Yesterday we hosted my parents and my sister’s family for Easter at my house. Next year I’ll remember to book the Dr. Phil studios for any holiday event where Pamela (my sister) and I have to share the same room. We might as well make a few bucks on the dysfunctional family talk show circuit if we’re going to endure the hemorroidic discomfort of each other’s presence. I’d rather suffer through childbirth labor, paper cuts and Britney Spears’ new CD than have Pamela’s passive/aggressive, hypocritical, manipulative, hyper judgemental, wet blanket presona upon me. I’d rather have a poison ivy flare up in my nether regions than have to put up with her psychosis.
Better than the Dr. Phil show, I could just sell tickets so curious people can come and watch the reality show that is my family. If I sell enough, I may be able to get the breast augmentation I’ve been saving up for. Perhaps I could have both right and left done at the same time, rather than have the procedure done as I can afford it. Left, then a couple of years later, the right one. (You have to know I’m kidding, but the prospect of it brings me a laugh) But I digress.
If you don’t know Pamela and haven’t fallen victim to my rantings before, let’s just say something went wrong inside her brain, somewhere between her being born and her freshman year at UGA. We haven’t exactly been able to pinpoint it. She’s always been the kind of person who morphed into whoever her boyfriend, best friend, roommate or favorite professor was. Have you ever known someone who adopted all the habits and preferences of the people who they spent time with? This is my sister. This small town Wrightsville raised girl has been everything from an Orthodox Jew to a potato farmer from Idaho, to a Buddhist, to a rabid dumpster diving recycler who believes that the world’s salvation hinges on that one water bottle lodged in the bottom of my kitchen trashcan that could be born again as a spatula. She’d ruin our Easter for the life of that water bottle. And everyone in the world who isn’t just like her, doesn’t subscribe to her beliefs is WRONG. She spends every waking hour trying to convince us to become vegetarians and grow all of our own food, maintain a compost pile fed by our own personal waste and relinquish all personal belongings that weren’t purchased at Good Will or foraged out of a neighbor’s garbage bin. I think she’s part raccoon. She refuses to wear clothing that was produced in a factory overseas, unless it’s at least 20 years out of style. And worst yet, she wears black tights on Easter Sunday. Way to go, Goth Girl.
During our last holiday, when I pulled the roast beef out of the oven, Pamela, in a hushed tone said to Tom her brainwashed 8 year old, “see that poor dead cow over there? It was murdered.” Tears welled up in his eyes. When I cooked bacon in the microwave on paper towels, she again wondered aloud to no one in particular, how many trees died so that I could sop up the juice of dead animals in a brain cell killing appliance. She goes through holiday buffet lines renouncing all meat and anything seasoned with meat, even bullion cubes. She questions where the asparagus, peas and strawberries were grown. Apparently Chile is not an acceptable answer. She wonders aloud (again) whether the lettuce is certified organic. And I have to restrain myself from bitch slapping her with my au jus stained pot holder (which was probably produced in a Cambodian sweat shop by a six year old) As we all sit down to eat, I notice that the only items on Pamela’s plate are the ones she, herself contributed. I’m not offended. Whatever. I wouldn’t eat her unseasoned grass clippings and tree roots either. All’s fair in love and war.
Yesterday, as a clean up saving step, I set the kids’ table in paper plates and cups, not thinking about Pamela’s aversion to such landfill clogging items. When I entered the room again, she was resetting the table with glass items. This is a woman who says she’s not comfortable getting her own glass of water at my house, but she can reset the table?
Honestly, her principles wouldn’t bother me if she didn’t follow me around judging and correcting everything I do. It offends me when she goes through my garbage can animatedly retreiving neglected cans and bottles in front of other guests, and makes a production of talking to them as if she’s just rescued them from nameless attrocities. Then she looks up at me as if I’m an ignorant, inbred, cold hearted container killer.
When I’m washing dishes, she walks across the room, flips off the water in a huff, reminding me that North Georgia has been in a drought for years. Lake Lanier is suffering because of my consumption. I’m afraid to do anything in my own house.
I suppose any sane person would wonder why I put myself through this each holiday. The answer is GUILT. Guilt that my mom ladles out like extra mushroom gravy over Mahatma rice. “It’s just awful that our family isn’t close like other families. Blood is thicker than water and Pamela is the only sibling you have. When Daddy and I are gone, you’ll have only each other. Please try for our sake. It’s just a few times a year.” My mom’s speeches are amazingly effective at leading me back into another holiday with the Pamela: Hugger of Trees, Offender of Sisters. I used to have another sibling, who I adored. He was normal and funny and laid back and playful. His name was Rob. I guess God adored him too. So much that he wanted him in Heaven with him. I won’t dwell on that because even after 15 years, thinking about it is like being punched in the heart.
Okay, I have a kitchen to clean with products that aren’t certified green. I must get on with the day. I’ve ranted enough, and consequently I feel better. Writing does that for me, like a good laxative.
DISCLAIMER: Ok, yes, I know there are two sides to every story. Yes, I know I’m not perfect either and probably contribute some to this sisterhood gone wrong. But, let’s remember that this is MY blog and unlike FOX News, I haven’t taken an oath to be fair and balanced. But I vow that all accounts in this blog entry are true.