Trade Me Places

My family has been in town six hours, two of which I managed to avoid by pretending I had to stay here while they swam at the hotel because the recalcitrant brother was lost and might at any moment call and need directions.

In the time that they’ve been here, we’ve discussed why my house is so dirty, whether my toilets could be cleaner, if I’m doing enough to keep the tub from clogging, why they have to wait for me to do the dishes, whether it’s okay to put Diet Dr Pepper on the laptop, why they have to play shitty video games and can’t they get on the computer instead, whether I’m going to the doctor enough or at all or whether it’s rude for me to refuse to talk to them about it, doesn’t matter, they will explain to the kids how I should be going to the doctor twice a year since I refuse to discuss it, whether I’m overdressed for CiCi’s Pizza, if I have quarters, whether they can take my car down to the Brewhouse, whether they can’t just stay here, if I’m doing enough to prepare just in case I lose my job, whether I’m doing enough to make sure the Butcher gets his act together, whether I’m gaining weight, if I seem to be losing weight in a way that suggests I’m sickly, why I don’t buy the same lightbulbs they do, whether they should bring me their old lightbulbs, if there’s anything to drink in the fridge, why my neighbor’s wife left him, if she was indeed his wife, what Mexican dish has cheese and butter in it, whether you’re supposed to eat the corn husks on tamales, if it’s okay that the littlest nephew only wears muscle shirts, why he can’t sit next to me in the van, and so on.

Emotionally, it’s a little like standing in front of a firehose when someone turns it on.  Or like standing on stage and having everyone just hurl whatever they can think to say about you for better or for worse up at you.

It makes me feel just about done with people, let me tell you.


I’m going to bed.

23 thoughts on “Trade Me Places

  1. I am so sure that we are related that it ain’t even funny. hahhahaha
    Families…gotta love ’em…otherwise you’d kill ’em ;)

  2. Hey…Mom didn’t tell me she was visiting you this week….

    You do realize that this is about them, not about you, right?

  3. Even people we love can sometimes sap our energy, and everything seems like The Inquisition. Relax, as soon as they are gone, you will miss them. Yesterday had a weird vibe, you may have just gotten too much too fast.

  4. That made me tired just reading it. I think you should just start making up answers, like, “Yes, you definitely eat the corn husks on tamales.”

  5. You are experiencing a phenomenon known as the fun vampire. The fun vampire can suck the fun out of a room in just a matter of minutes. I too am around fun vampires on occasion. Dispose of them quickly or they will suck your soul out of your body.

    A friendly message from your friend, newscoma.

  6. PS – I have parents coming next weekend. I already have a mental list of “safety concerns” about the house and neighborhood that my father (who I love, but how is very safety conscious) is going to mention when he gets here. I might have to draw up bingo cards and make a game of it.
    Did they really offer you their “old” lightbulbs? Are they tossing their lightbulbs before they blow, or are they offering to send you useless bulbs? :)

  7. Well, Rachel already called it, but this:
    whether they should bring me their old lightbulbs
    is priceless.

    One of my grandmothers was like what you have described, and one of my sisters tells me that while paying her a visit once she [my sister] quietly excused herself, went into the bedroom, and fainted. Try to extract something good from the visit. Such as “isn’t it nice that they are so interested in my life instead of cold and detached.” Because if you can’t have a sense of humor about this, ugh.

  8. That’s an excellent description of family. and yep,, that’s pretty much how it goes.

  9. Ha, yeah, I should explain. They’re changing all their lightbulbs to long burning nitrogen bulbs (supposedly, I don’t know) and so they do have a bunch of regular bulbs that aren’t burnt out.

  10. I usually love it when your family visits or you’re writing about conversations with them, but like Rachel, this made me tired. Poor you. Hang in there.

  11. Pingback: Nashville is Talking » Tonight on Fox, “When Families Attack!”

  12. Sometimes I feel sad that my parents are dead and that my brothers and sisters never meet or talk much any more.

    And then I read things like this and I don’t feel as sad any more. Thanks.

  13. Lord God Almighty.

    We continue to send you strength and virtual hugs of reassurance, B.

    But no lightbulbs.

    You’re so much more gracious and classy than I, by the way. I would have accepted the lightbulbs and then inserted them in random orifices and done an interpretive dance. Although I also love the idea of quietly excusing myself, going into the bedroom and fainting. That’s so Southern.

  14. My sister isn’t southern, though. In fact, a few years ago she had to go to Louisville to meet some previously unmet in-laws, and she told me she was nervous about going to the south. That’s from a woman who grew up in St. Louis and has spent her entire adult life in DC.

  15. Ah. Well, I think we’re going to have to make her an honorary GRITS, though, nm. I joke about her reaction being Southern, but it’s really just a gracious, old-fashioned way to get the hell out of a situation that is making your head asplode without hurting anyone’s feelings or causing a bigger and usually necessary fight. (The fainting was a bonus and probably prevented her from having a stroke, thank goodness.)

    She obviously learned how to choose her battles — and sometimes step politely away from them — by being raised in a gracious and classy family with you, regardless of geographic location.

    Kind of like B. Who is genteel, gracious and classy in spite of everything.

    (See, you knew I’d get back around to the topic of her post.)

  16. Erm. That should have been “bigger and usually UNnecessary fight.”

    Some fights are necessary. Others, not so much.

    (Can you tell we have a big family thing coming up this weekend with The Other Side and that I am already mentally girding my loins? Because if I don’t get into it with somebody myself, and I’m trying not to, I’m going to have to be pulling my mother off my Crazy Mean Aunt. Maybe I can talk her into excusing herself and coming into the bedroom and lying down with me and Baby Fishmouth. And when Crazy Mean Aunt tries to get in and continue the fight, I’ll excuse myself onto the porch and beat her to death.)

Comments are closed.