Impolite? That's not even the tip of the iceberg.
| I realized how blue-collar my extended family was when they all spent the day at my house. My immediate family is very educated. We know that “ain’t” isn’t a word, and we know that it’s wrong to scratch yourself in public. We know that if you have a stomach large enough to hang over your pants, you better get a shirt big enough to cover the whole thing. Nobody wants to see belly flab flopping out there in the wind.
Of course, my extended family knows none of that.
“Savannah, get over here!” exclaimed my Uncle Larry last weekend. He has the biggest fat roll I’ve ever seen, and I could see it hanging over the top of his pants. Muffin top isn’t a strong enough term. It was a wonder his pants didn’t buckle under the weight.
“Coming,” I sighed. I knew he wouldn’t hug me.
“What is that you’re wearin’? Put those puppies away! Nobody needs to see them,” yelled Larry. I was wearing a t-shirt, mind you. “Ain’t you got anything good to wear? Who is that clown face? What are you, a perv?
I frowned. I was wearing a Shakespeare shirt. On the front there was a picture of Shakespeare wearing a clown nose -- comedy. On the back there was a picture of a knife -- tragedy. I thought it was a clever shirt, and I loved wearing it. It was no wonder my uncle didn’t get it. Anything clever was completely lost on my uncle.
“It’s Shakespeare,” I said, flashing my sleeve. “See, Utah Shakespeare Festival.” I bought it as soon as I saw it. There was no way I could pass up a shirt like that.
He shook his head. “Whatever you say.”
My mom showed him to his chair, and set a piece of apple pie in front of him. If there was one thing that would shut Uncle Larry up, it was a piece of pie. I didn’t want to watch him eat it though. If there was one thing that would shut up appetite up, it was watching Uncle Larry eat.
The door bell rang again just as Uncle Larry let out a massive burp. I cringed and got the door.
“Hey!” exclaimed my Aunt Pat when I opened the door. She is Uncle Larry’s wife. “Smells like Larry in here! I parked the car, Larry. It’s round back, so you better rest now.” I’m not a very fashion forward person, but I knew that the black spandex shorts and pink flower shirt she was wearing did not look good.
I looked to my mom, silently pleading for help. The reason they were over was because I needed money to go to a thespian conference, and as impolite as they were, they had quite a bit of money. I don’t know how they got it, but they certainly had it.
“Here, Aunt Pat, sit here.” I took her to the table and put a piece of pie in front of her, too. She was built like Uncle Larry was.
“What’d you invite us over here for?” asked Aunt Pat, a chunk of pie dangling unattractively off her lower lip.
I sat across from them. “I am going to a thespian conference in November, and I need a little help with the tuition.
“Lesbian conference!?” gasped my uncle. It took a while for him to sit up and actually look stern. He rested his elbows on his stomach, and pointed at me. “I ain’t fundin’ no girl party, missy.”
“We don’t do that here,” said my aunt, a fresh piece of pie stuck to her cheek. Western Colorado certainly was not the most accepting place in the world.
“No, no, no!” I insisted. “Thespian. Like acting, you know.” I ran my hand through my hair, and looked once again at my mother. She told me that if I was going to get into money matters with my aunt and uncle, I was the one who would have to deal with them. She leaned against the counter, sipping her tea. I would remember that the next time she asked me about the juicy gossip at school. She doesn’t help me with my hick relatives, and I don’t help her get her daily fix of gossip.
“Oh, like the fake crying and stuff, yeah?” asked Larry.
“Y-Yes, like the fake crying,” I stuttered. It was almost painful to reduce my art to that kind of term. Fake crying…
“Are you going to grow up to be like that Angelina Jolie? She’s too crazy, don’t be like her. You have babies for yourself, don’t do no adoptin’,” my aunt ranted.
“Okay, Aunt Pat. I will not adopt any babies. Back to what I was saying, though… the tuition is a lot, and with Madison’s trip, we don’t have quite enough.” My little sister Madison was going on a trip to Europe, and that was sucking the funds straight out of our bank account.
“Oh, fine, fine. I’ll remember this,” said Larry. He whipped out his checkbook.
“Thank you!” I exclaimed.
He wrote me a check, and then started to get up.
“My knees aren’t what they used to be,” he said. He then proceeded to moan, groan, and make every other bodily noise possible. I had to make sure he and Aunt Pat were all the way down the street before I laughed.
“And how are you related to them?” I asked. My mom plopped onto the couch.
“I have no idea. I got exhausted even watching you. I don’t know how you can deal with them.”
“It takes talent,” I sighed. If there was one thing I was good at, it was being polite no matter what was going on. Sure, I laughed about it later, but nobody had to know that.