Typical conversations you’d hear if you were in one of our family things…
Prima Numero Uno (cousin number one): I’m bi-polar.
Me: What?! Did you get diagnosed?
Prima: No, but I am. I was reading about it – manic-depression, also known as bi-polar – I have all the symptoms. One minute I’m okay and happy. The next, I’m as angry as anything.
Me: Gi, everyone’s like that. It’s a family thing.
Me: Hey you! Why’d you cut your hair?
Sobrina Numero Cuatro (niece number four): I didn’t cut my hair.
Me: Oh, right. Your head got bigger.
Tia Numero Dos (aunt number two): I’m so tired! (This happened right after she arrives)
Tia Numero Uno (aunt number one): O, why?
Tia Numero Dos: So many things to worry about… I finally found a driver to get here Nini kasi has my driver, so I had to find another way.
Prima Numero Dos (cousin number two): What?! (facial expression shows disbelief) Tita, you could have called me. We could have picked you up.
Tia Numero Dos: No na. Para que? So I will be mahadera again? Because I keep on changing the schedule, I will be mahadera. No na. Nini has the driver so I had to come up with a solution. I got another driver nalang.
Tia Numero Uno: So you’re blaming Nini for not having a driver?
Tia Number Dos: I am not blaming her! I just do not want to be a mahadera again!
Me: (whispering) Oh, man. People are in such moods today…
Tio Numero Cuatro (uncle number four): Can we please talk about pleasant things?!?!?!
*NOTE: This all happened even before lunch
Esposa de mi Tio (wife of my uncle): Before we got married, ______ told me to consult a lawyer. She was probably saving me from you! (meant statement as a joke)
Family laughs uneasily. People were really in such moods that day.
Tia Numero Tres (aunt number three): But why did you tell her that, _______?
Tia Numero Dos (aunt number two): What?
Esposa de mi Tio: I was telling them about that time when we were talking before ______ and I got married. You told me I better consult a lawyer. I said that you were probably trying to save me from him. (Again, meant statement as a joke)
Tio Numero Tres (uncle number three): Yes, Hermosa (sister), why would you tell her that?
Tia Numero Dos: What? I don’t understand the question.
I have to stop at this point.
This was one of the strangest family gatherings I have ever been to in a long time. Some time during lunch I found out that tempers were running high because something had happened in Baguio. For the first time since I received that text message informing me I was not to go, I have never been so happy that I had been disinvited.
I can feel my family straining to keep up appearances – I think my family’s exceptionally good at that. We were never ones to air our dirty laundry in front of other people. Images had to be kept up, reputations had to be maintained… You know the drill. But the drill is tiring. And I’ve never had much patience for politics – economic, professional, social and otherwise.
I love my family. They wear me out sometimes, but I love them to bits. Even the weird ones.