Greetings and Salutations, Blog Readers!
Today we are talking about how as I age; I understand the more eccentric members of my family that I would hear talked about around the kitchen or dining room table as I grew up.
I would hear stories of weird uncles or odd aunties, all of whom were deemed weird or odd, and as I get older…I get them more and more. I kind of wish I could have met some of these family members or been closer with them, because as I age, I feel myself having more in common with these “eccentric” family members, but of course, if they were the types to come around for those kinds of functions, I likely wouldn’t have much in common with them.
This being one of the first things I heard commented on, and can relate to.
So, I would often hear all about family members who “never come to family functions” “last time they came in, they were more worried about their pets at home” (100% me, I worry about my cats the entire time.) “They wouldn’t stay in the guest room, or on the couch in the living room, they insisted on getting a hotel room in town!”
“So weird!” They would admonish over so many cups of coffee. “I don’t understand. Even if you have the money, why would you spend it when you could stay here with family?” They would say while children screamed in the background, other family members fought over shit too stupid to articulate, and cigarette smoke filled any space in between.
“I mean, if they stayed here, they would have more time with family!” They would say, completely missing all of the reasons they wouldn’t want to do that. As a child, I didn’t have money, nor did my family really, and when the house they were referring to was ours, I would think it would be cool to have extra guests around, so I didn’t put it together…but now I do.
Why the fuck would you want to sit in the space of everyone else? Like not only would you deal with the smoke, the noise, and the lack of personal space, but you would be stuck following everyone else’s schedule, with everyone picking on you for your own personal mannerisms that they simply do not understand.
For example, an uncle of mine would apparently shower in the evening because he felt like he needed to wash the day away (Which I get totally, because I like to shower in the evening) but he would also shower in the morning to get ready for the day, to wash off any of the sleep sweat that had transpired.
“So weird!” They would say, chain smoking cigarettes, the smell never leaving their skin, nails, and hair even if they had two showers a day like my more “eccentric” family members.
“I can’t imagine, that’s so much extra time, I wonder why he’s so weird to shower so often!”
We didn’t know it was likely rampant unchecked OCD, or, more innocently, just a personal preference that really didn’t need to be judged at all any goddamn way.
Who cares if you shower twice a day? What does it matter? More so if they get a hotel so it’s not adding extra to your water bill. Still, they complained and mocked behind these family members back, all while wondering why they never wanted to stay at their house, if they even bothered coming into town at all.
“And imagine, CHOOSING to live 12-15 hours or more away from your nearest family!!” They would say.
“You have to get on a PLANE or drive ALL DAY or even TWO days- JUST to see family! I can’t imagine why they would want to do that.” “Well, we offered to let them live with us and found a job in town, the Walmart is hiring, they could work there!”
Real conversations I have heard as a child and be subjected to as an adult too.
They don’t get why we don’t want to live close, and they want us to live closer to them, to give up where we are happy, give up homes, give up jobs, to go live in small towns that we don’t like, full of people we are ideologically opposed to, and take minimum wage jobs, simply to be around the smoke scented, judgmental, chaos that the family en masse brings.
And they wonder why we want to live far away, get a hotel when we come visit, and keep our privacy.
I say we, because as I age, I learn more and more that as “weird” as these family members are…as they die off, I replace them as the weirdo. I live 14 hours from my parents, 6 hours from some cousins and aunt/uncle but we aren’t close at all. I would like to live in either Canada or New Zealand. When I do visit, I worry about my cats, even if I have a cat sitter. I shower in the evening, and as I get better at mornings, I will likely shower in the morning as well. I like to get a hotel when I can afford it, even when I visit my family, even though my mom bitches about it the entire time. “You would already be here if you slept here! We could have MORE time together if you just STAYED here.”
But I don’t like having people up my ass every waking second of the day, I like to unwind, I like to not have someone constantly judging me and my every fucking move.
“Weird” and “eccentric” I know, but context is everything, and as I age, I realize those distant family members weren’t that weird, they simply were better at putting up boundaries and respecting their own mental health.
I wonder if any of them blogged, too?
So, now I ask you, how many of you recall eccentric family members being talked about, and how many of you are perhaps becoming the eccentric family member?
Thanks for reading,