I am grouchy today, really grouchy and can’t shake it. I had a long weekend that started with a 6 hour drive down to see my family (shoulda been a 3 hour drive). The way down was slow and miserably hot (and I really don’t complain about heat unless it is just too much). It became miserably hot instead of just hot when the car started to overheat, like it does, several different times while idling in traffic jams for which i remedy by turning the heater on full blast, which then causes the already hot tarmac of a highway parking lot heating the inside of my car ten fold to become even hotter, which causes my jet black dog to respond by panting very heavily, which in turn causes me to pull off at the next exit to walk and water her, which then puts me even further behind in the traffic jam.
All of this to get to a 3 day family gathering that is so complicatedly annoying and dysfunctional that i couldn’t and won’t know where to start until after a few more years of therapy.

So, I’ll jump to the middle, where the second round of drinks (it now being 2 in the afternoon on Friday and all) inspired my step-grandmother to start up the easy and light hearted question, “So, now that we know Obama is a Muslim who in the hell do we vote for?”

As one could probably guess this was met by several different angles of passionate political fury (which eventually led to my being cornered by my other grandma admitting her homophobia all over the place, but we’ll get there in a second.)

So, everyone grabbed a handful of chips or a deviled egg and split from that part of the house, pretty immediately, except for my grandma (my mom’s mom), my step-grandma (my step-dads mom), and my godmother, whom I adore to no end and politically align with). Well, she couldn’t bite her tongue and began with, “One, he is not Muslim and two, even if, where in lies the reason not to vote for him? His entire purpose is to rejuvenate this country, repair all of this last administrations disaster.”

Step grandma: “He is too a Muslim, I got an email about it!”

Grandma: “Well, if by repair you mean raise our taxes through the roof then…well, just think about your taxes!”

Godmother: “Raise our taxes? Maybe. But I would gladly pay more in taxes for his ideas to come to life. I would gladly give up more money so that people that want an education can have one. I would rather pay to educate our society instead of paying for more jail cells. Either way, its going to cost more to begin to repair what Bush has done!”

My stepgrandma stood up, went outside and told her husband that they were leaving. My grandma grabbed a carrot stick, dipped it in the ranch dressing like she was at high tea and proceeded to take a very elegant bite.

My godmother left the room saying, “Well, we’ll never agree on this so, we should just move on.” She stood up and went outside until suddenly it was just my grandma and me.

(here’s the surprise-homophobic cornering part of the story)
Grandma: “So, where is Violet, anyway?”
me: Kansas.
G: Why?
me: Vacation to see a friend.
G: Now, tell me again, why is she a dual citizen?
me: She was born in England. Which will be really handy if we ever want to live there someday, you know.
(My grandma was still holding that carrot stick, and now like a cigarette, flailing it around in between her fingers with her questions. I could tell she was still pissy but hey, Violet is one of my favorite topics, I’m her favorite grand-daughter, so, I figured I could roll with this conversation).
G:And why does that help you?
me: Cause we could get married in most of those countries, no work visa stuff, you know?
G: Don’t do that.
me: Don’t do what?
G: Get married.
me: Why?
G: Because.
me: Because why?
G: jesse, I’m sorry, but same sex marriage anywhere is wrong.
my mouth: Well, that’s one of the most prejudice things a family member has ever said… to my face, that is.
G: (dipping her carrot again) Well, I’m sorry, but honestly…
and in walked my mom, “What are you two up to?” she said in her bubbly-sunshine voice. And out walked jesse.
I grabbed Dog for a long walk and tried to sort enough out to be able to go back. I couldn’t figure out what to think or do about any of this. When I got back my step grandma and her husband had left. My godmother had moved on to some sweet story about her past, my grandma did her needle point and listened, my brother worked on his car, my step dad hid by the BBQ, my mom acted like everything is, was, and will always be just fine and I proceeded to drink… heavily, which worked, until the next morning, where, different topics and the same dysfunction started all over for two more days.

“Happy Independence Day”, I said to Dog as soon as I unlocked the front door to our house Sunday evening, “you hear me, don’t you girl.” She and I both plopped down in the back outside and stared at Fraidy swim around and around… and around for a while. It was warm and quiet. It was nice.

But then it was Monday and I still can’t shake the weekend. I need a weekend for my weekend, you know?