You know how it goes. It’s summer. The heat, due to some direct portal to Hell that has been opened, rages on, providing even the most docile and patient of souls an opportunity to cast their gaze heavenward and ask…what kind of f**kery is this?
And with a little additional salt in the wounds, many have to endure sessions, some short-lived, others of the painfully long-term variety, of opportunities for a bit of ‘forced family fun’, or ‘FFF’ to provide a suitable text version of this peculiar type of virus.
FFF takes on so many varied forms that it can be somewhat difficult to distinguish it from what is being forced or thrust upon the innocent soul who prefers solitude and tranquility over opportunities to produce disingenuous smiles of approval when viewing the latest photo’s of people you don’t know and would never care to know – to the activities that would be required of you, rather than forced, like say…tending to dialing 911 for the on-coming aneurism descending upon a loved one, probably from the ungodly heat.
FFF forces you to listen to stories about them…continually. Whoever ‘them’ is doesn’t matter. It isn’t you, they’re family and so you must sit quietly, smile that forced smile, and nod in compliance that whatever is being uploaded by ‘them’ must be given top shelf importance by you. And by continually providing your nodding approval of their love affair with themselves, you start to ask yourself, if you haven’t before, why was I put here?
There may be those who are immune to the dread of FFF. Our unscientific research here at the Asylum has found that those who are immune to it, are those who find no qualms with shoving their cell phone in your face to admire some sort of homo sapien stupidity, thinking you will be duly impressed that their circle of friends confirms your worst fears – that you were indeed deposited here by mistake.
FFF activities might include: trips to the park when it’s above 70 degrees, trips to the mall no matter the temperature, trips to do grocery shopping; brunches, lunches, dinners – any trip that involves a sliver of time spent away from modern day plumbing; picnics, road trips, and sometimes even a trip across town to check on a relative who hasn’t the decency to respond to your phone calls asking if they are okay. In short, anything that forces you to do some thing that you couldn’t imagine yourself doing yesterday – all can be considered FFF.
FFF is particularly prevalent around any holiday. It’s an “opportunity” provided to YOU to endure a day or more of uninterrupted and troublesome adventures into trying to understand the quirkiest ways of another, when you still have yet to come to grips with your own strange peculiarities. The holiday doesn’t matter – it’s a “holiday” and therefore you must submit to the ‘request’ to attend, for the only reason being, that they’re family.
Yet on the grander scale, if that truly exists, what is it to us that a few hours, days or weeks of our time (as long as it’s not years) must be sacrificed to sit patiently and listen? To suppress a wayward comment and simply smile, or to give them a hug upon their welcomed departure and say, straight-face, ‘we’ll have to do this again soon’.
One might secretly hope, as loved ones take their leave, after all required FFF activities are splendidly accomplished by you – and loved ones are on their way home – that they are not speaking amongst themselves, saying you are the weirdest person they’ve ever known.
But even if you are the weirdest person they have ever known…you did your best, and with kindness, sent them home, as you, with thanks, close your front door and put it to yourself once again – why was I put here?
Perhaps it might be, that if for nothing else, someone believed, if even for a few moments, that someone cared about them…and that is enough for a bit of respite…for them, and you and me.
Tonight’s musical offering:
The Hot Sardines – “Petite Fleur” (with French & English translations below)
Photo credit (front page): http://www.unsplash.com/@dcp
Photo credit: http://www.unsplash.com/@tinaflour