Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Family Rhapsody

My parents and sister are in town this week for my mom's 6oth birthday visit.  They are all staying with us in our two bedroom apartment, and I am glad no one gets killed yet.  I would like to record here some conversational highlights, but first, let me acquaint you with the players:

Dad - A very loving father but a highly eccentric Chinese man.  He is a passionate photographer who walks everywhere with his bag full of Pentax equipment and Russian made lenses.  He is also a big proponent in overthrowing the oppressive pseudo-communist regime in China through endless discussions in political forums to promote free-speech (of sorts) in said nation.  He also likes to tinker with other people's computer by installing whatever he fancies.

Mom - The only religious person in the family, she is of the Bible Thumper persuasion (the Chinese Canadian religious from this group typically has no idea of the history of religions except what is written in the translated bible in the most literal sense).  She is very nervous and will freak out over the smallest thing.  She is an excellent cook and will freely give cooking tips out of nowhere.   

Sis - Recently broke up with a guy we were sure would be our bro-in-law.  She seems to be over the guy but not yet officially on the prowl.  She is historically an unbelievable dude magnet (it is possible she is a babe magnet as well), particularly for the geeky successful type who own Internet companies or write ridiculous software codes for a living.  Oh and those with even an itsy bitsy wee bit of yellow fever.  The attraction is simple to explain: she is a geeky dude writing ridiculous software codes for a living, except she does it in a hot Asian chick body.

My Harry - Impatient son-in-law.  Bald and former Israeli tank commander. Does not heed the oft repeated advice by his much wiser wife and sis-in-law to keep his nerves.  He listens to what dad says verbatim and therefore reacts inappropriately.  He dislikes religion but unfortunately knows too much of its' history.  His voice goes high pitch when he is agitated.   

Peter Cottontail the cat - Though never been in question before, his loyalty is now seriously in doubt.  True to his nature, he is cautious and suspicious of new people the first day.  But with three new bellies available to lie on at night, Peter was found sleeping on Sis' tummy instead of mine last night, and he was subsequently been called a traitor. 

Josie the cat - A complete mistress of herself always, Josie has not changed one bit from this visit thus far.  The golden rule in the house has not changed:  only the cats are allowed to eat meat occasionally.  Today Josie caught mom chewing pieces of illegal beef jerky in the room.  She meowed her disapproval and called for immediate seizure of the apparent kitty nibble.

Me - I leave it to you the reader to decide what I am from my other posts.  The only thing I will say is I am the wild card in this scenario, sometimes I am the mediator, sometimes the victimized daughter, sometimes the agitator...

I have noticed that conversations between related individuals are never simple, or make much sense.  It is interesting to see how dialogues turn topsy turvy very fast, here are some examples from this visit:

Conversation 1

(Over the dinner table)

Dad:  "I go to these fashion shows and photography expo, I meet lots of models." 

My Harry:  "What?  Where?"

Dad:  "Toronto, all in Toronto.  Pretty big fashion scene there."

My Harry:  "My impression of Toronto is all ghetto Chinese restaurants." 

Dad:  "No, lots of models."

Me:  "You meet models dad?  Seriously?"

Dad:  "Yeah, they keep asking for my business card.  They follow me around."

My Harry:  "What?"

Dad:  "They want me to take their pictures.  I tell them I don't have any business cards.  I just take their picture and walk away."

Me:  "I am impressed dad." 

Dad:  "I am old you know."

My Harry:  "I should see Toronto again."

Dad:  "They are really pushy, I don't like them.  They keep bugging me."

Me:  "What kinds of models?"

Dad:  "I'll show you.  I'll show you."

Me:  "Huh, who would have thought it."

Dad:  "What can I say, I am a dork."
Conversation 2

(In the car, completely out of the blue) 

Mom: "So my Harry, do you believe in Jesus?"

My Harry: "Well, the Jews killed him."

Mom: "what?"

My Harry: "I wasn't there that day though."

Mom: "So you don't believe in Jesus then?"

Me:  "If I have to pick a religion today, it would be Buddhism."

Mom:  "Why not Christian?"

Me:  "I am still doing comparative shop."

My Harry:  "The Jews do not believe in Jesus, plus I am not religious."

Mom:  "Christians are good.  Christians are never violent."

Me:  "err...okay."

My Harry:  "I have a rule, I do not discuss God and football on the same day.  Today is football day."

Mom:  "The Jews killed Jesus."

Me:  "That's like....ancient history ma."

Mom:  "My Harry, Jews should believe in Jesus.  It will be good for you."

My Harry:  "Not today though.  Today is all football."

Conversation 3

(In a giant electronics store.  Sis is looking for a stereo system)

Me:  "So, you want to buy this stereo system huh.  Well it is on sale for $299."

Sis:  "It is cheaper here." 

Dad:  "No don't buy! this is cheapy stuff...cheapy stuff."

Me:  "Dad, she listens to cheapy music."

Sis:  "That's true."

Dad:  "NO NO NO"

Sis:  "Well, my current set is more than eight years old."

Me:  "I don't even have one." 

Dad:  "This is cheapy.  Don't buy this."

(Dad dragged sis to another section at the store.)

Me:  "Well, are you buying it?"

Sis:  "No, dad convinced me to spend a few thousand dollars on an amplifier and a good pair of speakers."

My Harry:  "What?"  (high pitch)

Me:  "Hold on..wait a sec.  Why are you buying anything at all?  Why don't you just find a dude comes with those fancy gadgets.  Don't you usually have one of those by now?"

Sis:  "That is true.  I'll need to think about this."

Conversation 4

(Dad lifted Josie the cat by the shoulder and staring straight into her eyes for no apparent reason)

Dad:  "What's wrong with your cat?"

Me:  "Dad, what on earth are you doing?"

Josie the cat:  "Who do you think you are?"

Me:  "Dad.  Put her down!  Staring into a cat's eyes is the same as challenging her." 

Dad:  "I don't think she likes this."

Josie the cat:  "Give me fish."

Dad:  "There are cats out who would like this."

Me:  "This is crazy!  You are upsetting her.  Put her down right now!"

Dad:  "Theoretically cats should like this."

Josie the cat:  "Extra brown stuff on your pillow it is."

Dad:  "Your cat's weird."

If you are alarmed at any moment while reading this post, don't worry, it's all good, it is nothing more than affectionate mocking between family. 


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