Anticipation is probably not the best word to describe my feelings as I sat contemplating the impending specter of a wasted week-end. The "relatives from hell" were due to make another appearance, and it was hard to swallow the rising bile of bitter memories of their last visit. In a single week-end they had managed to cause a scene in two area restaurants, of course resulting in getting a free meal for the husband, but in the process it embarrassed me deeply. It was I, not him, that would have to return to these places of business another day.
Deciding I might feel better about the approaching doom after a nap, I laid down for two hours of fitful sleep ... until I heard the doorbell. As my wife opened the door, I could hear the sister-in-law's voice swelling as she came up the walk. Feeling a little like a rabbit hearing an eagle scream, I knew that the monotone would drone on for two days straight, barely pausing for a breath.
Her husband withheld complaining until he was fully three steps inside the door ... "What ... did you forget to turn the heat on?"
I slipped into the bathroom, realizing suddenly how dirty I was, and how considerate it would be of me to take a shower, so our guests would see me clean. After lingering long, and running out of things to wash for the third time, I realized I must finally leave the relative ... who said that word? ... silence of the bathroom, and greet our guests.
"Well! Glad you could grace us with your company!" Jim sneered. "Mmmrrouf! Mmmroufff! Mrrrrouff!" He was wolfing down pizza, barely gasping for breath between bites.
The conversation was stimulating, wandering from an argument about who had stayed up the latest and slept the longest, to the complete scientific reasoning behind doing your laundry all together ... somewhere in there was the mention of washing underwear with your dishtowels. It was at this point I suddenly decided I should probably go check my AOL mail. Perhaps there would be something interesting, like a chain letter making its thirteenth trip around the world, with all the original addresses attached. They were no doubt wondering when I was going to get a life, and leave this boring AOL alone.
I felt a little guilty as I slipped into my office. Just before the door was fully closed, I heard my sister-in-law begin a description of her heart surgery, and what her blood sugar was that morning ... simultaneously. "How does she do that?" I wondered. But I didn't really want to know!
Dallas D'Angelo-Gary 97