Mo is from Mars, I am from Venus. Or something.

Our time here at Mom’s is coming to an end. Melissa and I are going to have a day-long argument about whether we leave before dawn (m’s choice) or later in the morning (my choice) so we can have one more relaxing morning.

Here is my family: Quiet. Calm. Sip tea. Gaze at twinkling lights. All watch a movie together. Take long, slow walks with dogs. Lounge about all day in your pajamas. Sipping tea.

Here is Mo’s family: Exactly the opposite.

And lo, there was much gaiety, and laughter from all corners of the house, and there were many TV’s you could hear, and we heard a blaring football game in the livingroom and a minister on the kitchen TV and morning radio talk show host also, and there were 20 people having 10 conversations what which they were all involved in somehow, and wine was guzzled by all the Ammican spouses, and it was good. Except that it gave me a headache. And I was hiding. Because my brain was about to explode.

Me and Melissa, we’re just cut from different cloth. I am of monochromatic hand-spun wool, and she is some sort of extremely brilliant, crazy-colored quilt. She can do the chaos thing. As my grandfather used to say, I have a one-track mind with eight tracks playing at once (when I’m at my in-laws’).

Arab-American in-law vocab:

“Ammican”: what my in-laws call me and my fellow caucasian marry-ins.

There’ll be a test on it. Tomorrow, when I get to Louisville. Whatever time that turns out to be.

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One response to “Mo is from Mars, I am from Venus. Or something.

  1. Ah, yes. The different ways people create personal distance — some by silence, some by constant noise. When my parents were still alive and I would visit them at Christmas (coming from lesbian collective households where there was no TV and the only radio was NPR), I’d sleep in the spare bedroom next to theirs and hear, through the crappy wall, my father’s bedside TV (what he had to have on to get to sleep) and Mama’s talk radio (ditto). Blaring at matching volumes — white trash white noise machines, I guess. One night I got up, sneaked in, and tried turning them off. They both woke up immediately in mid snore and yelled at me for disturbing their peace.

    But then, when I was partnered with Cam and we’d go see her upper middle class Quaker family for the holidays, nobody would converse. Not just no TV or radio, but no conversation — only occasional, functional chit-chat. When I would try to tell a story or engage someone in any kind of dialogue, one of them would say “Hey, it’s time to walk the dogs” and literally 30 seconds later the whole pack of them would be out the door — me left sitting alone in the living room, wondering what sort of secret signal I’d just missed. Since they were also vegetarian and pure in diet, I began using those exoduses to drive my Honda to the nearest joint where I could get a cheeseburger and Coke. Whatever gets you through being around family, eh?

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