Sunday, August 18, 2013


My personality consists of many layers. Peel a few away and you'll discover a virginal, four foot tall, ten year old. This is the person that attends any of my various family events, rendezvous, swarrays and the occasional hootenanny instead of me; a little shy boy that bares my likeness. That’s how big I feel when family are present: not very! Even when I’m at a cousin’s party and I’m having a conversation with one of his friends whom is my age also, I still can’t help but listen to that irresistible thought in the recess of my brain that reminds me that my invitation was extended by blood, not friendship. Maybe it’s got something to do with that homeless man that touched my shoulder in the park when I was five, or perhaps the fact that all of my family members have probably seen my penis. I don’t know.

You’re arriving out the front of a party. As you draw closer, you hear the twitter of guests over the shallow roar of music. A couple stumble out the front, giggling, having a good time. The sounds, the sights - they’re getting you pumped. You’ve got your party-face on. You get in and the host gives you a drawn-out ‘heyyyyy!’ You pour yourself a drink. You're getting comfortable with the place; feeling good. You scan for anybody you might know. Ooh! She’s attractive, and I like that guy’s shirt, and then BOOM! There’s you're aunty looking at you while you look at girls and sip a drink so breathtakingly strong that it could get you through heart surgery. And then you turn and your mum is next to you and she’s saying things like 'our tummies aren't used to greasy food' and 'you don’t drink often do you, Ryan?' And under your breath you’re like ‘Mum, just shutthefuckuprightnow!’, but she doesn’t listen. Then in your mind, you’re just praying, praying for some sort of plane crash to happen nearby so that everybody can focus their attention on that and this excruciating moment can end!

And you know alllll too well that it’s not only about the naive verbal-dysentery that spills forth each time she opens her mouth that’s the most aggravating portion of the day, but she’s also doing that thing that mother’s do with their body language toward the younger spectrum of the family. It’s that overly positive, very familiar, ‘I’m not touching you, but I might aswell be’ thing they do - you know, it’s love and affection...but for a child.

And that’s the typical ordeal I like to call ‘spending time with family’.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate my family or that I don’t want to spend as much time as I can with them or even that I don’t want people to know that I love them, I just want my family to be more like the Corleones from The Godfather. When Brando takes both his hands, grasps the back of Pacino’s head and kisses him on the cheek, now that’s the sort of family affection that a dude can respect and a bird can fall head over heels for. Sure, as Corleones, there’s a big chance that some of us will get gunned down in the street, but I guess that’s the compromise. What I like is that Brando’s an adult, and he treats Pacino as Pacino would him - as an adult, but to my family, I’m just the guy who cried all the time and wet the bed, only difference to them now is that I’m bigger. And it’s not like they have any control over it, my relatives. Whenever my mum comes up to me, especially in social situations, she manages to express that very maternal attitude of hers outwardly through body language and a lot of accidental pet-names - not exactly the stuff that typically precedes alluring conversation and garments dropping to the floor.

It’s almost like my family have the supernatural ability to impose the Benjamin Button curse on other family members at will.

Putting that aside, when two world’s collide, it just cramps my style. I’m on one end of the room drinking Johnnie Walker and lemonade, my mum’s on the other drinking West Coast Coolers; it’s weird. Even though I can be as candid as they come with my family, even if it's a touchy subject, I still feel that there’s a level of respect and decorum that social situations and family situations do not share. So when we get into these quasi-family socials, it's just torture.

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