Back to the USA

Ten days. That was my longest trip back home in 2-3 years. But the occasion was special. My only child got married. There was the wedding itself. A big party at their newly remodeled house two days later, then four days at the beach in a huge rental right on the Pacific that accommodated up to twenty-five people in something like ten bedrooms (I never counted the baths). Huge. Palatial. Very un-Mexican.

The beach house was mostly full for all four nights. There was lots of eating and drinking. Oh, and bad weather. Still, great food, great booze, and some great people.

There were children running around – loud, some wanting to be the constant center of attention – and I personally found it to be a great relief when the little ones got tucked in for the night.

I was reminded how indulgent so many American parents are towards their children these days. A parenting trait I find very annoying. It seemed everything that involved children was first precipitated by a question, then a long explanation, followed by an even longer negotiation. Whatever happened to, ‘Because I said so?’

Moving on. The dynamics of the wedding party was much different than the beach house parties even though they included many of the same people.

The wedding party had all of these lovely camouflaged buffer zones – a seven piece live band, trees that helped break up the landscape, the house (plus two separate outbuildings), plus tables and chairs scattered across the better part of a hectare (2.5 acres) of lawn.

A person could move about the wedding party at will. There was always a new conversation to pick up on. Everyone was cordial and pleasantly lubricated to their own liking. There were five kegs of craft beer, some great bourbons (but only if you were on the groom’s home team), and a whole table full of wines including some exceptional local Oregon pinot noirs.

The layout, the buffer zones, the music, and the sheer number of people allowed me to successfully avoid all contact with my ex-family members without me appearing to be deliberately avoiding them. And for that I was extremely grateful.

Unfortunately I wasn’t so lucky when it came to my son-in-law’s parents. We were all staying in the same house up until the morning we left for the beach. Thankfully they didn’t follow.

My son-in-law’s father gave a new much enlarged meaning to the term boor. I was held hostage on more occasions than I care to remember to his monotonous blathering that will always remains forgettable; the words, the long sentences, the subjects – but never the bone-crushing claustrophobia I felt every single time he opened his mouth.

Some conversations are like stepping in dogshit. I refer to them as La Brea Tar Pit conversations. Because no matter what you say or what you do it is impossible to successfully extricate yourself from them. The pit just keeps getting deeper and deeper until the shit finally rises to your eyeballs and you pray for death.

It’s true. Terminally opinionated (or boorish) people have at times pushed me into that heart fibrillating territory of possible stroke, heart attack, or thoughts of murder. I am not joking. I take my conversations seriously – much like I take my food, booze, running, reading and so forth. I don’t have any time left for a bad meal (or a bad book) let alone a stupid, pointless conversation.

In fact I find some monologues (especially those disguised as conversations) to be so thoughtlessly cruel to where some in my opinion can justifiably incite verbal abuse and beatings, up to and including homicide.

I only wish the law saw it my way. ‘He was being a monumental boor, officer. I tried to warn him off but he keep on and on talking about,’ your eyes momentarily glaze over, ‘something’. You shrug, indicating you didn’t remember even the slightest bit of the conversation, ‘So I felt I was well within my rights to shove my fountain pen through his trachea.’

‘Did he give you an opportunity to walk away?’

‘No he didn’t.’

The officer then pauses for a second or two before responding, ‘Okay, you’re good to go.’

Would that be a perfect world, or what? Population reduction driven by contemporary Darwinian forces. Unfortunately there is too much common sense at play there for that concept to ever politically gain traction. (But the world would become a much better place if it did.)

On a slightly less peevish note, let’s talk about cigars. I took two boxes of some fairly decent smokes to both events and there were still 22 sticks left over at the end of the festivities. Huh?

When I was packing up for my flight home I counted the leftovers and didn’t know whether to be offended or outraged. I decided to go with outraged.

What is wrong with this so-called millennial generation? Or Gen X or Y for that matter? I am speaking of the men here. They have proven they can reproduce – albeit in a minor fashion, limit of two – and they can drink good booze, hold down great jobs, drive new and expensive automobiles, yet they can’t smoke but a single cigar over the course of an entire week?

It is probably a modern day wife thing. ‘Honey, you better not come to bed smelling like cigar smoke again.’ Maybe that’s a divorceable offense. Maybe it always has been. I don’t know.

Wait. I’m divorced. Maybe it was the cigars. Yeah, that’s it. It was the cigar’s fault.

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