I was going to blog about the fart smelled 'round the world that woke me from a deep slumber and chased me from my bedroom at 6 o'clock this morning, but Jimi didn't want me to write a blog entry whose only purpose is to tell the world that sometimes he farts in bed and it's really stinky. I thought about explaining to him that all of you know exactly what I'm talking about, because you've been where I was this morning - standing naked in the living room, confused, fanning your face and saying "godDAMN what did you eat last night?", trying to venture back into the bedroom but not daring until the smell has fully dissipated - you've been there, right? You know what I'm talking about? It's not that big a deal, just a nice little anecdote to share with your girlfriends, something to add to the "Examples of How Boys Are Grosser Than Girls" list. So it's okay that I'm blogging about it. Right?
His brother was in town from Virginia this weekend. I love Jimi's family. There aren't many of them, but they've all been nothing but kind and accepting of me from the moment I met them. But those brothers of his...(you can't see me, but I've hung my head and I'm shaking it slowly from side to side, because that's the only way to finish that thought of "Those brothers of his...".)
In the world I grew up in, "nigger" is a bad word - worse even than the empirical evil that is "fuck". "Fuck" is something that is said to add strength of emotion to a statement - "nigger" is a hate word and colors everything around it with meanness and spite. Everything said before and after "nigger" is heard, by my ears, as "wah wah wah waht wha whoo wee", because you just used the awfullest word ever and I can't hear you anymore. Instantly, the person before me is changed in my eyes, altered to reflect the great big sign that just popped up over their head that says "I'm a racist".
I hear "nigger" a lot when the brothers are around. They know it bothers me, and I think sometimes they try to tone it down for my benefit, but it's still thrown out into my living room, my kitchen, my TV nook with reckless abandon, left floating there in the air around our heads, taunting me with the knowledge that they'll never see the wrongness of their words. They were raised with the word - it was peppered into conversation like comments on the weather. I've asked for restraint, I've exclaimed at every utterance, I've objected passionately and argued fiercely - now I just roll my eyes and leave the room.
The older brother told me, as we sat across the table from one another at some random chain steak place, "You'd make the perfect wife, Natalie. You're just sitting there quietly, taking it all in..." Jimi gaffawed. "We're just not saying anything that interests her - talk about a subject she's passionate about and she'll get going." I'm choosing to believe that he was trying to find a way to compliment me and not that he honestly thinks the perfect wife is one which sits quietly by while the men-folk talk.
Jimi was right - when we got to a subject that interested me, I did get going. Jimi got going too - the two of us trying to explain to the third how homosexuality is not the same as wanting to have sex with a 12 year old; gay men do not only talk about their love for cock; homosexuality is natural, fucking sheep is a perversion. That was a fun conversation.
The circumstance of family sometimes puts you together with people you otherwise would never cross paths by design. It forces you to seek beyond the surface, to listen and attempt to find common ground, because you're family, and so you have to. It teaches you to agree to disagree. It teaches you to love even though there are parts that you hate.
It was a good visit, I suppose. We didn't do much - a few mediocre meals at bleh restaurants, plenty of beer, lots of deep conversation. The guys visited with their Uncle Joe, their father's brother. Our guest was gone before we got out of bed this morning, and when he called a little while ago, he was already more than half way home. I hope he enjoyed his vacation.
Jimi and Steve are brewing beer today. I've got a battle raging in my head about whether or not I'm going to go visit my brother today. I mostly want to sit on my ass and read teh internets.
I'm going to go take the dog for a walk. I hope you're having a lovely Sunday.