Out Of the Window With Confetti In My Hair

Your family is your family, in whatever sense you live it or compose it. Some people are related to apparently nobody but this is only a problem of perception and logistics since at this moment in the history of mad scientists no human being can be a blood relation of nobody; all of us must be related to other people. Eventually, it will be discovered that all people are related to one another and when we take this recognition to heart, Thanksgiving dinner will be Hell on Earth, amen.

Daria: Don’t just stand there. Hand me the asparagus and sit down.
Tata: I’m gonna wedge myself in there? I’m lefthanded.

Everyone who is not talking stares at Dara, sitting next to Mom at one end of the table. Nobody stares at Daria, at the other end of the table because Miss Fifi sits in baby furniture on the floor at Daria’s feet. Dara, who lives in Virginia with Dad and may never have had dinner with this group, demonstrates that she is nonetheless a part of it.

Dara: Okay. I’ll eat yours, then.
Tata: Lois, just so you know: when I stab you with cutlery it’s because stabbing Dara would require an impolite boarding house reach.
Lois: Fine, but use your own knife. That one’s mine.
Tata: A thousand pardons, darling. Please pass the salad.
Lois: We’re out of salad.
Daria: What?
Anya: What?
Mom: (Running to the kitchen) Nooooooooo!
Anya: I see you eyeing the pesto.
Tata: You only think there’s some for you.
Anya: That pesto spoon didn’t touch the chicken, did it?
Dara: No, but –
Tata: If I lick the spoon the pesto’s mine mine mine!
Anya: If you lick that spoon you will never sauce again!

For most of my teens and all of my twenties I was more or less estranged from my family but things have changed. I am pleased to be part of any group in which sauce is used simultaneously as a verb and a threat. In fact, if I lick that spoon, Daria’s husband Tyler will clutch his chest and keel over. He is a little germphobic. How he survives in a household with three little germ factories and an actual, you know, woman is beyond me – moreover, he’s sitting at my right hand. At some point I don’t notice, he’s not there anymore and the little boys all go to bed. What I do notice is everyone stops shouting, “Don’t run in the house!” for the first time since I arrived at the inn. Anya’s husband Dan also fades into the darkness of the evening and the house without my noticing. My stepfather Tom, one of the most patient human beings who has ever walked the earth, earlier proposed we smother the little boys and absolutely nobody said in a loud chorus, “OK!” because that would be so, so wrong. Mom runs back from the kitchen with a full bowl of salad while we are all still there and all is right with the world. A brief period of contented chewing occurs.

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