On The Undesirable Qualities of Relatives

The Summer is upon us. School is, for the moment, over, and it can be safely filed away into that area of the mind where the most traumatic memories are stored only to cause chronic psychological problems later in life. However, I now find myself with little to do and very few people to complain to and/or about. And so I take to the internet in hopes of spreading my sarcasm further than I ever thought possible.

But what to write about? What subject could rouse my ire enough to incite me to finally commit my thoughts to some more permanent medium? What could provide with ample opportunities to insult, belittle and complain in equal measure? The answer is simple- my unbearable relations.

I was inspired by my recent forced attendance at my uncle’s wedding, an affair that managed to combine the twin horrors of seeing my relatives in all their frustrating, awkward glory and my fathers inebriated dancing- a sight that will sear your retinas and require a psychological professional to aid in your recovery. Incidentally, the wedding was as painful as I had imagined it would be. They weren’t even any girls there, so I couldn’t indulge in my usual practice of sitting nervously in a corner and imagining what life would be like if I knew how to approach people.

The truly sad thing is that, among my extended family, there cannot even be found a member with a kind of- enjoyably obnoxious nature. If we were blessed with a drunkard of a cousin who would appear at every gathering intoxicated out of his mind and leering at anything with ovaries, then at least all could unite in derision of said cousin. We might regale each other with tales of the time when he disappeared at Granddad’s birthday party and was found asleep in the dumpster outside with six empty bottles of whiskey. But no- instead I am stuck with the dull mediocrity of the relatives I actually have.

First to the gallows shall be my aunt, the cliché. A useless freeloader by nature, she is now aged somewhere around forty and still lives with my grandfather and her son, living off a minimum wage income because she was too busy doing anything other than paying attention in school (I shudder to think of the details). For this, she is now consigned to a minuscule house with barely enough room to throw an annoying child because he JUST WON’T LEAVE YOU ALONE DAMMIT! Speaking of annoying children…

Perhaps it is wrong to blame my cousin for the way his very presence makes my teeth grate and fills me with an intense desire to bash my head against the nearest wall. All children tend to have this effect on me. But, since I am unfortunate enough to be related to him, our mercifully rare interactions are conducted in the presence of my parents. Therefore, when he comes up to me and asks me to “play” with him I cannot simply turn up my nose and subtly imply that interacting with him in any way would case my ears to bleed and my skin to dry and peel off out of sheer irritation. Instead I must maintain the thin illusion of a smile long enough complete to whatever insufferable activity he has dreamt up, and restrain my natural impulse to go searching for a sturdy rope and a readily kick-able stool.

The truly sad thing is, my grandfather is among the more tolerable of my relations. He is not especially irritating or infuriatingly dull, like others I shall speak of later. However, unfortunately for all concerned, he tends to come in a group with the aforementioned aunt and cousin. And when they do visit it feels as if they are planning to put down roots and live with you permanently. I suppose in a way this makes sense, as they would still have more space than they currently do in their glorified hovel. The only time when we are ever unfortunate enough to receive them is Christmas, mostly because my parent refuse to cut all ties with them and pretend that they do not exist. They will happily stay from 9 in the morning to 10 at night, causing even my irrationally friendly mother to hide in her bedroom like a sulking teenager. (I of course was hiding in my bedroom like an intellectual teenager). We have decided in future that at Christmas we will go to their house, tiny as it may be, and leave as soon as all social obligations have been fulfilled, and not a second later.

I now come to the infuriatingly dull section of family tree, starting with my great aunt and uncle. They fall perfectly into the rich elderly demographic. They’re nice enough but their anecdotes always revolve around one of two topics: 1- their recent visits to national trust sites, a subject which is, by definition, tedious and played out and 2- how all their friends are dead, dying or moping about everyone being dead. After an hour or so of this, it begins to make you wish that the gas prices would go up and they’d all just get on with it so that you wouldn’t have to hear about it any more.

Finally, I shall talk about my grandmother on the other side of the family. She has now managed to combine the memory span of a drunk goldfish with the stubbornness of a mule, a mix which causes every conversation to descend into an infinite loop of repeated arguments punctuated by 5 minute long silences while she tries to remember what’s going on. Some may say that I am being uncharitable. To that I say, try sitting in a room with her for 10 minutes, and you will understand.

Thus concludes this recounting of the unsavoury aspects of my family tree. If you think I’m a mean bastard, you’re probably right, but at least I’m self-aware.