Saturday's dinner went quite well, in case any of you were wondering. We seated my homophobic father on the other end of the table to my gay uncle and his Muslim boyfriend, whom he refers to affectionately as "my mid-life crisis" (the age difference is about 20-odd years). In fact, Sammi (the boyfriend) is only a year older than I am.
My grandmother was miserable, which is a common state of being in her case. Much as I love her, she can drive me crazy. She did have a reason this time - she'd driven four and a half hours to see my uncle and he'd mixed the dates up, so they only had one evening to catch up before she had to drive back.
On this particular occasion, gran did not partake of the wine, so there was no dancing on the table with her prosthetic boob strapped to her head. She did keep trying to offer Sammi wine though, even though we explained that he's Muslim and thus doesn't drink alcohol. Everybody politely skirted the fact that, technically, homosexuality is not allowed in Islam either.
Poor Sammi was subjected to frequent barrages from our very non-submissive female family members, myself included. My mother thinks that foreigners need to spoken to loudly, in pidgin English, so she kept saying things like, "HOW YOU LIKE SOUTH AFRICA?" She sounded like a deaf non-English speaker herslef. LOL. I love my mom. She tried really hard to make conversation with Sammi while my father studiously ignored him and my uncle from the other end of the table and engaged in a heated (and oft repeated) pointless argument with my brother about car sound systems.
Any argument with my brother is futile. He just keeps on going until you give in to make him shut up. His vegan, ballroom-dancing teaching girlfriend, whose hippie father wears feathered earrings, is also not exactly my dad's cup of tea, so in between arguing with my brother, he tried to convince her of how normal we all are (hah!) and that she should come over from the dark side. His most-used phrase at family get-togethers is always, "I am the only normal one in this family!" This time, you could tell he was thinking along the lines of, "Jeepers, my loony wife and children are actually quite conventional after all."
TSC enjoyed his T-bone while the vegan girlfriend, seated next to him, went slightly green. The rest of us enjoyed some really good fish, which I'm assuming is Halaal by definition (correct me if I'm wrong).
Meanwhile, my gran regaled us with random tales of fellow small-town residents we've never met, insisting on going into great depth about each one's family history, how many pets they've lost and put down, and their full medical biographies. My uncle alternated between trying to translate into Arabic for Sammi and making rude remarks under his breath. One that stood out was when my gran was telling him about how my parents had taken her to ride an elephant while they were all on holiday, and how sore she'd been for days afterwards. Uncle's remark? "Well, at her age, she shouldn't be riding anything bareback".
Charming, right? That's my family.
I do love them to bits though. Life is never dull, that's for sure ;-)