Too bad "Hermit" isn't still a viable career

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My family isn't....well, you wouldn't ever find us on a postcard of "How to host the perfect large get together". In fact, we barely seem to be able to sustain the "small get together" for more than 2 or 3 hours.

It isn't like we're hermits (although it has occasionally crossed my mind) or ritually sacrifice "outsiders" to appease our angry gods. We just are...loners. No, that has too much of a potential serial killer ring to it. Misanthropic? Fans of Alone time? Actually, while watching Capote this weekend, it struck me - We should have been the alcoholic, jaded literati of the 1950's. Those people are OUR people, or at the very least MY people. My guess is that I would have been a closeted homosexual man, for the extra angst value.

When I met and married Terrance, one of the things I had to get my mind around was his Family. They love to be together. They travel together. They visit each other all the time. They all talk, several times a week. Coming from the family who m-a-y-b-e got together for dinner for a "graduation" or "wedding", this was foreign to me.

The first several years I skulked about on the edges of his family, wondering why the hell these people could spend hours together and no one got cut or strangled. They also weren't drinking heavily. I would dart out of the room, like a cornered possum, looking for an escape route. My instinct to scream "STOP TALKING TO ME!" and hide under the bed with a bottle of red wine had to be stifled. The first vacation that Terrance told me that we were traveling with his family had me in near histrionics. THE WHOLE THING? ALL THE TIME? I had to be "on" for the whole time? Fuck. Me.

Of course, to Terrance the odd disconnectedness of my family seemed somehow Un-American and certainly Not Black. My looks of horror when he would suggest that we visit my family for extended lengths of time were interpreted as something he needed to fix.

And while he has never fully accomplished his goal to get My family to Act like HIS family, I laughed this Christmas morning as he called each of his siblings, put them on Speakerphone and we had a round robin conversation - Aunts, nieces, nephews, friends et al joining when they could. And I participated. Sincerely. Willingly.

Not bad for 16 years of work.

2 Baleful Regards:

Fraulein N said...

Not bad at all. My husband struggles to get his head around the fact that not only am I from a family of Alone People, I'm from a family of Alone People who like to pretend otherwise. Our get-togethers baffle him; he's all, "But you're just ... sitting around! And no one's talking to each other!" It seriously baffles him.

Anonymous said...

I talk all of the time to my sisters--whether or not I see them--and Mr. Half rarely speaks to his brothers. It's not as though he doesn't try. He really does. Too much family requires me to drink a few too many glasses of wine in order to perform a verbal post-mortem of everything that happened at the event. I'm still talking about Christmas Eve and that should tell you something.

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