Family time. Ostensibly.

My brother’s  girlfriend’s  baby cousin’s  first birthday party.

Those are fairly wide degrees of separation, I’d say.  I went to this little event over the weekend.  Didn’t really want to go, it’s just one of those things that I “should” do at this point.  Brother and girlfriend are implicitly engaged, so the birthday kid is eventually going to be my cousin-in-law.  Another member of my extended family who I will seldomly see.

I show up a little late, but that’s okay because the future family-in-law is Cuban.  It would ruffle more feathers to show up early, actually.  I see my mom and she comes over to hug me, because hugs are like heroin to her.  (I don’t live with my mom, so I should probably loosen up there, but I visit her every damn weekend.)  When Mum is done smothering me, I realize the Cuban grandmother’s presence, which is surprising because considering her size, I should have been more aware of her.  She asks me, in good humor, why I didn’t say hello.

“Because she was hogging me,” I say.  I point to my mom.

Cuban grandma takes hold of my hand and starts talking in Spanish.  I can’t grasp what she’s saying so I just watch her pouty lips and pouchy cheeks move about, wondering why she’s wearing her surface-of-the-sunglasses indoors.  I think of every holy figure known to man and pray that grandma will let me go.  Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu, Quetzalcoatl,  Easter Bunny, Christopher Walken…

She asks me if I want to sit down.

Please, no.  You’ll eat me.

No, yo quiero algo para tomar,” I say.  Translation: I need booze.  She lets go and I walk away.

The rest of the two hours that I was there pretty much consisted of a beer, a little bit of talking, a little bit of walking, and a nap.  When I woke up it was over– the cake, the piñata, the bounce house.  I said goodbye and left.  I wondered what the hell was the point of having gone at all?  It’s pretty much just visual politeness, that presence implies some kind of relationship and caring.  Caring enough to come, and look at the baby, and actually make contact with scary grandma.  I realize that these events will become more frequent, eventually, and I’d better get used to it.  But I’m happy to say I’m developing a tolerance, with the help of my good friend, alcohol.

And I guess the party was kinda worth it, just because of this:



~ by rabbit on April 7, 2009.

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