Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cousin Time Is...Special? (And Clowns Are Scary.)

My family is full of crazies. Really. I love them all to death, but put us all together and it's like the circus just rolled into town. Only minus the clowns. I can't stand clowns. They're not funny. Or cute. Even when they're just standing there and smiling.

They're scary. Always.

As sad as it might be, clowns are one of my biggest fears. I had a meltdown at a birthday party when I was four because a clown showed up. My mom had to take me home. It might not have been so bad if the clown hadn't known my family and therefore my name. A clown calling you by name is terrifying, no matter how friendly they're trying to be.

So my family is like a circus with no clowns. Because if there were clowns in my family, I would disown myself.

Last weekend, my uncle got married. While two of my cousins (Here lovingly nicknamed Em and Micks) and I stood around talking, Em made the observation that "if anyone just watched us talk, we probably look like freaks." We apparently like to use exaggerated motions when speaking to one another. Not just hand motions either. We move our entire body if we have to in order to make our point. So at any given point during a conversation, we could look like someone had spiked our breakfast with something highly hallucinogenic.

After 21 years with my family, I should really never be surprised by the craziness that follows us around like a shadow, but it still happens on occasion. 

This week, for example. On Wednesday, I met up with my cousins at a Buffalo Wild Wings at 9 for a very late dinner. We then had plans to go to a nearby coffee shop to listen to a friend sing for open mic night. (He did awesome by the way.) 

Earlier in the day we had decided on 9, because my other cousins (KT and Ern) had a 45 minute drive, and Ern had class until 7:50. And even though Em and Micks were already in the same town as the B Dubs, I was the first one there. (I had a 25 minute drive to get there.) I wasn't surprised to be first though. Lateness is an epidemic in my family.

So I sat at a table by myself waiting for the others. Feeling like a loser. The waitress brought me a Coke and some chips and salsa, so others in the restaurant probably thought I was just some sad, lonely girl with no friends. I had assured the waitress though that "I have four others coming." But as I sat at the table for six, alone, it was like a neon sign hung by my head reading "LOSER!"

Thankfully, my cousins showed up soon enough. After 15 minutes or so of loserdom. But once they got there, a good time was had by all. It was karaoke night at B Dubs. There was only one guy willing to sing. And I use the word "sing" loosely here. He was more than a little intoxicated I'm sure, and he grumbled his way through a couple of songs that were so badly mangled it was nearly impossible to tell what they were.

Between that and the generally ridiculous conversations going on between us cousins, we were laughing so much that we probably sounded like we were drinking something other than Coke, Sprite, and water. Soon enough, karaoke guy presents a contest. Answer his trivia question and get a free drink. I don't remember what the question was, but Ern knew the answer and excitedly told us "Courtney Cox!" She didn't think she'd been heard, but all of a sudden karaoke guy appeared at our table and asked, "Who said that? What do you want to drink?" We all started pointing, because Ern was the one who said it, but Micks announced it when the guy came over, so Ern was pointing at her, but then they started pointing at me because I'm the only one of us who's legally old enough to drink. 

So the guy looked at me, then at Ern, then somehow settled on Micks and asked again "So...what would you like to drink?" Finally we just kind of collectively said "We're good, thanks," and he left.

A few more funny conversations and a creepy serenade later, we all made our way out to the parking lot to pile into my car. As we were leaving, we heard the beginning of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing." As soon as we were outside, Em, Micks, and KT burst into a loud, drunken sounding rendition of it. We got in the car and headed for the coffee shop, at one point driving through a roundabout, inspiring Em to exclaim "this is a stupid roundabout! It doesn't even do anything!" (It's true. It didn't.)

When we got to the coffee shop, Micks had to use the bathroom. I showed her where they were, and she stared for a second before looking back at me. "Which one is the girls'?"

The place we were at is kind of artsy-funky-eclectic-worldly looking, and their bathroom door signs look somewhat like this:

Only even less obvious than that. They look like cave drawings or something. So I understood her initial confusion. After clearing up which one was which, we then had a short conversation that went something like:

Micks: Is it a one-person bathroom?

Me: Yes.

Micks: Will you come with me?

Me: ...No...

Micks: Why not?

Me:'s only a one person bathroom...

Micks: So?

Me: No!

Micks: Ok, fine.

Finally, we managed to grab some seats to hear our friend sing. After he finished, we talked with him a little while, then I drove us all back to B Dubs where the others' cars were still parked. We sat in my car for a few minutes, not wanting to leave. This is when Micks discovered my flashlight.

I have a flashlight in my car. My parents gave it to me in case of an emergency situation. It's a normal flashlight, but the handle can also glow solid red, or flash red. I suppose to be more conspicuous to traffic if you're stalled in the dark or something.

Micks found out that it could flash red and exclaimed, "You could put it on top of your car and make people think you're a cop!" The rest of us told her we didn't think that would ever work, and she proceeded to open the door and stick her arm out, holding the flashlight up going "WoooOOOoooOOOooo!" Like a siren I guess. Luckily we were just sitting in a parking lot. I'm sure she would have tried it while we were moving if she'd had a chance.

But that wouldn't have been surprising. We are a circus after all. Dangling out the car window, trying to convince other drivers that you're a cop siren might count as some sort of death-defying stunt, right?


  1. I can completely sympathize with your sentiments about clowns. I've never understood when everyone collectively decided that grownups wearing disturbing amounts of make-up and crazy clothes would be entertaining for kids.