Friday, June 03, 2005

how-to guide for visiting my paternal relatives

uncles: when you arrive, you will find them seated as close to the exits as possible. whether they are serving as security guards, looking to bum smokes, or just trying to figure out how to get back to their houses and away from all the loud women as expediently as they can is not known. they may avoid eye contact, but this may be because they either don't recognize you, think you hate them for some reason, or really just hate you. the uncles are a mysterious clan -- proceed with caution toward loud cackling.

oulas: diminutive women with matching voluminous bubble hairstyles. seemingly sweet and harmless in nature. heavily perfumed and hugely bespectacled, upon hugging you, however, you will be marked as their prey -- you'll stink like junior high career ed day at sephora and they'll have a greasy imprint of your ear over their eye. ever present but virtually undistinguishable, the best way to address one when you're not sure which one you're talking to is by coughing in your hand and saying oula. that way, she won't be offended that you don't know her name is kroula or sploula. if she's another pauline, you're effed -- just smile really broadly, crunch up your nose, and move on.

cousins: prepare by reviewing the following script.

    cousin: hey, how's life in florida treating you?

    you: i don't live in florida. i live in chicago.

    cousin: you don't? didn't you live in florida?

    you: um, no. remember? we just got married in florida.

    cousin: ohhhh! i get it now. so are you still doing that cheerleading thing?

    you: well, it's actually a dance thing, and yep. still working for the same company i've been with for 13 years now, only i don't teach anymore.

    cousin: you don't? i don't get it -- what do you do then?

    you: i'm basically in sales, event coordinating, promotion and a little biz-dev. what about you? what are you up to?

    cousin: oh, yeah [murmurs conspiratorily]. i'm about to [move to a different hemisphere/get married on another continent/become a vegetarian].

    you: oh, wow! that's magnificent! good luck to you -- that's awesome.

    cousin: wow, you're the only person i know who has a positive reaction about that! the rest of the family tells me that that's a terrible decision and i'm going to burn in eternal damnation. thanks!

    you: hm. no, problem. apparently, i'll be the one driving the bus there, so i'll make sure to call you if i get into any traffic along the way.

    cousin: say, i feel awkward about asking you this again, but any news on the baby front?

    you: uhhhwow... nope. maybe in the fall.

    cousin: oh, okay... say, do i have booze breath? my mom says i stink like a bar. i've been chewing gum, but it's not going away. i mean i just had one glass of wine.

    you: yeah, a little bit, but don't worry about it.

fire aunt: cross between a fire ant and an aunt. often heard before seen, can be recognized by extremely short stature and flame red hair sticking straight up. will avoid you at all costs, hiding behind slightly taller relatives, until the end of the night. draped in furs, she will meet you at the egress and feign shocked surprise, exclaiming, "oh my gaaad! i haven't seen you in forever!" the fire aunt will then make a few feeble attempts at intimidation and shame, pointing a bejeweled, knobbly finger in your unwaveringly placid face. employ operation smokescreen -- carefully hug the creature and say "we're gonna get going but you have a nice night, okay?"

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