). She might also be troubled by the thought that her son has been lured into the spiritual trap of materialistic excess. That’s a dark thought, isn’t it? Maybe she thinks that instead of owning a beautiful house, her son is owned by it. Put her mind at ease by assuring her that although there may be an unhappy spirit in her room, there are plenty of happy spirits in the rest of the house – especially on the air mattress in the living room between the coffee table and the musty-smelling sofa.
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