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The Frustrating Adventure Of Aunt Brainless

, , , , | Related | November 29, 2020

My aunt often speaks without thinking, which leads her to say some very thoughtless and offensive comments. But if you can believe it, she doesn’t even mean to be offensive; she’s actually that brainless.

A few of us are at my grandmother’s house, watching a televised military parade. The commander is shown on TV, saluting the President.

Aunt: “Wow, his uniform is very bright. Look at how bright the colours are!”

Sister: *Politely* “Yes, very colourful.”

Aunt: “So colourful! But look at him!”

We’re all trying to ignore her, knowing that she’ll have an inane comment. 

Aunt: “His uniform is so bright! But he’s so dark!”

We try to change the subject quickly, but her loud voice cuts through our conversation.

Aunt: “Why is he so dark! Did they paint him?”

We all gawp at her. I know my jaw is hanging open, and a few cousins’ are, as well. My uncle jumps in hurriedly and tells her to be quiet.

Another day, my cousins and sisters are taking a group photo with our grandmother. My uncle offers to help us take the photo.

Aunt: “So nice to see all of you together in the photo with Grandma! She’ll be so happy!”

Uncle: “Girls, can you move closer together—”

He’s cut off by his wife.

Aunt: “It’s too bad, though, that [Other Cousin] isn’t here! She’s the one that Grandma really loves the most!”

All four of us turn and stare at her. My grandma doesn’t speak English and is confused as to what is going on. The photo group breaks apart, the mood spoiled. But my aunt remains utterly oblivious with an empty-headed smile.

Aunt: “Yeah, too bad [Other Cousin] isn’t here!”

A few minutes later, she is talking about a few of her friends who are coming to visit my grandma.

Aunt: “[Friend] and her daughter are coming. The daughter is in her twenties, a bit sub-normal, but very nice.”

Me: “Sub-normal?”

It’s only the sheer WTF!-ness of the adjective that stops me from saying more.

Aunt: “Yeah, she’s a bit sub-normal, but you can try talking to her; she can understand what you’re saying.”

I am so offended, I stalk off and won’t talk to her. I know if I say anything, it will get back to my mother, who always insists on us being polite. The daughter turns out to have very mild Down’s Syndrome, and only speaks a little more slowly than usual.

To avoid any further conversation with Aunt Brainless, I gather up all the dishes and wash them very slowly. Later, that aunt comes into the kitchen. She’s laughing loudly and carrying on as though at a huge joke.

Aunt: “You know, because you’re dressed plainly and were doing the washing up, they all thought you were the maid!” *Laughs loudly*

Me: “…”

Aunt: “Yeah, because you were washing the dishes. They thought you were the maid! Because you’re dressed so plainly!”

Me: *Flatly* “Well, I wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t come to tell me.”

Aunt: “Yeah, isn’t it funny?!” *Laughs louder*

She’s still oblivious, even now. Listening to her makes me want to bang my head against the wall.