Middle Aged Treehouse

I'm only mature in years.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Welcome to Crazy Town

Shoot, what was that movie where someone translated something for someone, and I think the line was "she's the MAYOR of Crazytown?" I'll remember in a minute. The hard drive that is my brain is full. If only one could buy more disk space for the human brain!

Kate has been going out with a very nice young man for over six months now, and tonight was the first night he really had a chance to hang out (God help him) with our entire family. (Except my dad, of course, who chose, perhaps not unwisely, televised sports over the annual voice and piano recital.) So Braeden got the full family treatment tonight, both barrels, meaning both grandmas, after giving up three hours of his life sitting through Kate's recital and then heading to our house for dinner.

Within minutes of coming by the house for pizza and leftover birthday cake, my mom talked at the poor young man in torrents. Mom is in extra perky spirits these days, having gotten through the worst of her horrible chemotherapy. When I heard the cheery words, "They just stick a needle in my port, here — look!" I rushed through the kitchen to find Mom pulling her shirt collar down and sideways to reveal the hideous blue device surgically implanted under her thin skin to a very perplexed looking 16-year-old boy.

"Mom! Put that away! People are about to eat food!" I scolded, yanking her collar back into place.

"Well, of course he's interested in seeing this. The boy wants to be a doctor!" Mom answered.

"No, Mom, he doesn't," I hissed. "That was the last boyfriend. This one wants to be a choir director. Stop showing people your body parts!"

"Oh." Mom blinked in temporary confusion and just a flicker of remorse. She excitedly went on to fill the next hour with Embarrassing Stories, Part I, including:

- The Story of Baby Kate Who Looked Like Buddha at Birth Because Her Mom Ate So Many Little Debbie Products

- The Saga of Kate's Mom Tracy the Meanest Scrabble Player Ever (my own child chimed in on this one to recount the time I dumped the board after being taunted by my mother; by "mean" I mean both skilled and nasty)

- A Ribald Tale of Kate's Uncle B.D., otherwise known as The 45-year-old Bachelor Airline Pilot with the Bartender Girlfriend

- The Complete History of Kate's Musical Theater Experiences

- The Obligatory Nosy Questions About Braeden's Birthplace and Family History (what Savannah folk like my mom call "the people" questions, as in "Honey, where are your people from?")

In this test, this horrible rite of passage, Braeden was a true champ, laughing in stride and conversing right back a few nutty stories of his own. And my daughter was wise enough not to kick her grandmother's shin beneath the table or bury her head in shame, having known my mother well enough to realize that reacting in any way would be like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. So while Kate rolled her eyes, Braeden laughed, contributed, and even shook my husband's hand on his way out, earning favorable scores from the entire family, including my mother-in-law, who broke her fixated gaze on the television to call him "Brandon" a second time.

So now it's all out there; the bizarre kinfolk have all come down from the attic. Braeden has now officially broken bread at our tiny vintage kitchen table, been sniffed and drooled upon by all three dogs, and been interrogated by the tribal elders. His girlfriend's loudly chattering, slightly off-kilter family has been thrust upon this poor young man; we've wrapped him our genetic crazy quilt and we can now get down to the business of being friends.

And I just remembered -- it was Sunny, the baby in the movie version of A Series of Unfortunate Events that says "she's the mayor of Crazy Town" in subtitles when referring to Meryl Streep's loony character Aunt Josephine.

Whew. I feel so relieved now.


Blogger TCU grad student said...

Ah, meeting the family. A true test of any boy or girlfriend's intestinal fortitude.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

You can be Crazy Town. Our place will be Funky Town.

You all are far more interesting than most folks. Revel in CRAZY!!

2:32 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

Way to go Braedon! Especially impressive given that at his tender age he couldn't even fortify himself with alcohol! That was my favorite way to deal with the "Meet the Folks" first time scenario.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Siobhan said...

Nothing more fun than harrassing and sizing up the men in your daughters life. If you really want to test them, I suggest taking them for a ride in the car while playing David Sedaris' audiobook "Me Talk Pretty One Day", more specifically the portion entitled "I Like Guys". I can't for sure say it's the reason that Ivy's junior year boyfriend broke up with her, but I'm sure it didn't help. Just another thing I have to thank David Sedaris for next time I meet him...

Another good screening tool we use is the "Princess Bride" test. Potential boyfriends are graded upon their response to the following question:

"Have you seen "The Princess Bride?"

If boy answers "Yes! I LOVE that movie" they get an automatic A.

If the answer is "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die" they get an A+ and we start planning the wedding. (note-this has yet to happen.)

If they answer, "No, what's that?" They get an incomplete and must answer the question again after viewing the movie in our presence.

If the answer is "I hate that movie" then they get a big fat F and our daughter must break up with them immediately.

So far it's proven to be an extremely accurate prediction of whether the boy will fit in with us!

7:28 PM  

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