Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blood in the Water

Bad things don't happen in my family.  We're a group of the most spoiled, coddled people you'll ever meet.  Everyone (except me) has nice cars, is building or lives in beautiful enormous houses.  Everyone is well educated, has good jobs.  We all are happy, have beautiful families and amazing Christmas cards.  Nobody gets seriously ill and nobody dies unless they are old.

Most of the time this completely pisses me off, not because I wish ill on my family or begrudge anyone their happiness, but because it makes people (my mother in particular) so completely out of touch with reality and the rest of the world.  I'm also the only Democrat and I sometimes wonder if the two are related.

Why would anyone want government subsidized healthcare? My mother will wonder.  I'll respond with the fact that many people are kicked off their healthcare plans due or cannot afford insurance or a multitude of other reasons that leave them ill provided for in the healthcare arena.  I'll show that most other western countries have some sort of government-provided healthcare and that America is not the leader in healthcare we think we are.

Well, why don't people just get better jobs that give them insurance?  Yes, mother, it's just that easy.  People just aren't getting better jobs because they'd rather whine about things.  Why didn't they just think of that.

My most favorite comment that people make frequently is "Sandra, when are you going to buy a real house?".   This one throws me into fits of fury like nothing else.  I have a house, it's a townhouse.  The roof over my head is real, the floor under my feet is real and my monthly mortgage is most definitely real.  However, it's attached to another house, so I guess to my family, it's a fake house.  They even call it an apartment sometimes, I don't know if they're trying to piss me off or really don't know the difference.

My internal monologue replies with "look, you fuckers, I live on the East Coast.  My shitty tiny townhouse cost 300,000.  Also, there are two of us in my family, the boyfriend and I don't need more space.  WE DON'T HAVE THAT MANY CATS!!!".  

I usually end up responding either that we don't want a bigger house or that we can't afford one.  This is met with either looks of confusion or pity.  Both make me angrier for different reasons.

So it's always interesting when something "bad" does actually happen.  The last "bad" thing that happened was that my youngest brother didn't get into medical school right away and had to get a Master's degree in something else and THEN go to medical school.  The horrors.

This time the "bad" thing is divorce.  My cousin's to be exact.  This isn't to say that divorce is a great thing, but rather that it's not the end of the world.  It sucks, but like most things, time will pass, wounds will heal and life will move on.

We all started noticing things a few months ago.  Facebook makes things entirely too obvious.  When the boyfriend and I were in Dallas a few months ago my mother and sister-in-law immediately brought it up. "Have you noticed that she went on vacation with her friends?Have you noticed that she hasn't mentioned him? Have you noticed there are fewer pictures of them together?".  I had noticed the exact same things and had come to the exact same conclusion, but at that moment I suddenly felt guilty.  I responded "oh please, people go on vacations with their girlfriends all the time, it doesn't mean anything".  Who were we to sit there and gossip?

As someone who has had long-term relationships shatter (not marriages, but with my point of view on marriage, it might have well been the same thing), it sucks.  There's a whole slew of emotions that are involved, anger, hurt, embarrassment.  I wouldn't want my family to be eating affordable french food at a La Madeline's gossiping about me.  Now I know they probably did, and I just don't want to do that to other people.

Last week it finally came out that my cousin and his wife were getting divorced, ending their three-year marriage.  Granted, I've only heard things from my cousin's point of view and his wife is the one who filed, but it sounds like divorce was a pretty good option.  They both sounded miserable.

To my family, this is the worst thing ever.  My mother sent me a text message saying I had to call her IMMEDIATELY.  She couldn't wait to tell me the bad news, which is kinda messed up.  It's like they're all so upset for him, but all so gleeful to spread the bad news.  I really don't understand it.

I know a LOT of divorced people.  Most of them are totally great people, divorce is something that happened to them, it doesn't define who they are.  Maybe it's this that leads me to treat divorce as something that happens sometimes, not some earth-shattering scandal.

When my mom asked me what I thought, I replied that it sounded like divorce was a good solution to their problem.  What I should have said was that I'm sorry that my cousin's failed marriage was the blood in the water, that I was sorry we were all feating upon my cousin's potential unhappiness.

I say potential unhappiness because I haven't talked to my cousin, we're not close.  For him to call me about this would be incredibly strange.  For all I know, he's relieved to be getting divorced.  He's not even 30 years old, he has his entire life ahead of him.  He's getting a second chance, and a way out of what seems to be a very hostile and volatile situation.

I guess my answer wasn't what my mom wanted.  She asked me what the boyfriend thought.  Being the only other divorced person in the family, I guess he's the resident expert.  He totally doesn't care. He's met my cousin like two times.  My mom reiterated that the boyfriend's opinion matters to her.

Who are we to have opinions on someone else's divorce?

I'll be sad for my cousin, if that's what he wants.  I'll be happy for him if he wants that instead.  Until he lets me know if he wants either emotion, I'll continue to treat it like I have been, a fact.  This is happening.  It's neither good nor bad, it's just an event taking place.

We've all been explicitly instructed to not tell the Grandmother.  Based on how the text was worded, I know it was one of those messages my mother sent to everyone.

We are such assholes.  Can we please stop feating on what's perceived to be someone else's misfortune?

Also, someone's got to tell Grandmother.  She's old, but she'll start noticing a missing wife.

I'm not really sure the moral of this story, but I for one am going to try to stop gossiping.  It's really assholeish.

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