A family reunion. Phrases like this have always sort of freaked me out to be brutally honest. I mean a ‘re’ union suggests that there was some sort of a union there in the first place. The only thing that really unifies this sad and sorry collection of folk is their burning passive hatred of each other and most other things around them. It’s pretty morbid however that most of the time the only way you get to be ‘unified’ with your family is when one of them decides “it’s about time for a family reunion!” and then promptly dies.
Another wee phrase that peeves the fuck out of me is that everlasting pinnacle of presumptuously farcical wordplay “It’s what he/she/them/it would have wanted” surely there’s no bigger way to spit in the face of the recently deceased than to simplify their personality down to a point where you can pretty much presume exactly what their decision in the wake of their own death would be. Now I’m just making a cheeky wee speculation and saying that that is 18 fucking carat bullshit! I think we’ll all agree that the situation at hand would be a particularly complex one for the recently departed to deal with considering they are recently departed! So what a person really means when they say this is not “It’s what he/she/them/it would have wanted” it is in fact “It’s what I have chosen for him/her/them/it as they are currently busy decomposing”.
Another staple at my family reunions is the dance with the red faced, drunken uncle with a nose resembling a pig’s snout after a hammer to the face and a more than slightly suspect disposition towards your youngest female cousin. Who just smiles and continues to be the personality-less, daft, beige little china doll that she has been, is, and will continue to be up until it earns her an executive position, a rich but abusive playboy husband and an inevitable major mental breakdown. Anyway, the dance itself isn’t always that bad if you discount the clammy hands, the beer breath and other slightly concerning things like the ever so suspect “pitched tent” if you get my meaning. It’s more the reaction you get from everyone else in the bloody room that annoys me. The laughs from the younger ones as they realise in his current escapist stupor, uncle Nigel’s selected you as his victim, the sarcastic jeers from the older ones who have decided that even though they can sympathise with your situation it’s much more funny to grin and be as smarmy as possible to pass the time of day and the unavoidable, blissfully ignorant, almost synchronised chorus of “Aww. Isn’t it good to get the family together” from the adult portion of this sorry little gathering and I hope to high heaven you realise I’m using ‘adult’ in the loosest possible sense of the word.
I’ve never been part of the bleak get-togethers my family. Well, I go along to them but honestly I’m never really a ‘part’ of them. This has lead to my parents lecturing me beforehand on what the etiquette of a family reunion is. “Be polite” they suggest. “Look happy” they demand. “Talk to your aunt, she might have found a lovely young man for you!” As if I am completely unable of social interaction with the opposite sex on my own terms. They do this in the vain hope that this pre-reunion chat is going to change the habits of a lifetime; they know deep down however that I’m not going to comply with their demands so they have to quickly formulate an excuse as to why I’m not the most social of animals. “She’s getting a hard time at school” is a favourite or even “She was up late at a friend’s last night”. I don’t really know why they are so interested in posturing and their own vanity at a family reunion, I was under the impression that family loved and cared for each other no matter what they were like, but apparently it is actually conditional on whether you fit their dream of the ‘perfect’ child.
Truth be told, I’d rather be somewhere else today. But unfortunately I don’t have a huge degree of choice today. I’d rather be at my mate’s getting high with my friend Lucy, the self-entitled “Doctor Green”. I could be out watching whatever crap is on at the movies but not really watching it due to the distraction of a bag of hormones, testosterone and sexual tension in a trench coat and Levi 501 jeans that I commonly refer to as my boyfriend. I might even have mustered the cajones to brave the world of education and make pilgrimage to the governments set ‘curriculum for excellence’ which is again really a ‘curriculum for whatever the government wishes to arbitrarily define as excellence’. But no, today I’m here and quite bummed out about it if I’m honest. Uncle Nigel necks his current mixture of Glenmorangie and coke and summons his Dutch courage to make a predatory move on my young cousin Holly again, the nodding of heads in agreement at the heap of shit phrase “It’s what she would have wanted”, the family continues to be ‘unified’ in their complete and total two faced-ness towards their fellow tribesmen and women, the parents made the pre-reunion speech to my brother this time and I’m stuck here having to lie through the whole thing in a bloody box. Being dead is a bitch when the after-party is so crap.