Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Turkey Day Down

I know, it's now Wednesday night, and I haven't posted in a while. Sorry. To my E-migos, I apologize for my tardiness. To those of you who hate me, sorry to disappoint.

I have returned. Is this a good thing? I don’t know. I’m really tired. Faith said I should catch up on my sleep. I tried to, but at my in-laws’ house, that was never going to happen. However, I won’t bore you with my whining. Instead I think I will talk to you, dear reader, about my Turkey Day weekend. First of all, you’re probably wondering, “Hey, Leab, why isn’t this post a ‘Mail Monday’ post. Are you an idiot?” No. I know it’s Monday, but I didn’t really get any questions in my mail. I got hatemail, but that’s no fun when it isn’t in question form (seriously). Because of this, Mail Monday was canceled this week in order to bring you “A Very Special Holiday Episode.”
My in-laws, as I have mentioned before, live in a small town in Missouri. There’s nothing really there. Want to go out? Well there’s Wal-Mart…or…uh…well, there’s a movie theatre there somewhere. The whole town is essentially a housing development. Rowhouses as far as the eye can see. This is the town where my wife grew up.
You have to understand. I like my in-laws. I get along with them really well usually. How? I avoid all subjects that we would either disagree on or argue about with each other. I probably have a peptic ulcer from all the thoughts I’ve kept to myself. This past trip, I almost bit through my tongue trying to hold it. Still, I like my in-laws. They are nice people.
I have never really been a fan of the holidays. It has nothing to do with family issues or any of that crap so many people like to say is the reason people like me hate this time. No, it’s because of the commercialization of it all. Friday (or as it’s known now: BLACK FRIDAY, and what the hell is that. When the market crashed, it was a black day, but now it’s a good thing? New century…I guess.) is all about shopping. Yes, Thanksgiving is still safe…for now. Give it time, folks.
My wife’s family essentially gets tipsy and attacks each other with verbal barbs. It’s supposed to sound innocent, but you can feel the malice. In order to avoid retorting, arguing, or even talking, I had to constantly drink. I had a large amount of wine. Did I get a hangover? Not even close. Ah…it’s great to be a former drunk.
This is how dinner went:
Food is served
Grace is said
Everyone splits up. The men go watch football, the women chat.
Football game gets boring so the channel is changed to Fox News thus making it harder for me not to argue.
Now, you may be a hardcore Conservative, or just a Republican reading this thinking “Wait Leab, what’s wrong with Fox News? Are you a Pinko-Liberal or a Democrat?”
Here’s your answer: It’s not about my political affiliation. I'm not Republican (I'm not Democrat either, but that's not the point).
It’s about the fact that my in-laws are all Evangelical Conservatives. They are WAY over to the right. They make the Exile look like a Democrat. I’m not kidding. Here are some examples from the weekend:
If you say all politicians are corrupt (as my wife did), the response is, “No they aren’t. It’s only the Democrats. Republicans have everyone’s best interests at heart. You should not talk that way.” (SO NOT KIDDING.)
John McCain is now known as Traitor John. Period. No discussion.
If a Democrat is slandered on TV, it’s true. If a Republican is slandered, it’s the Democrats acting like children.
Nixon may have been framed.
That’s just a few.
My father-in-law likes to talk about what he would do if he were, “dictator for a day.” Actually he says, “Fuerher,” but…uh…yeah.
The best part of the weekend? Well, that would be when my wife mentioned that my father officiated a civil ceremony for two gay men. That did not go over well. My father is now considered “a traitor,” to the Republican Party. Apparently no self-respecting Republican would do that.
Now I have no problem with them attacking me. I have no problem when they question my wife about why she married me (“I mean his political and religious views…Come on!”), but you don’t attack my family. I explained I was proud of my father.
This touched off a skirmish. Not a war, not a battle, just a skirmish (I eventually backed off and left the room). Here’s what I learned from my in-laws:
-Homosexuality is a choice. If a 16 year old kid thinks he or she is gay, they’re really just confused, or they hate God. In fact, the downfall of America apparently coincides with the rise in Homosexuality. If there were fewer gays, the country would be stronger.
-It is because of teachers and public schools for teaching Sex Ed that teenagers are having sex younger and younger. That’s right. If Sex Ed wasn’t taught, then kids wouldn’t have sex. That’s the argument. If Sex Ed weren't taught there would also be fewer Homosexuals.
-John McCain is a traitor to the Republican Party for speaking out against torture. Traitor John, ladies and gentlemen. Traitor John.
This was all in one sitting. Oh, and I’m affecting my wife in a very negative fashion, because she now believes that all politicians are corrupt.
The other highlight for me: My mother-in-laws reasoning to not go to the movies: “People talk. It’s so annoying. You want to watch the movie but some person is sitting there talking away.” So, we watch Elf at the house. What does she do the whole time? TALK! She talked through the whole movie. I finally asked her to stop, because she was driving me nuts. She was describing all the actions, asking questions, and talking about things that nothing to do with the movie. “Oh that reminds me, two weeks ago I was going through the laundry when….”
Sigh. I could have seen the Johnny Cash movie or any other film, but alas, I was not allowed to go alone (so said my wife).
Let me say it again. I like my in-laws. We get along with each other (usually). Partially due to the fact that we can talk to each other and partially due to the fact that we avoid topics we’ll argue over. I get along with them (usually better than this). They treat me very well, and they have told my wife (or at least she says they have) that she couldn’t have married any better. They’re good people. We just have different views about the world. That’s normal.
Before you say anything, my wife’s relationship with my family is a little different. It’s less about arguing about different viewpoints and more about trying to figure out what the hell are my parents talking about (that’s the problem when two genius Bibliophiles talk to the each other: No one knows which way is out). That being said, if my wife disagreed with my parents’ P.O.V, she would be allowed to argue and not be made to feel as if she was a bad person (or un-American).
And if you have to question how I know I love my wife then listen to this: I’m returning to Missouri for Christmas. That’s right, my family gets no holiday this year…and my mom…not so happy about that.
Still, for all the downsides of this Turkey Day, I’m still grateful that I was able to be with my wife. She makes all the little things that drive me nuts vanish with a hug and a kind word.

That’s love in my opinion.
In the end I know what this is really about: The differences in people. I don't blame my in-laws for anything, and I don't think they're stupid for having different opinions. We are different. I celebrate it. Sure, it drives me insane, but my father put it best: "Sam Rayburn once said, 'You get along by going along, and you go along by getting along.' Do you understand?"
I do, Dad. I may not agree with my in-laws beliefs or politics, but I respect them for sticking to their guns and for being able to laugh with me. I also thank them for giving me permission to marry their daughter.

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