Friday, December 28, 2007

Still Standing (barely)

The title is lifted from the subject line of a sympathetic e-mail I got from an e-pal.

Another exhausting Christmas, fortunately in the rear view mirror.

My mother says she wants to do the whole thing at their house next year. Has anyone read, "The Corrections" by Jonathon Franzen?

Interrupted by a kid. Telling me that if you "eat a bullet you can die". "Don't even ever eat a bullet."

This might be one of those posts, riddled with interruptions. Sent him downstairs to find some root beer that isn't there, and he brings back sparkling cider. So that means I need to get up to open it.

"Mom, what would happen if you drink a trillion beers?" This is a favorite question, with variations. I get desperately tired of answering: "Well, I guess you would die." "No, you would get very very sick and you would get drunk." I think we've been through this question-answer ritual at least a trillion times. I feel badly for finding it tiresome; I try to imagine what function it serves for him, to keep asking the same question over and over.

Christmas

A time when the whole of the western world suspends its disbelief in clinging to an article of faith: that this is a 'magical time'. A sort of mass hypnosis.

Oh God. Here they come again. One leaves, another one comes.

The problem with the 'magic of Christmas' is that you have to have drunk the koolaid. In my case it would have to be a lot of it. The other problem is, the members of my family HAVE, and so I have to participate. So I do, just making the minimum of effort to give the illusion of taking part, and wait for it to be over. The worst part for me, though, is that Connor and Scott are wholehearted believers (tho, to my dad's dismay-even though he himself is not particularly religious at any other time of year--they're believers in only the secular part) and I feel badly that I don't share their enthusiasm. They seem to chug on fine without me, though.

I guess this is a rant, huh?

Take a picture of this: My parents and Gary's dad sitting at the dining room table watching me cook and prep for cooking in the kitchen adjacent. My mom either drinking or trying to not drink. Looking at the clock, is it time yet? I'm preparing the sides since MIL is bringing a ham. My mom has a nervous habit of inappropriate laughter. It pops up in situations that don't really call for it, like when I'm cooking and they're going on and on about how much I'm doing and won't I sit down and take a break and look-at-this-she's-at-it-again. Well, I'm just trying to do the stuff ahead so that I'm not having to do it on Christmas Day, and I wish they'd quit commenting on it. I feel uncomfortable, wondering if the extent of my efforts make *them* uncomfortable, but it doesn't seem to make them uncomfortable enough to offer to help. Or better yet, to size up the situation for themselves and just step in and do it. I'm reprimanding Scott, who has just told my mother for the second time that she laughs "too much". I hate having to reprimand my kids for telling the truth when the truth is inconvenient for an older person. My father and Gary's stroking their right-wing penises in agreeing that *Muslims* are 'the problem', that 'they' hate all the wonderful things America stands for, they "hate America more than they love their children--they strap suicide vests on them", "Barak Obama is a Muslim because 'they' don't let you convert: once a Muslim always a Muslim". Add Gary's mother into the cacaphony on Christmas Day when she brings the ham over. She has a childish nasal pitch to her voice that lends itself to whining, which she does. I let Gary handle her; she follows him room to room whining: "It's not *fair*. Just because I don't have a computer I don't get the pictures you send your dad. Why don't you print them for me?" Then of course Gary and I are cold and distant---

Oh, this is useless. They're bugging me to make ice cream with the spherical ice cream maker they got for Christmas. I was probably degenerating into whining myself anyway. Gotta go help them.

2 comments:

Lori said...

I sooooo get the interruptions. I know it's not funny, but I found myself laughing at some of them.

Those Muslim comments really bother me, too.

emelysma said...

Debora i'm peeking at your blog real quickly and saw that last picture of Riser. She really was a beautiful dog. Emely and I feel blessed that we had a chance to meet her