on the road again

I’m visiting my mom and her husband with the kids this week. My step-father had some serious health challenges earlier in the summer, which meant that my mom postponed a planned visit to us, and here I am. Landisdad, that bastard, had plans for this whole weekend, so in a moment of folly I thought, “why don’t I take the kids to the middle of Red-State-that-I-Hate (h/t jo(e))?”

Inevitably, when I go to visit my mother, I spend a couple of days beforehand wondering how she will piss me off (and if my step-father’s going to be there, what he will say that will be so patently offensive that I won’t be able to let it slide). Since my mom has been married to my step-father, she’s turned into the kind of person who can only tell a story about a person of color by mentioning their race (I’ve thought about starting all my stories with “so I was standing in line next to this white woman” but I’m not sure she’d get it). My step-father, on the other hand, is just an old-school racist.

When I made the plan to come down here, I got a motel. I know better than to stay with them and my kids for four days. We need a buffer zone. This one is about a half-hour from their house, so it’s a pretty big buffer.

Last night, we went over there for dinner. When we got there, my step-father was sitting in front of his ginormous tv, watching Fox News, which he turned off just to come to the dinner table. We had a fine, incident-free dinner, then my mom suggested that we go see “Bedtime Stories,” which was playing in their retirement community’s clubhouse. Again, fine. The kids got a little squabbly in the car after the movie was over, but that’s to be expected after a long day of traveling.

We dropped off my mom, and the Potato ran in to use their bathroom—when we got inside, my step-father was still sitting in front of Faux News (“WILL THE DEMOCRATS MANAGE TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY & LIFE AS WE KNOW IT WITH SOCIALIST HEALTH CARE REFORM?!?”). As we were leaving, my step-father said, “Have fun over there (at the motel) with the rednecks!” The Potato asked, “what does that mean?”

Sigh.

It means we’re not done avoiding my step-father for another visit.

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July 16, 2009. random other things.

2 Comments

  1. Library Lady replied:

    My uncle was like that–a Jewish Archie Bunker. My father, his own brother, wasn’t fond of him.

    He insisted that he come to my wedding, and I had one of the biggest fights I’ve ever had with my parents over it. He did come, and fortunately did nothing stupider than to wish my in-laws a happy Chinese New Year, when the only Chinese member of the family is my sister-in-law’s husband.
    Fortunately, my Filipino in-laws are used to such stuff, and took it in stride.

    Be grateful you’re at least not related by BLOOD to this guy. And hang in there!

  2. jackie replied:

    I have felt similarly about whole swathes of my family. Sigh. It’s especially important to me with the kids now– there’s so much I don’t want them to hear, especially coming from the mouths of people they love.

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