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- - 3:28 p.m. , 2003-04-23

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2003-04-23 @ 3:28 p.m.

I have just returned from the land of my forefathers, the beautiful south, home of some of the oldest dirt in the country.

All I have to say is it's too much! it's too much!

there's a story i tell about my family, mostly true i think, and definitely how i experienced it. on Christmas Day the year my parents first got a compact disk player, when presented with a large WalMart bag full of random compact disks my mother broke down and started saying in her crazy voice, "It's too much! It's too much!". Forever after the remark has rung in my head... alway applicable, always appropriate when explaining a get-together of my family.

Coming home is always too much; Doesn't matter too much of what, it's just too much.

There's too much Family Binx to contain in one package. Too much "listen to me, listen to me!", too much changing the subject when someone else is talking by simply interjecting a non-sequitor at the point the speaker takes a breath. Too much superfluous information dropped into a topic no one understands in the first place just so he can keep talking. Too much subtext. Too much arrogence. Too much history. Too much irritation. Too much aggravation. Too much, too much.

My father always inappropriately banters with watresses.

I hate it. It's that condescending male bullshit: aggressively playful, sexually -charged dialog with the "purty little waitress". And then you have to watch the waitress allow it so she gets a tip. I don't know -- maybe there is some time that shit is fine. I don't know exactly WHEN it might be ok. But to give him the benefit of the doubt perhaps if he were alone and the last man on earth this banter might be welcomed.... I just know that when I am at the table the crap that comes from his mouth makes me uncomfortable. and if it's not the what -he -thinks -is -flirty routine he jokes at being rude with me or my mother... only I know that it's not really a joke. He IS rude. He may not mean the specific "rude" comment he just said but BE SURE there is another rude comment he is thinking and NOT saying.

But don't notice -- don't say anything. He is the King. He is the Ruler. He is the Head Shit.

Just sit there and be quiet. Sit there and pretend that youre not offended, that the fat balding man at the end of the is as charming as the day is long.

And WE'RE not even working for a tip.

And then. At the same table, my mother. She has too much unresolved. Unresolved what? Unresolved anything, Unresolved everything. Too much she didn't say when it was happening because the Head Shit would have interrogated her, would have asked the precise series of questions until the reason for her anger was determined, beyond a shaddow of a doubt, to have been insignificant.

But back to Family Binx.

The night the Head Shit was coming on to the waitress at the tavern, another line of attack developed in the form of a smarmy baptist bottled-blonde. Passing by our table on the way out, the blonde made a point of stopping to tell my mother and father that the choir at the Baptist church was going to be wearing the new robes Family Binx had something to do with enabling them to buy. She added --unctuously-- that she'd love to see us all at church on Easter Sunday.

My father responded with a gag -producing "Thank you very much. I'll make a special effort to get there,Miz Tacky-Baptist"

Sitting there like somekind of a goon.


Just grinning away.

Like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.

Like he had even BEEN to church this decade.


A little back story.

The Baptist church in question was my church growing up. I stopped going when I was about 16 but even before that Daddy had never been a regular attendee. That and the reason we went to that church was because HIS family went there! So, soon after I stopped going to services, my mother decided to the Episcopal church.

When Church-Lady was testifying I looked over at my mother, who, it turned out, was in the process of working herself up into quite a snit. It was like a Tex Avery cartoon... I could practically see a little pressure meter with the needle inching into the red --floating above her head.

Stick with me now.

Church Lady's dart had hit a very sensitive area. Turns out when Mama started attending the Episcopal church, the diocese wrote to confirm that she had been a baptised member of Binxfield Baptist Church. And no one responded. Despite the fact that she went there twenty years or more, taught sunday school, headed teenager groups, and raised her children (two of the three also baptised members) in that damn church. No one ever called or wrote or said there was a problem or anything.

Very christian of them, don't you think?

So. Mama starts whipping the facts at Daddy. Daddy's gives himself time to develop an alternate defense by shooting a couple of snide ones across her bow. Before you knew it the Ice Age had hit the table freezing everyone in their seats in uncomfortable silence. I looked down at the table. I took a long drink of my beer. I nervously tried to change the subject. I made a few jokes.

No thawing.

Hell, I chose the frontal approach and said we all should cut the BS and move on. But nothing.

And it's always played out this way. My Dad is an ass, my mom technically is in the right but by the time the issue comes out her responses are WAY out of line with the infraction. She has a right to be pissed but really... shouldn't she have worked through this in the intervening twelve or thirteen years? Why do we all have to feel tense about it at the tavern. On the night the Head Shit was inapproapriatly coming on to the waitress.

It's too much for one meal.

It's just too much.