The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
thanksgiving - we have a lot of food left
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
In case anyone is curious, Thanksgiving could have gone worse, but short of stoke or heart-attack among the guests, I can't see how.

However, there is a lot of turkey left, so there's that.

Note: this is Thanksgiving and this is not my happiest entry. Please avoid if it's gonna wreck your mood. Just skip for post-Thanksgiving marveling, as it were.



My sister--I may have mentioned her straightforward, point-blank qualities?--has something not unlike the equivalent of a rubber band snapping after being stretched too far. The problem is, she's not a rubber band, no one can see the stretching, and the snapping tends to be DEFCON6 and escalate to FUCKBEARS and it's all downhill from there. Hilariously, I was eating and half-watching the Packers and texting Madelyn about something at the snap-moment, so I can tell you exactly how long it takes to have not one, two, but three screaming fights (while some of us gathered in the front room to intensely appreciate my nephew playing Left4Dead like it was our new religion) and clear the house of non-residents.

Twenty-two minutes, snap point to finish.

Much worse, no one saw it coming. And I will say this: there was no way Point A should have gotten to Point Snap like that, or that fast (or for that reason; what was that?), and I come from a loud (polite) family who fight (politely, they do it in other rooms) at most family gatherings where quite literally anything can be a major insult and worth (going outside to be polite while) fighting before returning and everyone pretending nothing happened. No one was drinking, which was a real shame; everyone knows what to do then. A third party takes the party of the hostile for a walk and trips them to regain their fucking sobriety and act like a person again. Party of the wronged is given schnapps and everyone goes on to play craps. This is Texas; growing up, everyone was armed for emergency deer hunting purposes (apparently could happen going to the grocery store?) and considering the state of the collective liver, no one's aim deteriorated appreciably. It works; zero (known) homicides and counting at all family gatherings.

While it's considerably less likely to end in a hunting accident, the same basic strategies apply now (though I can't say the potential for firearms is zero; this is Texas). Which is why BIL and the kids hid in the front room pretending nothing was going on and I wandered in random circles around the house waiting for the moment of intervention or perhaps more truthfully, sneaking out the front door to the gate to the backyard and cleverly hiding there with a cigarette and a real lack of alcohol. I had cider; I could see it through the back door. Framed by sister A and aunt A, then sister A and sister B, then a triangular war of sister-mother-sister, so no cider for me. It was fun.

Once the guests had gone home (politely, with plates of leftovers), my sister couldn't find her shoes, which led to post-Snap fallout (as bad as Snap, but entered randomized mode, so the insults, while painful and hideous, were also deeply confusing and sometimes didn't really apply to the person in question at all), so I helped find her shoes because my God shut up already, I'm still not taking this personally but I want my cider.

(I'm going to note here for fairness: my aunt didn't help. For various reasons, the temptation to slap her silly is always there, and once escalation was in progress, boy, did she help. My best comparison here is like watching two packs of hyenas fighting over a half-dead elk; surely a documentary should be green-lighted for this soon.)

(I'm going to note here also the other strategies in force; for fuck's sake, never talk to, even sympathetically, any party. My instructions to Child were as follows: stay out of her line of sight, and no matter what you do, don't respond to anything she says. He held up his headphones; I nodded in relief. Stand up for yourself is one thing, but no one living is as good as my sister at leaving scars that don't heal well. I followed her around the house helping her find her shoes and distract her from BIL loading all the kids up in the car so they'd be ready to leave when she was; she hadn't yet said she wanted to leave, and it's never a good idea to draw attention to anticipating her correctly. It's weird.)

There's always a kind of smugness around forthright people who say it like it is, and I guess generally the admiration makes sense--who doesn't want to be able to say anything they want and not care? Being neither victim nor trapped bystander inside, but observer (with my cigarette), performance righteous rage is awesome and dramatic and it's meant to victimize everyone in range, even if they aren't the target. This isn't admirable, and I don't get people who think so, or pooh-pooh at being relatively polite and not turning any discussion into a warzone. There are a very short list of things worth a dramatic rendition of disagreement like this, and even fewer that require mandatory participation of everyone around you as unwilling witnesses.

I guess I can see the attraction, come to think; adrenaline kick, showing off, very dramatic, making people wary of you, because you can say anything you want and now they know it; during and afterward, you don't care they remember it, all of it, or you spoiled their quiet holiday dinner and sent them home early unhappy and uncomfortable.

I wonder what that's like. Twenty-two minutes from the moment it started to a deathly silent house and a lot of leftovers. I care a lot for what everyone went through today, and all I did was watch.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/989782.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

  • 1
sometimes, that's all ye can do. when blood kin get all down and dirty, everyone else just wants to run for the hills.

*sucks* not being able to get the cider, though. A few good snorts of that might have restored at least your oh-fuck-this, if not actual bonhomie.

your sister sounds like my stepmom. sympathy!! but srsly, would pitching in have helped, or just sped up the downhill flow?

here. have a toke on this. mebbe it'll help numb it a bit...

[hugs tightly] God, what an awful scene. And you being the one who had to clean up the metaphorical blood, that's just not right. I'm sorry that Thanksgiving turned out like that, bb.

Sorry your Thanksgiving turned ugly. But hey, at least it's over and you've got yummy turkey leftovers.

There's always a kind of smugness around forthright people who say it like it is, and I guess generally the admiration makes sense--who doesn't want to be able to say anything they want and not care? Being neither victim nor trapped bystander inside, but observer (with my cigarette), performance righteous rage is awesome and dramatic and it's meant to victimize everyone in range, even if they aren't the target. This isn't admirable, and I don't get people who think so, or pooh-pooh at being relatively polite and not turning any discussion into a warzone. There are a very short list of things worth a dramatic rendition of disagreement like this, and even fewer that require mandatory participation of everyone around you as unwilling witnesses.

Agreed 1000x over.

My extended fam is 90% composed of smug-in-their-cruelty people like that. It's why I try to avoid them on holidays.

There's being a 'tell it like it is' person, and I know a few of these, where you tend to cut through bullshit and can voice sometimes uncomfortable truths in a way that won't completely alienate your listener and might effect change or at least a lightbulb moment.

And then there's being an asshole.

I think your sister, sadly, might just be an asshole.

The problem with the brave truthteller argument is that habitual rage is rarely about whatever the trigger is that sets it off.

The person who's letting their pent-up emotions explode all over some random person who sets them off and the innocent bystanders who are trapped into being an audience isn't being brave. They're making easy targets pay the price for their inability or unwillingness to be forthright about whatever or whoever is actually pissing them off.

Me, I think the brave truthteller is a solipsist and a coward who's using the people around them as toilet paper to wipe their catharsis on. I'm sorry for everyone who got sucked in.

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account