Friday, August 8, 2003

Into the Breach

Well, my beloved darlings, in a couple of hours I will be leaving my urban utopia for three days. One of the Grandmother's multitudinous nieces has, on a total lark, thrown together a family reunion in order to celebrate the Grandmother's eighty-fifth birthday (which I may have neglected to mention was last Saturday).

The event, which is not centered and aimed at Grandmother and her milestone birthday, which would make her terrifyingly uncomfortable, is being called "Thanksgiving in August." The event, which will draw an attendance of anywhere from fifty to eighty adults (many of whom are spawning at such terrific speed that it doesn't pay to count the children), is being held in the delightful town of Redding, CA. The event, to which Grandmother has been looking forward all summer, and for which she has already bought new clothes, toiletries, and luggage, will test my skills to the utmost... how to interact with a truckload of kindhearted but no less Gothic Christians who chat about Being Washed in the Blood of the Lamb with all the casual sincerity that I discuss art and fashion; how to be in a room filled with small children without kicking out at them (though in my previous experience they have all been remarkably well-behaved children, there's something about children's voices that get on my last gay nerve after about an hour); how to not call undue attention to my rather obvious homosexuality, thereby eliciting well-meant but unwanted concern about my Immortal Soul and my serostatus, without actually going so far as to hide it (for example, yesterday I got my nails done as short as my manicurist could stand to make them); how to live through a whole day called "Thanksgiving in August" without going so far off my diet as to undo all the work I've done this summer (I am one pound over two hundred, and I want to keep going down, not start going back up); how to go about the business of living in a hot rural environment around a lot of people without going stark staring mad.

Oh, well... so far I've simply been practicing detachment about this event. When I was talking to Daddy the other day, he was trying to get information from me about how many people are going up in my car, what time we are leaving, and so on and so forth. I told him I had no idea, "I'm just going to do as I'm told and go when I'm told to go, wherever that might be." That makes it difficult to plan around, but it also makes none of it my fault. In my sick little mind, fault is a very important factor in my ability to get through these little things.

The whole thing is therefore Grandmother's fault, and it's easier to forgive her for bad planning than to forgive myself. So she told me that I am taking Daddy and Matthew (my nephew) in my car, and we're leaving at 10 am; Grandmother and my cousin Jessie are going with my Uncle, whose wife and sister are going together in his wife's car; my sister drove up in the middle of last night (assumedly) because she wanted to drive when it was cool out, and my cousin Jamie and her husband are coming up separately in different cars. I think we're all meeting for lunch somewhere halfway up, so even the speed at which I drive isn't going to be my choosing, I'll just follow my uncle the cop at whatever terrifying breakneck speed he adopts (Grandmother would never think to complain that he is driving fifteen mph over the speed limit... I bet she never even looks at his spedometer)

Sometimes I wish I didn't have so much family. They can be awfully wearing on a person. But then, if I was one of those dispossessed guys I always envy, the people who get to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with their friends or at the movies, I would envy people like me who have inescapable and overwhelming family obligations. It's the nature of man to envy that which is other than what he has.

Still, it will be nice to get away from the daily rounds, to breathe a different air and shake up my bland complacence. And a weekend in Redding will make me enjoy being back at work next week so much more.

In the meantime, I hope you have a super lovely weekend. Kisses!

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