Meeting The Family Went By In A Haze

, , , , , , | Related | January 12, 2019

(My relationship with my current girlfriend has progressed to the point that I feel comfortable introducing her to my family over dinner. In the days leading up to the meeting, I run around cleaning most of the house — nothing too major, just touch-ups mostly. However, I elect to leave the back hall untouched, despite it being separated from the kitchen by only a door, for two reasons. First, it’s the winter. There are only two reasons anyone, besides my father, would go into the back hall: to get something out of the refrigerator or to go outside. So long as I get all of her drinks and we make sure there are no emergencies necessitating an evacuation, she’ll have no reason to go into the back hall. Second, my father would muck it up five minutes later. He’s a carpenter, and since the hall is mostly unused, it’s become his storage area for materials. It’s never organized, always changing, always a wreck, but has never been a safety hazard, so I don’t bother cleaning it. The day of the meeting, I finish work and then bring her home. My mother intended to do the cooking, but upon my return is immediately more interested in interrogating my girlfriend, so I take over the cooking. Before my mother can get to discussing anything more than my girlfriend’s job, or even make a snide remark, I try to remove her from the situation.)

Me: “Mom, how about you get us some drinks from the fridge? Between our car ride and you working all day, I’m sure we’re all thirsty.”

Mother: “Oh, sure. What would you like?”

(She stands up and crosses to the back hall. I intend to use this moment to start a conversation and try to refocus her energy. However, just as she opens the door:)

Mother: “Wow! Who cleaned the back hall?”

(My mortification chases away any conversation ideas I had. My mother’s tone is getting less friendly, and I’m still without any ideas. As if in answer to my prayers, the front door opens and my brother walks in.)

Me: “[Brother]! How was work?”

Brother: “Just fine.” *notices my girlfriend* “Who’s this?”

Me: “[Girlfriend]. The one I mentioned would be joining us for dinner tonight.”

Brother: “Oh, yeah! Chinese food, every Thursday! We love those leftovers [My Name] brings home!”

(During this rant about how my family swipes all of our leftover date food, he crosses the kitchen, evidently hoping to get a drink.)

Brother: “We were all excited, and you go and ask for pizza fro— Who cleaned the back hall?”

(So, now, my brother’s not my buffer. Lacking any other ideas, I throw the dice.)

Me: “So… where are [Sister] and [Father]?”

Mother: “Your father’s downstairs working on something, and your sister’s still asleep.”

Brother: *glances the clock and notices it’s nearly five* “That’s got to be some hangover!”

Me: *fighting every urge to beat up my brother* “How about you two go get them and let them meet [Girlfriend]?”

(Thankfully, that works. They disperse almost immediately. I’m too ashamed to look anywhere but the stove, or to say anything, so there’s dead silence until my brother and sister enter the kitchen.)

Sister: “If it’s not ready yet, then why the f*** am I up?” *notices my girlfriend* “And who the f*** are you?”

Brother: “It’s [Mangling of Girlfriend’s Name], [My Name]’s girl. She’s staying for dinner.”

Sister: “Oh.”

(That’s right. No greeting. No apology. Nothing. She just walks across the kitchen like nothing happened.)

Sister: “Who cleaned the back hall?”

(Once she comes back with a beer in each hand, my parents come up the stairs, oblivious to the double-homicide that should have happened.)

Me: “It’s almost ready, Dad. How about you say hello to [Girlfriend] while we wait?”

Father: “Sure, just let me get a drink. Oh, hey! Did you all see how great I cleaned the back hall?”

(And so starts the first meal with my family. The only remaining thing I can post at all is what happens when my father sees how uncomfortable my mother’s questions are making me.)

Father: “So, since you’re all old enough to drink now, I figure you’re old enough for the dirty jokes!”

(No matter how dirty the jokes got, I couldn’t even blush hard enough to pass out. And after taking her home and yelling at my family for an hour, I was able to confirm this was not some form of hazing. Two miracles have since occurred. The first, my family has not been murdered. The second, that girl somehow agreed to marry me.)

Taking Hypocrisy Out For A Ride

, , , , | Related | January 11, 2019

(My dad and I are driving to the store to pick up stuff for dinner when my dad notices a motorcycle in a disabled parking bay, which means he can’t use the tag in the car to park there.)

Dad: “Now, that’s just ridiculous. You can’t get handicap tags for a motorcycle. They don’t even have a license plate!”

Me: *turns and spots the license plate, admittedly not very easy to see* “Oh, there it is. And it is a handicap one, so they’re okay to be there.”

Dad: “Yeah, well, disabled people shouldn’t be riding around on two wheels.”

Me: “Don’t you have a motorcycle?”

Dad: “Yeah, but this tag belongs to your mom, not me. She has it because of [medical reason]. Besides, I’m probably more disabled than her, because my ankles swell up when I walk, so I should have one, too.”

(The hypocrisy was lost on him. I’d try to push it more, but even if he came to the realization that he was wrong, all he’d do is yell at me and then pretend it never happened.)

There’re High Standards, And Then There’s This…

, , , | Related | January 11, 2019

(My sophomore year of high school, I end up with two study hall periods. One of these periods takes place after lunch, in the guidance office. There are computers for students doing online courses; however, since I have none, I usually either get a pass to the library or I sit at a table and do work from other classes or read my book. This day, as the lunch bell rings, I enter and sit at my usual seat in the small office. After a few minutes, another student — a year above me — and who I assume is his sour-faced mother come storming in and sit at my table. The student looks nervous, so I give him a half smile, nod, and go back to my book.)

Mother: *sharply* “Nuh-uh. No games, [Student]. This is not the time to flirt.”

(I keep my head down, as does he. But since they’re in such close proximity I can’t help but overhear. A counselor and a history teacher come by and sit down on the other end of the table.)

Counselor: “Hello, Mrs. [Last Name], [Student]! So, what’s going on?”

Mother: *pulling out a stack of papers* “I was on [Student]’s [online grade book portal] and this is completely unacceptable. Look at this! *jabs at something on the top piece of paper* “An 84? In history? Is this the latest updated grade?”

(She glares at the history teacher while her son seems to shrink in his chair. It’s worth noting that our school uses a basic grading scale: 100-90 is an A, 89-80 is a B, 79-76 is a C, 75-70 is a D, and anything below is a failing grade.)

Teacher: “Yes, it’s the most recent grade. However, what is probably bringing it down is our [project] that has three sections, and we are now working on the second section. The third, uncompleted, section currently shows up as a zero because we haven’t gotten that far yet. Since projects generally make up about 15% of the overall grade, yes, it has brought everyone’s grade down. However, once we go over the materials to complete each section, everything should go back to normal by the end of the nine-week grading term. [Student] is one of my best students, and he’s doing very well. I don’t really think there is any reason to be concerned.”

Mother: *almost screeching* “An 84 is unacceptable! We are not trying to teach our son that failure is okay! There has to be something we can do! Is there any extra credit work or tutoring?!”

Teacher: “Well, I don’t usually offer extra credit until the end of the semester, but I am here Tuesdays and Thursdays for after school tutoring. [Student] is welcome to come by if he’d like. However, he seems to grasp all of the material, and I’m not really sure of any places that he needs additional help.”

Mother: “He will be there Tuesdays and Thursdays. What about in the morning? If he gets to school early, can he do more tutoring then?”

Teacher: “If I’m here, yes, I don’t mind.”

Counselor: “We open the doors for students as early as 7:15. The bell rings for first period at 8:15. The school day ends at 3:30, and students are allowed to stay for tutoring, but must be under the supervision of an adult. Most of our teachers leave about 4:30.”

Mother: *firmly, icily* “He will be there. How does this affect his football and academic scholarship prospects?”

Counselor: “Well, he has an A in everything else, and this one B- which admittedly is temporary. It shouldn’t be a problem. Usually, there are no red flags until a student starts getting Ds. He is a very good student, and many teachers speak highly of him. It’s just a slight bump, but I don’t think there will be any damage to his record.” *winks at student and smiles*

Mother: *stiffly* “Thank you.”

(The teacher and mother shake hands, and once the counselor and teacher have walked away, the mother starts hissing at her son, who has been silent the entire time.)

Mother: “An 84. An 84! I did not work my a** off for you to be running around with your little friends, flunking school, and embarrassing me! I’m taking your car, your phone, and your TV privileges. And don’t expect to be going out anywhere until your grades meet par! This is absolutely ridiculous that I have to take off of work to come and get you in line. You are risking your college prospects and your future! No decent job is going to want to hire a good-for-nothing high school dropout! I have half a mind to have your coach start giving you laps to run every day! Then maybe we’ll see…”

(She continued to berate him as they leave the office. Her venom had even startled me. I’m not really sure what happened after that, but the student was named valedictorian when he graduated.)

Spinning A Tale About Dad

, , , , , | Related | January 11, 2019

(I’m watching an old TV show called “Talespin” from the way-early 90s. The main character, Baloo, has just been hurt — in a cartoon way — and blasted off-screen.)

Dad: *from one floor up and over a room* “Oh, God!”

(He was watching the Cotton Bowl game, but it was just perfect timing.)

Delinquency Takes A Lot Of Training

, , , | Related | January 10, 2019

(I find a job offer as a librarian in a French youth protection and juvenile justice academy. I’m talking to my mother about the offer.)

Me: “Besides, juvenile delinquency is an interesting subject.”

Mother: *a little anxious* “Ah, the theme is juvenile delinquency?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mother: “But it’s a school for those who want to help young people get out of delinquency?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mother: *relieved* “Phew!”

Me: “Wait, did you really think this was a school to become delinquents?”

Mother: “Yes…”

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