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Compartment 14B

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Short week and the first mention of my sister.

2003-12-15 - 4:30 p.m.

I’m warning you right off the bat, don’t expect a lot of updating this week. I have an event that’ll take me out of the office Wednesday and Thursday and then Friday there’s a Christmas Party at my old workplace that I am SO going to and I suspect it’ll last the afternoon. This means that I have only today and tomorrow to get any actual work done and since I’m supposed to submit some of that work next Monday, I’m not exactly going to have a relaxing day today and tomorrow. On top of that I just realized it’s only 10 days until Christmas and all the final shopping and wrapping and organizing and celebrating that entails are a bit daunting.

So what the heck am I spending my time here for?

Actually, that’s a good question and I suspect the answer has something to do with the fact that I find my job pretty boring. It just doesn’t speak to me. It’s not that I have nothing to do, or even that I think my job is unimportant, I just rarely feel fired up about doing it.

On the plus side, my sister has deigned to agree to a reasonable schedule splitting the holidays amongst the family. She didn’t want to “be railroaded into making a commitment” to the two and a half days of events “too early” (read, wanted to see if something better came along), lest something interfere with her revelry with her friends. But we’ve got ‘er.

Really now, I just don’t understand her reticence. I know she doesn’t feel we really “get” her but it’s not like we’re bad people and how hard can it be to come see her family, get presents and eat good food? Is it really that terrible to come out to the country for a couple of days and eat ‘til you almost burst, chit-chat over coffee in front of the woodstove, and play Scrabble? I’d understand if, say, she was a teenager or even in her early twenties and just moved out and was establishing her independence. (Home? Family? What a yawn!) But she’s 32 for goodness sake. Aren’t people supposed to eventually grow up, stop rebelling and appreciate taking a break from the hustle and bustle? Seriously, we’re a quirky bunch and I certainly know that I’m not considered “average” in a very different way than she’s not – I don’t imagine I’m an easy sister for her to have – but what family is normal? We aren’t mean people. Ok, she’s Goth and she’s a bit different and no, we don’t always understand her or where she’s coming from, but we are certainly used to her by now and we do try to make her feel welcome. My mother is just possibly the nicest woman on earth, and I’m not kidding or exaggerating. And my grandmother seems to make the most effort of anyone in the family to try to please my sister. Her precious granddaughter will only wear black? Then she’ll send her black tights and boots and shirts when she spots good deals. And yet my sister complains about how the tights aren’t control-top and the boots fit funny and the shirts aren’t the right style.

I hate to admit it but I sometimes wonder if it’s my presence that causes Sis’s defences to raise. The couple of times she’s been at my Mom’s or Dad’s for a visit and I haven’t been there I’ve heard afterwards how surprisingly relaxed she was and how it was quite a nice visit. I have noted that she tends to take things I say as criticism, whether I mean them to be or not. Here’s an example, she has a tendency to wear short skirts all the time and when I was sitting across from her in the living room on one occasion I noticed that her skirt had rode up and since she wasn’t crossing her legs I, and my uncle beside me, were being treated to a view of, well, a short tunnel directly up her skirt. Thinking that, were it me, I’d want to know, I tried to subtly catch her eye and made a crossing-leg motion. Instead of taking the hint she yelled exasperatedly, “What!?! What do you want? If you’re trying to tell me something just say it!!” leaving me to kind of verbally bumble about, “Well. Um. I was just trying to let you know… well, that I could see more than I probably should,” while making vague motions towards my lap. This only elicited the annoyed screech of, “Shawna, it’s uncomfortable to sit with my legs crossed ALL THE TIME!”

Fine, then don’t wear a miniskirt ALL THE TIME if you aren’t comfortable with the position that it pretty much forces you to adopt when your uncle is sitting DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM YOU, is what I still think.

Hope, however, has this pesky habit of springing eternal, so maybe this year I won't rub her the wrong way and maybe she'll be gracious about, and throughout, her visit.

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