This plane is like an oversized hypodermic needle. The narrow commuter jet seats three across, and perched at the front is an exceptionally sharp nosecone. To boot, this morning it will tear me from GW and inject me into South Carolina, ground zero for the annual Thanksgiving family train wreck.
“I’ll take that when you’re finished,” the hostess motions to the Starbuck’s peppermint mocha clutched in my fist – my preferred means of waking up. Let me back up a few hours. I awoke to my alarm clock reading 5:52 AM. My mind was filled with panic and hysteric images of missed flights and pissed mothers – I must find the lights. My boyfriend is confused; we franticly put on last night’s outfits as carelessly as we removed them. I knocked over the bottle of ‘sensual lubricant,’ it was open, I meant to pick it up, I forgot. I pushed, dashed, dropped $60 for a taxi to Dulles, and set off the metal detector so that I may sit in a tiny seat on a tiny plane with a gigantic cup of coffee.
My extended family arrives shortly after me. They announce their presence by idling in the driveway for several minutes before ringing the doorbell. They’re condescending; by all evidence I have seen, they care only about themselves and speak to me only during holidays (where without fail they say, “We think about you all the time,” followed immediately by, “you’re too skinny”). I’m on alert, a car engine is running near the house, this can only mean one thing – take a medicinal swig of bourbon and brace for impact.
Before we can eat anything, my mom has decided its time for a Christmas card photo. Essentially, these annual pictures are the mug shots of citizens in good standing; I am being booked to serve my sentence of holiday festivities. Per my mother, the best possible background for our photograph is a cotton field. I must agree, what could be quainter than the icon of failed American agro-business and the bondage of slavery.
Thanksgiving dinner culminates with my grandparents spelling out the details of their funerals and the ritual of each family member giving thanks aloud for a blessing. Each year the torture is exacted with slight differences; this year each person at the dinner table is to write a ‘blessing’ on a leaf shaped piece of construction paper and then read said blessing to the herd. I’m next, I finish off the Heineken that is disguised as ginger ale, and read my leaf: “I am thankful that I’m gay.” I’m honestly indifferent to my gayness, being thankful for being gay is like being thankful for liking orange juice, but this party needs excitement.
My Southern Baptist uncle’s jaw falls through the floor, my cousins giggle, and my mom shoots me a piercing glare. OK, I know the family is startled, but really, they should be touched that I feel so comfortable to bare my soul to them. I don’t want to be here – I want to go home, clean up eight ounces of spilled lube and listen to Blink 182’s “Happy Holidays, You Bastard.”
-The writer is a junior majoring in business.