Quick Impressions From A Montana Visit|
Everyone Loves a Disaster
The big thing about Gini's family reunion was the fact that the river was overflowing with runoff and was flooding entire valleys. A flood's a perfect disaster; it's slow enough that nobody gets killed, and yet there's property damage galore. We drove past the house on the flood plains twice a day just to see how fucked up it was.
Also, you get to watch the disaster as close as you'd like and debate it: Everyone kept going back to the river behind Gini's sister's house and watching how far it had risen. None of us really wanted the river totally lose control and bathe their house in a thin layer of silty water. Because if the flood had submerged Kristie's house, then we would have had no choice but to go splashing through a house in six inches of water, seeing a real live living space transformed into a real-life water park, watching the furniture float by, seeing total ruination and destruction up close and personal.
You have insurance, right, guys?
Watching Scotty Grow
Gini had a realization this weekend: Despite the fact that her family fucked her over real bad growing up - and I mean Oprah-would-make-a-book-club-selection-based-on-her-life-story bad - most of them had transformed since then and had tried, at least to some extent, to repent for their sins.
This was a major moment for her, and I was glad to be there to shepherd it through. The idea that family wasn't something you automatically outgrew, that they could in fact grow with you, is a central concept to my life. It always distressed me at how distant she was from her family (calling once a month is more than many, but not nearly close to my biweekly calls), and I think she's realized they have a spot in her life.
Family are the people who you really can't bullshit if you're even halfway honest with them. They're vital feedback centers. I'm glad that she's starting to reestablish something there, and I'm proud of her.
When you're bored at a graduation ceremony - and you will be - having a major project to accomplish is a must. I found that mentally translating all of my NPCs over to Champions was a handy time-waster, since playing Super Monkey Ball on my cell phone was not an option.
It's gonna be good once we get it going. There's a lot more strategy now.
The two of them were an interesting contrast in extremes. I'd met Michele, Gini's youngest sibling, before, and I only sort of like her. She's what I'd call... Nice.
Oh, fuck, let's go for broke: Michele's the sort of person who makes her own hell.
At the beginning of the weekend, she called and said, "No, go ahead without me" because she was involved in another spat with her hopefully-soon-to-be-ex husband. Now, let's get this straight: The first family reunion in six years (and the first non-funeral-related reunion in a decade), the plane tickets are bought, it might be the last time she gets to see her grandmother alive... And she's willing to give in because her husband's acting up in the umpteenth attempt to control her life?
Fortunately, Gini helped convince her that this was worth fighting for, and she came.
It's not that Michele's an evil person... But she has so little self-esteem that she allows evil to be done to her. (Her husband, a kid-beater, deserves a fucking electric saw to the cranium.) She laughs things off that probably should be taken seriously, spent vacation time cleaning up ("I can't let Kristie do that!"), gave her last cash away to buy soda when she knew she didn't have the cash to make it home, and basically spent all of her time sacrificing her own pleasure to make other people happy.
The telling quote was this: "I'd rather get walked on every day than be an asshole." And I kept wanting to shake her shoulders and shout, As long as you'll do anything to avoid being an asshole, people are going to fucking use you like a dishrag! Being an asshole makes you stronger! If you have a relationship where you're never an asshole, nobody will respect you! Have some goddamn self-respect and stop laying down before people even ask you to step aside, for Chrissake, and make your life what it should be! Fight for what you want!
I didn't say any of that, of course. But I wanted to. She could be something, but until she's willing to say, "Fuck you," she's going to walk a lot slower than other people. And I hope she learns that. I want her to be strong, and beautiful, and everything she can be, and it frustrates me to see it all held back by a tremulous niceness. The entire family took her into her bosom that weekend, surrounding her in love, and I hope to God it taught her that there's another way than the one she knows.
She doesn't deserve what gets done to her, that woman... But yeah, she kind of does.
Kristy, on the other hand, was a hoot. She was married to a large, scary redneck, and she'd been skating on the brink of financial disaster for years, so I was prepared to dislike her...
But the large, scary redneck turned out to be no different than a lot of my old heavy metal buddies (and had my unfortunate penchant for calling it like it was), the financial disaster didn't come up that weekend, and Kristy's kids were both beautiful and intelligent. Kristy and Jon might be a little short on the long-term planning, which could be irritating, but I immediately felt I could trust them both with my life, which is a good thing.
Plus, she was kind of a babe. And she looks frighteningly like Gini. I told Gini that it was convenient, since all I had to do to fantasize about Kristy was squint a little when we were having sex.
She damn near broke my arm.
Okay, some beatings are richly deserved.
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