They Are Not In Concert With Your Dinner Plans

, , , , | Related | December 4, 2018

(My family is eating Thanksgiving Dinner. We’ve said grace and have been eating for about five minutes, little clusters of us all engaged in different conversations over the meal, when my aunt speaks up.)

Aunt: “All right, everyone!”

(We quiet down, expecting her to have some kind of announcement.)

Aunt: “Your first assigned topic is to discuss your first concert. [My Father], you go first!”

(We all stare at her blankly for a moment.)

Aunt: *more forcefully but with overzealous cheer* “[My Father], what was the first concert you attended?”

(My dad eyed her confusedly, before going back to discussing a recent golf game with my uncle while my aunt scanned the group with an expectant smile on her face. None of us ended up participating in our “assigned topic discussion.”)

Mother Expresses Shock As Family Bores Of Her 47th Apple Pie

, , , , , , , | Related | November 16, 2018

(For the holidays, my mother always makes an apple pie from her grandmother’s recipe. It’s a completely lovely pie, but she’s made the same one every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas since long before I was born. One Christmas, my brother and I decide to get on her case and tease her about it, asking why she never makes any other variation.)

Brother: “You know, you could mix it up a little, and make something different for once.”

Mom: *sassy* “Oh, like what?”

Me: “I don’t know; try a different fruit. How about blueberry?”

Mom: “No one likes blueberry pie!” *meaning she doesn’t like it, therefore no one does*

Me: “Um, [Brother] does…”

Mom: “Oh, please…” *turns to the rest of the family gathered in the living room, not paying attention to our conversation* “Who here likes blueberry pie?”

(Everyone reacted positively, raising hands or shouting, “Me!” or, “I do!’ My elderly, schizophrenic uncle turned around in his chair and started to shakily struggle to stand up, wondrously crying out, “There’s blueberry pie?!” My brother and I cracked up as my mother rushed to stop my uncle from standing. She had to explain to him that there was no pie but apple, and promised to make him one next time. That moment was the most alert my uncle had been in years, and sadly, my mother never followed through on her promise to make him his pie.)

Siblings Interrupt Vacation And Drive Eight Hours To Get To Funeral; Accused Of Not Doing Enough

, , , | Related | November 12, 2018

(Several years ago my grandfather died after a short illness. My grandmother arranged the funeral for the Wednesday in the middle of week-long school holiday. This was unfortunate because my brother had arranged his first whole family holiday with just him, his wife and young children for that week and I had a holiday with a group of international friends who were coming from five different countries and who I had agreed to drive. This was also annoying because our corner of the family was the only one affected by school holidays. But it happened. So my brother and I worked out how to get to the funeral. This involved me getting to where he was staying with his family at midnight before the funeral and then leaving the following morning about five am to drive six hours to get to the funeral. He had a six-hour drive back, and I had another two hours on top of that to get back to where my friends are staying. We go to leave the wake at about two pm, only for one of our aunts to corner us.)

Aunt: “Oh, going already?”

Me: “Yeah, we have a long drive back.”

Aunt: “It’s such an important day; surely you can stay a bit longer.”

Me: “We are very tired; we set off at five to get here and it is going to be ten pm when I get back tonight.”

Aunt: “It’s not that far from [Home Town].”

Me: “No, we have driven from [Brother’s Holiday Location] this morning, and I need to get back to [My Holiday Location] this evening.”

Aunt: “Oh, your mum mentioned you had holidays booked, but no one honestly thought you would go. We thought you would just cancel and rearrange.”

Brother: “It’s my family’s first holiday. The kids are too young to come to the funeral, so why shouldn’t we go?”

Me: “And my trip was planned with five friends from different countries, I had agreed to drive everybody, and it’s in a really remote location. There is no way to rearrange it. I either went or missed out, and that seemed a bit unnecessary for one day.”

Aunt: “Well, isn’t that what travel insurance is for? You should have cancelled, claimed on your insurance, and rearranged.”

Me: “Travel insurance wouldn’t have… Never mind. I don’t have the energy. Anyway, we have a long drive, so we’re going.”

Aunt: “It’s just not right that you are leaving so early. It’s an important day for the family.”

Me: “And we worked hard to be here. Now we are going.”

Aunt: “I still think you should stay.”

Me: “Bye, [Aunt].”

When It’s A Steal, Not A Bargain

, , , , | Related | October 26, 2018

(We are out at a family dinner, and we happen to be near my uncle’s office. He is reminiscing about a sandwich shop he used to visit for lunches.)

Uncle: “They used to have the best bread! Used to have a salad bar, too; I’d use the cucumber slices and make the plate bigger, get twice as much salad. You do that, and get a water glass and fill it with soda, and it’d be a good meal. They used to give out those punch cards, you know, to buy four sandwiches and get the fifth free? I’d take them off my coworkers’ trays and just copy the other punches to fill out the cards. It was such good food. I wonder why they went out of business?”

Cousin: “Because of theft, probably.”

Uncle: “They were robbed? When?”

They’re About As Addictive As Each Other

, , , , | Related | October 23, 2018

Mom: “My aunt [Aunt] was addicted to coke.”

Me: “What?!”

Mom: “Yeah, there was a machine at the gas station across the street from her house.”

Me: *relieved* “Oh.”

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