So, had dinner with some relatives this weekend. Usually, that’s at least three good rants right there, but for the most part the fam was well-behaved. My dad kept the drinking down to half a bottle of red and a few beers, my mom (who doesn’t get along with most of my dad’s family) had the good sense to flee to Illinois, and my aunt and uncle managed to make it through almost the entire evening without screaming at each other. There was a brief shouting match just as we were leaving over the best way to store soup for transport, but that’s about it.
I did, however, have the misfortune to meet Carmen. Carmen is my uncle’s wife’s cousin, which makes her only the most tenuous relation to myself, thank God. I’ve met Carmen when I was a kid, but I’ve apparently consigned that to the long list of things about my childhood that I’ve succesfully repressed. There were a lot of things I wanted to say to Carmen, but I’m generally too non-confrontational and passive agressive to say these sorts of things to people’s faces. Which is why I love the Pit so.
Anyway, to Carmen:
First, I haven’t seen you since I was ten years old. I understand that the last time we interacted I was a small child. You might perceive, however, that seventeen years have passed since then. Please stop talking to me like I’m a child. Christ, woman, is it so hard to treat me like an adult? I’m a foot and a half taller than you! How do you talk down to someone when you have to look up to address them?
Second, please observe that you are not the only person at this dinner party. Nor is this dinner party being held in your honor. So would you please have the common courtesy to shut the fuck up on occasion? Not all the time, by any means, but maybe just when someone else is talking? I don’t think a single sentence was uttered in your presence without you butting in to offer your half-assed opinions. At least until the rest of us wised up and started talking right over you. It was like having dinner on the set of Hardball, except you don’t have Chris Matthew’s charm or delightful personality.
Lastly, let’s talk about some of those opinions. You’re a communist. No, you’re actually a capital-C Communist. Your dad fought in the Spanish Civil War, and came to California to avoid being shot by Franco. Your uncle ended up in Mexico, working as Leon Trotsky’s chauffer. You’ve got a red pedigree stretching almost all the way back to Karl Marx himself, and you’re not shy when it comes to bragging about it. On the other hand, you live in the nicest house in fucking Mill Valley!* You’ve got scads of money: half of it you inherited from your dad (whose ardent communism didn’t prevent him from investing heavily in California real estate back the '40s) the other half you got off your rich shitheel husbad, who, incidentally, was last seen washing dishes in Fresno while you lived it up in the sub-urban mansion he paid for.
It was pretty hilarious watching you insist on your status as a Latino because both your parents came from Spain. You’re a second generation European-descended Marinite. You’re as much a Latino as I’m a Scottish laird**. But the funny part is that two-thirds of the people at this table were actually born in Spain, and they all hate Latinos. Michelangelo over there used to get in fights with people who mistook him for a Mexican. Then again, you’re not too keen on Latinos yourself, judging by the way you bitched about all the Guatemalan day-laborers in San Rafael.
But the one thing that really got me, the final straw, the thing that turned this evening from mildly annoying to “I gotta rant about this before my head explodes,” came after dinner. The discussion turned to the situation in Iraq. You, naturally enough, were against it. I confessed to being reluctantly pro-war. And you responded with, “As a mother, I don’t want to see a bunch of children getting blown up in a war.” Right, whereas I, as a childless male, wholeheartedly support the indiscriminate slaughter of innocents. “As a mother.” What kind of fucking bullshit appeal to authority is that? Successfully reproducing does not give you any special insight into the Middle East. If that’s the criteria for an informed opinion, let’s ask my cat what she thinks. She’s at least as qualified as you are!
And on top of everything else, my beautiful twenty-inch monitor is apparently on it’s last legs. The picture tube keeps having fits of mad flickering, and it emits periodic loud pops from somewhere in its bowels. It’s been doing it for a few months now, and it’s getting steadily worse. Goddammit, I doubt I can afford to fix it, and I sure as hell can’t buy a new one! I don’t want to go back to some piddly 12" monitor! This has nothing to do with Carmen, but it’s been bothering me for a while, so I thought I’d get it off my chest while I’m here.
*Mill Valley is located in Marin County. Marin County is one of the most affleuent places on Earth. Mill Valley makes the rest of Marin County look like a Bangladeshi slum.
**Well, she does speak fluent Spanish, I’ve got to give her that. American-accented Spanish, but that’s still more than I can say for my Gaellic.