Possessed Of An Overactive Imagination

, , , , , , | | Related | July 7, 2019

When I was eight, I developed epilepsy. It was on both sides of the family, and my mum had it as a child. So, as the oldest, I am the one unlucky enough to have it, as well. 

I didn’t find out by dropping and having a seizure or staring off into space like usual. My aunt was cutting my hair when it happened. I don’t remember it very well, but she does. Clearly. She had no idea I was epileptic, so her first reaction was to scream and yell about possession. 

I had apparently stood up without warning, walked in a straight line, and started talking in what she thought was Latin. For months, she tried to say it was demonic possession, regardless of the countless doctors and MRIs and CAT scans showing I had epilepsy. She was always overreacting about everything, so no one believed her. 

She is still claiming my case of chicken pox at nine was the fifth disease.

And that she isn’t insane.

Auntie Is Twenty Minutes Behind Everyone Else

, , , , , | | Related | May 24, 2019

(My husband has recently medically retired from the military after an 18-year career as a military logistician. He severely injured his back during his last combat tour and, due to that and other injuries and his PTSD, he is rated as 100% disabled by the VA. He has decided that he wants to work after retiring but he has to clear the job he takes with the VA due to his rating. He ends up finding a very good job as an operations manager for a janitorial company in a city 20 minutes from the small town that we have just moved to. I am talking to my elderly aunt on the phone and telling her about his new job. She is literally obsessed with a major national retail chain, and she always tacks on an extra S to the end of it.)

Me: “[Aunt], [Husband] just got a really good job as an operations manager with the company that provides cleaning services to all of the hospitals in [Nearby City].”

Aunt: “Don’t they have a [Chain]s in the town that you live in? My neighbor retired from the military and he got a job unloading trucks at the [Chain]s in [Town she lives in]. It’s a fine job! Why didn’t [Husband] get a job at the [Chain]s near you?”

Me: “Yes, they have a [Chain] Super Center, but unloading trucks only pays $11 an hour. Anyway, [Husband] can’t lift anything heavier than 20 pounds due to his back injury. Plus, this new job pays around $25 an hour.”

Aunt: “But [Chain]s has that great program where they hire veterans! [Husband] should have gotten a job there!”

Me: “Yes, but those jobs don’t pay very much. [Husband] spent the last eight years of his military career managing groups of more than 40 troops. Being a regular retail employee is actually a real insult after having a career like that. He manages 30 people at his new job. Plus, the VA told him that he cannot get a job where he has to do any heavy lifting.”

Aunt: “But [Chain]s is such a fine company! I go there all the time! Don’t you want him to have a job where you shop?”

Me: “[Aunt], we don’t even shop at [Chain] very much. We like [Other Companies]. Anyway, why would [Husband] take a job that he isn’t medically cleared to do for a few dollars above minimum wage after a career as a highly-decorated military sergeant?”

Aunt: “But I love [Chain]s! My neighbor really enjoys his job. I think that it’s stupid to drive an extra 20 minutes just to be called a manager at a job!”

Me: “Didn’t you hear that his job pays $14 an hour more than he would make at [Chain]? Plus, the company specifically wanted someone with prior management experience in the military for his position.”

Aunt: “Well, yes, but I still think that it is stupid to drive an extra twenty minutes for a job!”

(I dropped it after that. My husband has been at his job for five months now and both upper-level management and his employees absolutely love him. I don’t know why she thought that working at that chain for a few dollars above minimum wage was somehow better than making $25 an hour at his job!)

The Engine Of Racism

, , , , , , | | Related | May 9, 2019

(My uncle’s car of twenty years was going through a major rough patch; it required a week-long trip to a mechanic almost monthly. This raised a few alarm bells since a car that left a mechanic shouldn’t need another a month later. Before he brought it back again, I convinced him to let my mechanic — who happens to be one of my oldest friends, us having been best friends since we were four — take a look. Naturally, this involves getting his hands and a few tools inside. After reminding him the two of us know almost nothing about cars, he gives us his professional opinion.)

Friend: “To fix your car, I’d have to replace part or all of the engine. That’s already pretty pricey, but to get at certain parts of the engine, I’d have to pull apart the car’s frame. Since that complicates the job and makes more work, the cost of fixing her would be enough to buy two cars. And that’s before we add on fees for the rental car you’ll need in the months she’ll be on the lift. If you don’t fix it, it’s worth more as parts than as a car. I say you should trade her in for a new car and not spend one more penny on her.”

Uncle: “Do you mind if I talk to my mechanic first? Just to hear him out?”

Friend: “You can, but could I come along? Just to ask a few questions you guys might not know to ask?”

(After a little cajoling from me, my uncle agrees, and the three of us drive up the highway to his dealership, each in our own car due to schedules conflicting. I’m going to take this opportunity to repeat that I know almost nothing about cars, so the technical parts of the conversation sound like a trombone to me. The comprehensible parts are as follows:)

Mechanic: “Nothing too bad. It’ll be ready tomorrow afternoon. Job’s more annoying than it is hard.”

Friend: “What about his [car part]?”

Mechanic: “Used, but not worn out.”

Friend: “And how exactly did you check that?”

Mechanic: “Same way as any other. [Outlines a complicated-sounding procedure].”

Friend: “And what were the results?”

Uncle: “He said he checked it and it’s fine!”

Me: “I think [Friend] wa–“

Uncle: “It’s fine!

(This basic conversation loop a few more times, each time detailing a different part of the car. Eventually, my friend throws up his hands and walks out. Once he is gone, the mechanic continues talking with my uncle, and I completely tune them out. When I rejoin, my uncle has decided to trust his mechanic and leaves his car for another day of repairs, which turns into a week of repairs. But the story doesn’t quite end there. Since he doesn’t yet know he’ll need a rental car, I have to drive him home, which means taking the highway. And he opens his mouth.)

Uncle: “I shouldn’t have listened to you!”

Me: “What was wrong with involving [Friend]?”

Uncle: “All he did was get in the way! He wouldn’t listen one bit to my mechanic!”

Me: “He wanted to analyze the exact results himself, not just hear, ‘It’s fine.'”

Uncle: “Well, [Mechanic] told me that [Friend] poking around might have damaged something, so I might not have a car tomorrow.”

Me: “[Friend] is a more competent mechanic than that. Any problems weren’t his doing. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he saved you some money by tightening up a few things.”

Uncle: *scoffs* “And you’re trusting the [racial slur]!”

(For the record, yes, my friend is black, and we are white. I pull over the car and hit the brakes.)

Me: “Trusting the what?”

Uncle: “The… the…”

Me: “Get out!”

(He tried to backpedal some more, but I wasn’t having it. I grabbed my keys, got out myself, and physically pulled him out of my car. I got back in and drove off, leaving him to walk back along the highway. He made his way back unmolested, but not one bit wiser.)

What A Peanut Butter Nutter

, , , , , , | | Related | May 1, 2019

(I am detailing a weird dream I had on my Facebook page.)

Aunt: “Did you eat peanut butter before bed?”

Me: “No, lol.”

Aunt: “Oh, Nana always said that peanut butter caused nightmares.”

Dad: “She also said that the shiny side of tin foil was poison.”

The Winterfell Soldier

, , , , , | Related | April 26, 2019

(I am on the phone with my aunt. I told her I was excited for a certain superhero movie coming out later this month, but I didn’t elaborate because I wanted to avoid the movies-like-that-will-give-you-nightmares-and-make-you-lose-contact-with-reality speech. I’m 26 and have lived on my own for years now, but my family has a habit of forgetting that. I’m a huge geek and love science fiction and fantasy, but my aunt detests it.)

Aunt: “What was that movie you wanted to see called again? Game of… something?”

Me: “Oh, Endgame!”

Aunt: “You sure? I saw something on TV about some movie, all science fiction and lots of fighting, and I thought it might be that movie you were excited about. But it was called Game of something, I’m sure.”

Me: *thinking I know what she’s referring to* “You mean Game of Thrones?”

Aunt: “Yes! That was it! That’s not what you were telling me about? It looked like what you described.”

(To be fair, I only told her it was a science fiction movie about superheroes and that she wouldn’t like it because there was lots of fighting in it. But I know trying to explain the difference between fantasy and science fiction to my aunt is a waste of breath, because she doesn’t care.)

Me: “Oh, no, that’s not it. It’s a popular television series, and the new season is coming out. I don’t watch that, though.”

Aunt: “Oh, good, because it looked ghastly. With those big horrible birds.”

(I’m thinking, “Birds? What is she… Oh!”)

Me: “Ehm, I think those were dragons.”

Aunt: “Oh, whatever, it looked dreadful. I’m sure it would give me nightmares.”

(I decided it was time to change the subject.)

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