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Thursday, 28 July
We Are Occasionally Family

Tomorrow my parents come to town! I'm looking forward to seeing them, as, being who we are--that is, a pretty low-maintenance family--it's been a while.

I know a lot of people who talk with their families once a month, once a week, even once a day--this I find pretty freaky--but our family (I'm an only kid) just isn't that way. I'm pretty sure we've gone for six-month stretches where we didn't phone or email. And not because we hate each other . . . it's just not really that big a deal, I guess. When we do visit, Mom does insist on taking some pictures, and we pose for them, of course, because hey, it's Mom, but really, Dad and I could care less. I mean, it's not that I dislike looking at these photos or anything . . . it's just that, as my Dad once said about these infrequent photo shoots, "Christ, I remember what we all look like anyway."

Which is also kind of funny, since he's a professional photographer. Me, I am absolutely as far from being a professional photographer as it gets. I would need exhaustive hours of training in order to even be called a barely adequate photographer. I have the magical ability to ruin any shot at all. I took one gorgeous picture in my life, and I have it framed: it is an early morning shot of a tower in Brugges--it's a study in grey, and in mist, and the Gothy tower stands in the hazy distance like a ghost of a building. It really is a wonderful photo, and never fails to evoke the memory of that magical vacation, especially where at the top of the photo I thoughtfully included part of my thumb.

Anyway! Family's coming for a short visit. I've already got tickets for a Friday baseball game, where we will be seated right off the third base line to watch the mighty Seattle Mariners do solemn battle with the fearsome Cleveland Indians. Which I assume will be a lot like watching an enactment of a Matthew Arnold poem: ignorant armies clashing by night.

But who cares? We'll be there at the ballpark (and I must admit that Safeco is a beaut), eating some dogs and drinking some beers--the game is nearly incidental to such an immersion in Americana. We will have a good time even if the woeful players on the field all suddenly decide to form a kickline and punch out a few numbers from Pippin. I'll be there with the wife, and Dad--a professional dog burglar (not at all like a cat burglar--any fool can steal a cat, for God's sake), and Mom, who, back in the Seventies was a hand model until a horrible thresher accident, but who then came back triumphantly as a popular wrist model. (She loses more damn watches . . .)

Oh, and I'm sure Mom will insist on a few photos, and Dad and I will roll our eyes, but then pose anyway, out of familial duty. And it's all for the best. Later on, I can pull out those shots with the wife and say, "Aw, remember that night? At the baseball game? What a great shot." And she'll reply, "Yeah. Look at your thumb there. It was a good night for your thumb."

Yeah. I sure hope so.


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Comments

Yeah, I know what you mean. My relationship with my family is similarly fraught, if that's what you're (or I'm) trying to get at. We're all out there and we're all okay and no amount of photographs can sway that in either direction. We're a big family, in contrast to yours, but sometimes more is less. What interests me as I grow older is the little (and by little I mean absolutely painfully trivial) things that can bring us together. In just ten days I'm going to pay a visit to the nuevo-traditio-all-one-family-faith-homehearth for the first time in three years, and I've got to say that I'm equal parts thrilled and terrified. But you have to dig it while it's there, because eventually, well, much as we deny it, it won't be. Damn it and damn them for the hold they have on us. And for making us the way they made us. I love them, and I suppose you do, too.

Comment number: 005467   Posted by: sgazzetti on July 28, 2005 12:40 PM from IP: 213.253.92.150

sgazzetti, there is no way Skot loves your family. Geez.

Comment number: 005468   Posted by: Mickey on July 28, 2005 03:29 PM from IP: 68.154.172.143

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