left biblioblography: DINING WITH ALIENS

Friday, November 24, 2006

DINING WITH ALIENS

Turkey day has come and gone (thankfully), and as the song goes, “Still I wonder…?”

Sometimes I wonder if I was adopted. Am I related to these people? It almost makes me want to be a prayin’ man, on occasion. “PLEASE, gawd, tell me I’m no kin o’ these!”

We used to brag that we were dysfunctional prior to when it was trendy, but the current crops of dysfunctionality make us seem tame by comparison (albeit we are a tad louder than most).

My brother-in-law, after a few beers, begins to pick my brain on subjects religious (of course, the loosening of inhibition flows onwards, and before you know it, via the quaffing of far too many ales, somehow my rejection of the existence of a soul translates into nuking the entire Middle East: he’s a Republican in a drunken state of bully pulpit – whoever shouts loudest is right).

Honestly, he’s a terrible debater. And it’s by far much more difficult to have a reasonable debate with people when they don’t allow you to finish your sentences, and decibel level is synonymous with reason.

We managed to argue (shout, really) about numerous topics that swung wildly across the spectrum: I managed to discuss my support of gay marriage, upon which he said (shouted) about how it would ‘undermine his marriage to my sister’, and my little sis, to her credit, stood up and said ‘let them get married. Who cares?’

(I managed to toss a nice bon mot in: He began to rant about it at the dinner table, at which I replied: “If you were married to a man, you might drink less.” General hilarity ensued).

Meanwhile, my elder sister (whose life has apparently taken a turn for the worse: I’d thought she was doing well – we’re not a tight family) decided to drown her depression in alcohol (treating depression with a depressant – that’s smart, yes it is) alternated between sleeping and screaming at my equally drunken brother-in-law about the Shrub (but of course, he dragged Clinton into the criticism – did I say he was a terrible debater? Yes, I did) to the point where we all just stopped trying to mitigate the imbroglio, and went out for a smoke.

I was steamed at my little sis, because earlier I’d told my brother-in-law about the fight we’d had about my praying at the holidays last year (Surprise! She got the whole thing wrong!), and how I just wanted to be excused from it. So when the crucial moment came, she’s asking me to join in (I was trying to bow out), to his credit, brother-in-law chimed in with “Hey, he doesn’t have to participate if he doesn’t want to.” I did after all (she pleaded), but I was steamed. So as we left the screaming match, she asked: “Are we cool?”, I said no. She explained on the porch (with the shouting in the background audible through the walls) that she wanted to avoid the questions, and I got the go-ahead to discuss it with my nephew.

A few words on this:
My nephew is a sweet, odd little guy (actually, he’s almost as big as I am now, heightwise) who is autistic, varying from ‘slightly’ to ‘highly functional’. Somehow, somewhere, he picked up the prayer thing: nobody apparently knows how – they never go to church, aren’t traditionally religious in any sense, outside the lip service. So he’s adopted this in the last few years. I’m a little flattered that I got the go-ahead to speak to him about it – he’s family, but not my kid – but a little irked that she’s had a whole year to prep the kid, and hasn’t. He’s not a social critter, but he can communicate somewhat what he means. He usually comes out, says hi, and goes back to whatever it was that has had his focus prior.

The names have been omitted to protect the strident.

There you have it. The briefest of glimpses into the bedlam that I was born into. We have had some truly memorable holiday moments (remind me to tell you about the time I gave an inflatable love doll to one of my brothers-in-law for Xmas –that was a Kodak moment, I tell ya!) – our family functions are decided failures if not one person is hollering, weeping, or generally incensed.

I love my family, but oy gevalt! There are moments that hermitage sounds like a great idea.

Or, as some wit (I forget whom) once said: “Of course your family can push your buttons. They installed them!”

Hope your holidays were as equally…memorable.

Till the next post then.

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12 comments:

spanders said...

wasn't prayer the issue last year? Hopefully at least that got better. Oy, I guess that's what the holidays are all about... drunken family shouting matches.... wheeeee!!!! Better luck to you next holiday.

beepbeepitsme said...

I don't know any australian families who say grace. I am sure they are around, I just don't know any of them. Not in my extended family, and not in any of my acquaintances or friends.

Of course it was more common when I was growing up, but it was never demanded in our place, but some of my friends' families said grace on a regular basis (going back quite a number of years)

I had an uncle once who would always want to say grace if it was a family social occasion - the family humored him - some of us would bow our heads in pretence while eyeing off the goodies on the table until the prayer was over, and we could dig in.

This is so true - Or, as some wit (I forget whom) once said: “Of course your family can push your buttons. They installed them!”

The hard part is trying to uninstall them. Close contact with family means they get to perform upgrades on any of the uninstallaions you have performed in their absence.

Krystalline Apostate said...

spanders:
wasn't prayer the issue last year? Hopefully at least that got better.
It was, it has, & it will.
Oy, I guess that's what the holidays are all about... drunken family shouting matches.... wheeeee!!!!
Yeah, sorta like a up-close, personal version of the Matterhorn.
Better luck to you next holiday.
Chance favors the prepared mind.
Drop by more often, when you're not busy, my friend.
The hard part is trying to uninstall them. Close contact with family means they get to perform upgrades on any of the uninstallaions you have performed in their absence.
Chuckle. Shibboleth 3.0 is now installed...reboot.

HairlessMonkeyDK said...

"I don't know any australian families who say grace. I am sure they are around, I just don't know any of them. Not in my extended family, and not in any of my acquaintances or friends."

What beep said, just replace australian with danish...
Mmmm... danish! (Homer!)

My family's got 99 problems,
but religion ain't one.
Heh, I hate rap, but that was too obvious a quote to miss.

Greetin's from the cold North,

- Michael

Ocean Lady said...

Ra,

Luckily I got to be away from all the drama this year. Phew...

My blog is on:
http://0ceanlady.wordpress.com/

from now on. Blogger was sending too much spam even with word verification on.

OC

Krystalline Apostate said...

OC:
Luckily I got to be away from all the drama this year. Phew...
Lucky you (seriously!).
from now on. Blogger was sending too much spam even with word verification on.
I'll update my blogroll accordingly.
I've only gotten the occasional sporadic spam (knock on wood).

karen said...

Hey KA.
Congrats on surviving another family holiday.
I'm wondering about your sister. With an autistic son, I'd think she'd be more concerned about all the hollerin' and commotion, rather thab whether one person quietly disconnects from the pre-meal prayer.
Doesn't the noise agitate your nephew?

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
Congrats on surviving another family holiday.
Thanks (he said, in an exhausted tone, hehehe).
I'm wondering about your sister. With an autistic son, I'd think she'd be more concerned about all the hollerin' and commotion, rather thab whether one person quietly disconnects from the pre-meal prayer.
Doesn't the noise agitate your nephew?

Actually, no. He's a highly-functional autistic. He interfaces w/others pretty well, given his condition. He spends most of his time in his room, playing video games, dinosaur toys (oy, I can only hope he doesn't hear about the creationist crapola! That's another long talk I don't look forward to, if it happens).
Otherwise he's had 16 yrs. to adjust.
Besides, asking my family to have a quiet family function is much akin to asking the thunder not to follow the lightning.
Ain't gonna happen.

Mesoforte said...

Honestly, he’s a terrible debater. And it’s by far much more difficult to have a reasonable debate with people when they don’t allow you to finish your sentences, and decibel level is synonymous with reason.

So, its like FOX? ^_^

I find it fun just to stare at people with their heads bowed why they pray.

Krystalline Apostate said...

MF:
So, its like FOX? ^_^
He's actually not bad w/just a few brews in him. More like CNN.
He gets to the 2nd sail, & boy howdy! It sure does sound like The Fudge Factor.
He also likes to sound off on Pat Buchanan, but I think he just does that because we're all liberals, & he likes to get our dander up.

Rosemary said...

RA: My goodness...what a bun fight!

My turkey day was extraordinaryly calm. It was mostly with strangers. My son and I were invited to dinner with the woman he's been working for for the past year (remodeling her two houses) and her extended family. Any little family tensions that surfaced involved me not at all.

Our one fear, since we knew the family was religious, was that they would pray and ask us to participate. They simply filled their plates and dove in...no prayer. So that was cool.

Krystalline Apostate said...

rosemary:
RA: My goodness...what a bun fight!
Luckily, no food was thrown.
We only have food fights in America. How odd that is.
Nice to know some folks had a pacific holiday.
I do appreciate a good throw-down once in a blue moon. This was kinda passe, as they go.