|Posted by doktakra on September 2, 2009 at 11:33 AM|
My family is weird. I know, everyone thinks their family's crazy and embarrassing, but I've always been terrified of bringing people over to meet my relatives. For one, they take the Russian drinking stereotype to the extreme, toasting everyone from long-lost cousins to deceased pets with shot after shot of Stolichnaya vodka. They get into heated arguments about things that allegedly happened 30 years ago or about some senseless rumor they heard on Russian radio, occasionaly leading to someone storming out in a profane huff. My 85-year-old grandparents make embarrassing comments without even realizing it (more on this later). And then there's my great-uncle, who not only reads his fantastic Russian poetry at the dinner table, but sees nothing wrong with bursting into song regardless of where we are or who's present. He's probably the main reason why we no longer celebrate birthdays in restaurants or any other public places. And they're also secret spies for the KGB. Okay, I made up that last part...or so you think.
You can probably guess where this is headed. Yep, I brought Michelle to meet my folks and suffer though enjoy a glorious family birthday celebration, where she was treated to an hour and half of my parents' vacation stories and my childhood pictures (thankfully not the naked ones this time). The undeniable highlights were the following photos of me when I was 16, decked out in an ill-fitting Dan Marino jersey and a pair of size 36 Boss jeans that were almost as big as those glasses, and living out my life dream by rocking an awesome 'fro that made me look like a rejected "Semi-Pro" extra.
Fortunately, most of my relatives were on their best behavior once we made it to my grandparents' apartment for dinner. My great-aunt kept conversation to minimum by making sure the guests had enough food, while my great-uncle read a half-dozen poems, but thankfully refrained from singing. Towards the end, he gave an impromptu toast for Michelle, which I attempted to loosely translate, and my grandmother chimed in to call her a "young beauty. " But because that wasn't awkward enough, after confirming that Michelle is Jewish, she suggested that the two of us should (wait for it) get married. Sigh. And I came so close to going an entire evening without wishing I was adopted.
When I was alone in my apartment later on that night (somehow still sober), I remembered that my mom gave me an envelope on my way out the door. When I finally peeked inside, I found a $100 bill along with a three-word note: "Don't be cheap." What can I say? You gotta love family...sometimes.