Monday, June 19, 2006

We're All Hateful, Awful People

If by "we" you mean "me."

Why is it that families can be so exasperating? This felt like the weekend of family exasperation. You see, my cousin got married this weekend and trying to spend ANY time with the family felt like such contorted, torturous schedule shuffling it hardly seemed worth it. My parents got into town last Saturday. I called them to get the 411 on the schedule of events and was told that there would be “something” happening Friday. I tailored my schedule so that I could spend the evening with the family. My friend Evelyn was in town and I planned to do an after work drink with her to catch of on three years of life. My goal was to get to the East Falls Church metro at 7:00 so that someone could pick me up and take me to my uncle’s place in Great Falls. Since the wedding was supposed to start at 5:30 pm, I thought I was safe in getting to my uncle’s place at 4:00 pm on Saturday.

I call my mom Friday morning to confirm and she tells me that the family is gathering at 5:30 on Friday for a barbecue at my uncle’s and not only that, the Buddhist ceremony would be at 10:00 am Saturday. Whuh? I tell my mom I can’t make the Buddhist ceremony because of another commitment and that I will be there at 4:00 as we planned earlier. Because of all the moving stuff, my friend Auntie em offers to drive me and pick me up from the wedding. This causes me to burst into tears at Java Green in gratitude. I don’t know how I got such a great group of friends.

In the middle of coffee with Evelyn, my mom calls and hands the phone over to my brother who I assume will be picking me up. I tell him that the plan was for him to pick me up at 7:00 and he complains about the trouble it would be to drive 20 minutes to pick me up and then drive me back ot the metro and couldn’t I just go back to Capitol Hill and drive myself. I say that’s not convenient since I’m already downtown. He hems and haws some more and then asks me to just rent a car and drive myself. WHUH??? What is so hard about driving to the metro? I mean seriously, WTF?????? I just tell him to forget it and I go home.

On Saturday, I walk back from my volunteer commitment at 2:30 pm to get a call from my Mom that I need to be at my uncle’s house immediately because they want to take pictures. I am unshaven, sweaty, and nowhere near ready to put on a suit. I am flabbergasted that she thinks I can just leave at the drop of a dime when we agreed to me coming at 4:00pm. Auntie Em changes her schedule at the drop of a dime to get me to Great Falls by 3:15pm. I walk into my uncle’s house to see half of my family still in shorts and t-shirts. We don’t leave for the wedding until 4:45. Nice to know that they needed me dressed and ready to go so early.

By the time I get to the wedding, I’ve become someone I really don’t like: the bitchy wedding guest. While I try and keep it to myself, I just can’t help but pick apart the wedding. Luckily, none of my bitchiness is directed to the bride and groom who both look marvelous. Hey, I am the only person to laugh at the Princess Bride reference during the vows. But I just can’t stop myself from internally picking apart the mother of the bride’s outfit, the totally generic country club decorations, and the Corinthians reading (Love is patient…RIIIIGHT!) I bitch about how a certain guest’s low cut gown let us know exactly how much she spent on her boob job. I bitch about the fact that hoisin dipped lamb chops aren’t really good as a passed hors d’ouerve. I bitch about having an outdoor wedding when it’s 93 degrees outside.

After the ceremony we wait and wait and wait. We first wait to get seated. And then we wait for the soup course. And then we wait for the salad course. And then we wait for the main course. It’s 10:15pm by the time the main course arrives. Since auntie Em is picking me up at 10:30, my plans to lead my cousins to the dance floor during Baby Got Back go down in flames.

And in the end I hate myself for not being able to put this aside and just be HAPPY for two people who obviously care about each other. I wonder why it’s so hard to be with my family and why I can’t appreciate what they do give me and let the other stuff slide. The darker side of me wonders why can’t my family make ME the priority and ask me what would be convenient. Why can a friend devote their Saturday to driving me to and from Capitol Hill to Great Falls but my own family can’t give me a straight answer about when I need to be somewhere?

If anything, this whole weekend is a pointed reminder all the love I DO have in my life, from J, from my in-laws, and from my friends. And that is family too.


Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

You poor thing. I'd be totally pissed off myself if I were in your shoes. My family can be hard to deal with at times too, especially at Christmas. My mom gets bitchy if we don't spend the same amount of time with her and my side of the family as we do with my husbands. No exaggeration, she actually complained one time because she said we spent 2 hours more at his family's then mine! OY! And seeing as our families live 2 hours apart it's not as easy as saying we'll see one family this time and the other family the next time.

So I totally feel your pain.

john patrick said...

You are not hateful, awful people.

You are supposed to be mad at your family. It is normal and correct to be mad at your family.

And as for the wedding, I think if you're genuinely happy for the couple, then you are allowed to bitch about bad dinner service.

My parents used to pull the non-specific schedule business on me, and I would just strand them. That is a control game they play, and I needed to show them that I win.

Nowadays, though, when they come to town, I just clear my schedule, because I'm afraid they will sabotage me if I leave them alone in the house.

Anonymous said...

I wish this made sense. Was there only one person who could come get you? Parents, brothers sisters, others? In my family, there's always someone who needs to get the heck away from the group for a minute. A smoker, a teenager, a, something.

It's like there is some messed up quasi-indirect punishment going on here or something? Why weren't you told of the plans earlier? Given a schedule even? It's not like weddings get planned at the last minute.

Besides, if the family is coming to your turf with a schedule, it makes sense to go out of their way to see you, get to be with you.

I'd be pissed too. Not just pissed though. I'd be curious. Can you sit down with them and talk it out? It'd be great to understand why that seems like its ok? I always ask for that moment thought and sometimes its overrated.

I'm so glad you mentioned Auntie Em (funny name when dealing with concepts of home and family). That's really kind and gracious and clearly you've worked to develop a healthy and giving relationship with someone willing to do such a thing. Cheers to her and the rest of your support system. We allneed people who treat us kindly no matter what their challenges are.

Much love,

-D. Zbornak

Stef said...

I'm sorry your weekend plans got all screwy and frustrating.... but I'm also glad, cuz your messed-up schedule meant I actually got to see you live and in person! :-)

Let's do it again sometime, minus all the family drama.

ScottE. said...

Sorry to hear about all that!