Christmas at Home

December 26, 2009

Spending time with my family always makes me question myself. Is it me or them? What I mean is: would other people also find them balmy and teeth grindingly irrititating, or if I had a witness, would they fail to see what all the fuss was about?

Some of the things they do may seem quite benign. For example, my mother’s mispronunciation of words.

“Michael! Lydia! (me and my Uncle Michael are the vegetarians in the house) – on boxing day I’ve got – orbagenes for you.”

My mother pronounces the word ‘orbagenes’ like it is some kind of French delicacy.

My Uncle, who is widely traveled and fond of new things, pauses, mid mouthful of blue mountain coffee (this is a very expensive brand my mother has already explained about in detail and made everyone take a sniff of). My uncle pauses:

“Really?” he says “and what exactly are ‘orbagenes’ ?”

I look at my mother

“You know, Oohbagenes” she says

My uncle looks confused “Do you mean ‘Aubergines’ ?” he says

“Yes, Oohbagenes” she says “I said ‘Orbagenes‘”

My mother continues to pronounce ‘aubergine’ as ‘oohbagene’ or ‘orbagene’ for the next two days. On Boxing Day (this morning) I wake up to find 2 aubergine bakes quietly defrosting on the kitchen sideboard. I know my mother will say it again and again until we have eaten them, and then probably for at least 2 day afterwards, while she continually asks us whether or not we enjoyed them, despite the fact that both me and uncle will tell her immediately after eating them, that they were great.

My mother pronounces ‘Neapolitan Ice cream’ ‘Napoleon Ice cream’ and the name ‘Craig’, ‘Greig’. Craig was the name of the last guy I saw. It is just aswell I am no longer seeing him.

After lunch my father goes for a long walk into the village. My uncle goes with him.

As soon as they leave, my mother turns on all the heating (my father dislikes heat) sprays everything with air freshener and begins to hoover, around me.

She tells me, for the third time in 45 minutes, that I must do my tax return.

Through the noise of intermittent hoovering we hear the phone. It is my cousin Sarah, ringing to say that she will not be able to make it till tomorrow because, owing to Boxing Day, the trains are not running.

My mother believes she is lying.

A bit later my father and uncle Michael return home. My mother and father shout at each other because they can’t locate the cheese and biscuits. Their entire conversation sounds like the chorus from an opera.

My father: ‘Where are the biscuits!’

My mother: ‘Find them for yourself! If Sarah was here! She would say the same!’

In two days time, after I have returned home, I am sure I will return to feeling nostalgic about this period.

I will post more updates.

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