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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Notes on Florida

The key to surviving my family is simply learning how to shut your mouth, nod silently, and act like whatever news you've just received is as ordinary as anything you might read in the coupon section of your local paper. Not following that advice can be deadly. If, for example, you go ape shit every time you hear something along the lines of "My son? Oh the girl he's living with is still married to this other guy. As it turns out, my son and this other guy, they're related! No wonder the baby looks so much like my boy!," you will never ever make it past year one without at least one massive cardiac arrest. Surviving my family is all about using the Suzuki method to gradually eliminate your surprise reflex and simply accept that in between eating pinto beans and sipping sweet tea, yes, your grandmother did just tell you that your uncle has not two, but three, count them three, testicles. She's asking because she wants you to tell her what exactly a testicle is and she wants to know if she's ever seen one. Also, are bagels really a 'Jew food' or is that just something that people say? Has anyone invented a time machine yet? Why do eggs sometimes taste like urine?


In fact, ?!?!?!?!?! is a pretty good summation of what living with my family is like. It's one big, honkin ?!?!?!?!?!?! 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no pauses for any reason. It's like sharing a house (or co-op if you live in hippy dippy Seattle you deliciously liberal bastards) with both the funniest person you've ever met and that guy who sleeps outside of your local liquor store smelling of old diapers and mumbling about Hanoi Jane. Your only option is to take solace in the fact that you can ALWAYS rely on my family to say, do, or create a situation so eye-rollingly awkward, it will make your pre-pubescent years seem like one big trip to Disneyland...a sweaty, lonely, awkward, pimple-popping, menarche-filled Disneyland, now with training bras and hygene issues! The way Walt intended it.

The older I get, the easier my family is to deal with and sometimes, sometimes our quirkiness/total fuckedupitude comes across as, dare I say charming. Until now, my primary role has been that of cynical observer, relegated to watching the bizarreness unfold and then making uncomfortably dark comments on the side like "Oh that relative? Well, I love her, but I wouldn't NOT shoot her if given the chance."

I don't participate in either instigating or solving any of the situations my family insists on diving head first into and I hadn't planned on ever holding the awkward torch until today when my stepmother passed me a slip of paper containing the name and phone number of a woman who's supposedly my sister. She lives in Baltimore. She's 35. She's the only person on the planet besides myself that shares my father's bloodline. I didn't know she existed until about ten years ago.

It's one thing to know that you have a sister out in the world. It's another to have the phone number of a real, living person in your wallet. I have no idea whether I'm actually going to use the number. Part of me feels like it's not right to simply call someone out of the blue and turn their world inside out by introducing yourself as a sibling. Another part of me is desperate to find out what this other person is like. I do know that making that call is a potentially enormous can of worms to open, that it may very well be the emotional equivalent of clubbing an innocent woman and dragging her by the hair into my family's mind blowingly complicated situation. There's an enormous chance that this woman doesn't want to be found. I can't be the guy that fucks up someone's life by tracking down someone who doesn't want to be tracked down. I clearly must have missed the day in high school family life where they covered how to handle this subject.

For the next few weeks, I've resolved that I'm going to turn this over in my head millions and millions of times until I can look at the number in my wallet, give a silent nod, and pretend like it means nothing more than the free slurpee coupon I have sitting beside it.


At 2:04 AM, Anonymous Em said...

Oh wow.

What can I say? I fucking love when you come out with the really blockbuster personal shit.

You mull and carry around that numba as long as you need, I'll just be over here, quietly waiting on the edge of my seat...

At 8:38 AM, Blogger muse said...

"the emotional equivalent of clubbing an innocent woman and dragging her by the hair into my family's mind blowingly complicated situation"

...but on the other hand, she gains _you_ as a sister. Personally, if I found a sis like that out there, I'd be all "Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!" (and this coming from a Wiccan... lol

Take your time, deal with it however you're comfortable. But don't forget that this woman is gaining one totally awesome sis! (with terrific taste in movies! - I saw The Host yesterday... ohmygods it's fantastic! I even quoted your "what 28 days is to.." comment to my best friend Kuli, with whom I saw this flick, and she said that it was the perfect review, actually!) :)

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Leah said...

I say go with the philosophy that's such a fundamental way I live my life now.

If it's going to make a great story, DO IT.

If not for you, then at least think of the rest of us.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Smoove D said...

Do it. Take notes. Then write about it for our amusement.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger muse said...

Totally unrelated but funny: the google ads on your blog give the following links right now:

1- "Female fishy smell" Humiliated by Female Fishy Odor? Permanently Eliminate it, Guaranteed.

2- Rim Juice Wheel Cleaner

3- Tires

4- UrineOff.com End Odor Now. End the stigma of urine odor.

...LOL Talk about random! ;)

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Chris said...

I love the Google ads. I've had three people e-mail me with screen shots of them this week. They're simply fantastic.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger J in Ric said...

wow... its like wtf??!! I can honestly say I feel the same way about my family. My wtf, drop a bomb moment for me was in November when my mother (whom hasn't spoken to me in 8 years) called me out of the blue and wanted me to go see her. I still don't know what to do and it's still running through my head...

If you figure it out before I do, give a brother a hand.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Chris said...

J - I'll call my estranged sister and write about it on the internet if you call your estranged mother and write about it on the internet. It'll be a tilt-a-whirl of awkard! Huzzah!

At 10:28 AM, Blogger J in Ric said...

awesome... if you seriously do that, then I will too ;)

but no rush... I can sit on this for a good long while.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Chris said...

J - I'm so in. I'm thinking about calling next week.


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