Last Friday I held a morning tea, and very swish it was too with gorgeous china cup trios, Mum's best silver and some delicious cakes and biscuits I'd made. I had arranged for an angel card reader to give ten of my friends a reading, and also used it as a candle sale opportunity.
All went swimmingly. Three of my guests, V, P, and C stayed for lunch, as I hadn't seen them for ages and they live across the other side of Sydney. V's son, whom I shall call Dickhead, is married to P and he dropped them off with a promise to pick them up around 3.
I have known Dickhead all his life. He was a nice enough kid as a youngster, but I suspect suffers from some kind of mental illness - almost certainly schizophrenia and a narcissistic disorder too. Not that mental illness makes him a dickhead. It's his behaviour over the years - a web of lies and big noting. OK, so that may be driven by his mental illness but the thing is, he hasn't being diagnosed by anyone nor is he on medication. I suspect if anyone suggested to him he needed to see a doctor because he appeared to have mental issues he'd half kill them. Yes, he has a violent streak. Nearly murdered his Mum once a few years back.
But I digress. As usual.
So there we were, V, P, C and me, tucking into cake and tea at three (gosh, that rhymes!). Conversation was flowing nicely, everyone got to comment and talk, and there were plenty of giggles.
Then Dickhead turned up to collect the girls. Immediately, he sat down and took over the conversation. He always does. He and P have a son 7 months old so the conversation was dominated by Dickhead talking about his son and the swimming classes they are taking him to. The child is a genius apparently, much more advanced than any other 7 month old baby on earth. P got a word in, whenever Dickhead asked her to agree or comment, but the rest of us didn't. We just ate more cake. Then Dickhead started talking about his new job, driving a miniature train. You'd think he was the MD of a global multinational the way he spoke about it; chest puffed out with self-importance. We ate more cake.
Dickhead's Mum V knows what he is like; several people including C have mentioned to her that when he enters a room he takes over.
And that was one of the reasons* Mum didn't like having him over to visit. I felt the same on Friday. I could almost feel Mum's anger bristling behind me and I was getting cross with him too. How bloody rude, not letting anyone else change the subject, but dominating the room. I don't really want him coming over any more either. In his younger days, when he was in his late teens, he came with his parents one Christmas Day and took over the conversation, telling everyone about the new job he had as a baggage handler with Virgin Blue - all the little details about behind the scenes in the terminal, about how to load baggage carts on the aircraft, anecdotes about other handlers and strange items he and they had to get on and off aircraft. It was only weeks later that we, including his parents, found out the entire job was a lie. It didn't exist. The whole conversation with its attention to detail was a sham, designed to let him take centre stage. "He's a Walter Mitty," Mum grumbled at the time, but Walter Mitty kept his fantasies to himself living his secret imaginary life, he didn't lead others on to believe it.
By three on Friday I couldn't wait for them to go. I'd loved having my girlfriends over, but was fed up with Dickhead. I felt just like Mum must have. Finally the cake was finished. There was no excuse to stay.
Dickhead called the shots and said they had to be off to pick up said genius baby son from childcare. I felt a rush of relief. It was almost as if the atmosphere in the room had turned a palpable opaque shade while he was babbling on. I waved them off and set about the task of carefully hand washing eleven delicate bone china cups, saucers and plates.
So now I don't want the Takeover Merchant in this house again either. While the angel card reader told me that Mum wants me to make this house my own and bring my own love and possessions into it - that's another story too! - I think I'll be true to Mum's wishes re the Takeover Merchant.
Who else out there knows a Takeover Merchant? How do you cope when they take over the conversation, no matter what topic is introduced? Or when they change the conversation to only the topics they want to speak about?
* The main reason is that Dickhead had fathered a little daughter a couple of years before he got married, and wants nothing to do with her. Won't see her, pays as little child support as he can get away with. Poor kid. Mum brought up a daughter whose Dad wouldn't see her and apparently wanted no real part in her upbringing, and Mum despises that kind of behaviour. Oh, and I did mention Dickhead almost murdered his own Mum in one of his rages...