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Last night went well: spaghetti dinner at my brother's house (where dad is staying), two rounds of Chrononauts, then a trip to karaoke at the Scarlet Tree (down the street from my brother). We all got in one song, Papa drank two beers, it went well.

Tonight the cracks in his best behavior began to show. At the Mighty Wurlitzer Christmas Sing-a-long, when I asked him if there were still people living in the family farmhouse (rent-free), he said yes, began to tell me all of the things that they had done to fix up the house, then kind of slowly started in on the bellowing about how " they've got new wiring and rebuilt the walls [gets louder] and made it a better place and they should be there [gets really loud] another five years rent-free ...[blah blah-I stopped listening]!!!" I cut him off, saying, "That's good, we don't need to talk about that," then was thankfully eased into the second act as the lights went down and the music started. I spent rather a lot of it feeling blue about stupid things, because for some reason all of the Christmas songs reminded me of all of the depressing Christmases I spent with my family (not my father or half-brother, but my stepfather and my mother) in Phoenix ... all of the arguments and tension, the sense of isolation, loneliness, and fear, with fights constantly bubbling below the surface and reading my only solace. I knew I wasn't in a good mood and tried to analyze it away, and shadowdaddy could tell I was feeling blue and kept sneaking my hand into his.

I was just reminded of why I dread the holidays in general, and how they became so much better when I stopped trying to spend them with family. This was of course tremendously aggravated by the card I received from my aunt today, who told me she knows I'm "still very hurt and may be angry at me - I have really prayed in my heart that you would find it in your heart to forgive me for anything I did .... There are so many memories of happiness and even fun if we look." This reminded me of the things I could be mad about from the past (her hitting me, but not too much else), but more of the things I was upset about now ... which was how she has pretty much displayed no interest in me for some fifteen years or so, including leaving me to hang with both Grandma and Grandpa's funerals. (Grandma was September last year and Grandpa was in October. I have never bothered saying anything about it here until now as LJ condolences are just too pathetic for words - better to only mention to people I see in person, and I pretty much told none of them either, not even the people I work with.) And when I look at the past I can't find any happy memories to hang on to ... what is she talking about? I fell asleep after work today crying bitter tears because of this letter. It could have hardly shown up when I was feeling more vulnerable.

But there I was anyway, trying Christmas with family, spending the evening with a loaded gun wearing a baseball cap and a black sports coat. After the show we took Papa to Pies and Pints (in the Roosevelt neighborhood), as we hadn't had dinner yet and they were serving until midnight. When Papa sat down, the first thing he asked was, "I bet you want to know what's up with the folks living in the farmhouse." And I told him no, I didn't want to know anything about it at all, and my brother quickly deflected him with questions about the menu. Then when the waitress came back to check on our food, he was trying to get a lemon seed out of the glass, and in his bizarre obsession he wound up knocking the ice in his drink all over his dinner. As the waitress walked away, he yelled across the dining room, "I wasn't going to be beaten by some citrus fruit!" so loudly that everyone in the entire pub briefly stopped talking. I started to get really scared when he wound up ordering two more pints in the next twenty minutes, but fortunately it seemed to stop there, though I was disturbed by my father's near complete lack of interaction with us - it was like he was either going to be dead meat or flip out, as being on his best behavior had just become too hard.

Only three more days. Can things please go well?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 23rd, 2004 11:29 am (UTC)
Yes, they can go well. :) And even if they don't you'll have a great time in London. :P
Dec. 23rd, 2004 11:28 pm (UTC)
Your kind words are appreciated ...
Dec. 23rd, 2004 04:37 pm (UTC)
Dec. 23rd, 2004 11:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks ... I am needing lots of hugs this week.
Dec. 23rd, 2004 09:22 pm (UTC)
So leaving this comment backs up my motto that "we have to carry each other."*
*Even people we don't talk to.

Ok, so while we don't talk anymore, I'm going to commiserate with you on this one and later, tell you a Pies and Pints experience or two to make you feel better about the disruption your father made.

I keep telling my roommate (encmonkey--I'm sure you know of him through vampgyrl), that Christmas is Fucking Canceled. He is so awesome, willing to put up with my inviting all sorts of random folks over all the time (including Xmas Day), and quite tolerant of my Christmas ranting. Thing is, it was going to be a good holiday, cause I was going to only associate with friends or stay by myself doing whatever I want this year...but as you've pointed out, the Christmas rituals (like singing and the shopping) are reminding me of bad Christmas seasons from long ago and I am in an unexpected funk. I'm betting I'll pull out of it before New Year's since I have good plans for that. Hopefully, you do too.

About Pies and Pints: if you're worried at all about what the staff or patrons thought, don't. Cause I've witnessed worse ;). On one occasion, I was at a dinner with a bunch of folks (about 8) and towards the end, someone threw up ALL OVER THE TABLE. While the staff was cleaning this up without a negative comment (they are saints), one of the other in the party had the audacity to ask for that girl's meal to be taken off the check. And one other time, I was way, way, way too inebriated to be in public--it was in June, the day my grandmother died, who was a total bitch, but it stung anyway--but the staff and patrons (and my friends with me) handled me quite gracefully. I'm still grateful for that and glad that Seth and Steve kept me in the BACK of the place near the pool table. I can't tell from the story if you were embarrassed, but if so, don't be.

I remember how you feel about dealing with your family and I remember how bad some things have gone for you in the past, in general. You should be proud of yourself in your attempts to continue to try to make it work. There's only this one life, we have to get it right--now. Even though I never really liked her because of how awful she could be, I was really grateful that I'd patched things up with my grandmother before she died--enough to have a Thanksgiving meal with her in 2002. (Edited this last line to make more sense.)
Dec. 24th, 2004 07:45 am (UTC)
We've been talking about telling people we've become Buddhist so we CAN cancel Christmas
I figured I might be setting myself up to random ridicule by making this entry public but I thought it was important that other people see examples of less than perfect Christmas experiences (and I kind of wanted my sister to see it if she happened to stop by). But your comment was kind and thank you - you've always understood this cracked up family crap pretty well. I don't know what to do about my aunt, though I should call her and see about having her send me the pictures of my mom that she for some reason is convinced I don't want. As for my dad, I think I've substantially given up on having any kind of decent relationship with him, while simultaneously hoping that we can keep things kind of level and not any worse. If we can just not have a fight before he leaves, it will have gone alright.
Dec. 24th, 2004 09:04 am (UTC)
Less than perfect? Gah! Madhouse!

::earnest hug:: plus ::stocking full of candy:: plus ::invitation to come over to our house for no particular reason::
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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